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PHS Class of 2017 Hall of Fame Announced

Congratulations to the 2017 Ponderosa High School Hall of Fame Inductees: Chris Martinez, Naomi Grossman, Tyler Ward and Dr. Rebecca Dodder

Chris Martinez    Graduate   1986-1989 

While a member of the Ponderosa varsity soccer team, Chris was a three-time All-Conference selection and a three-time All-State selection, and led the Mustangs to a 1987 state final appearance.  As a senior in high school, Chris was a member of the United States Olympic Festival West team, who went on to win the gold medal in the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival in Norman, Oklahoma. 

After high school, Chris received a soccer scholarship to play at Clemson University, where he started in 76 out of 82 career games, and led the Tigers to two NCAA tournament appearances and an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1990.  Chris was also selected as Team Captain in 1991. 

After graduating from Clemson, Chris went on to play professional soccer with the Wichita Wings from 1994-1996, the Colorado Foxes from 1993-1997, and the Colorado Rapids from 1997-2001.  As a Rapids player, he started in 106 out of 119 career regular season and playoff games, and was selected as the 2001 Colorado Rapids Defensive Player of the Year. 

After his professional career, Chris became the Director of Player Development for the Real Colorado Soccer Club and the Development Academy Program Director for the Colorado Rapids Development Academy.  In 2003, Chris started Footability, a company which specializes in elite level technical training camps and individual and group clinics.  Footability has trained over 15,000 players, and many have gone on to play on various National Team programs and professional soccer teams.

Naomi Grossman         Graduate   1990-1992

While at Ponderosa, Naomi was involved in theatre, marching band, peer counseling, Spanish club, and National Honor Society, as well as voice, piano, dance, and on-camera acting lessons.  She was voted “most likely to succeed,” and graduated in the top 10 of her class of 1993.  She spent her senior year on a Rotary Scholarship as an exchange student in Argentina.  

Naomi went on to graduate in Theatre and Spanish from Northwestern University near Chicago, then became a veteran of the legendary Groundlings Sunday Company in Los Angeles.  Nominated for an LA Weekly Theatre Award for “best solo performance,” Naomi wrote, produced, and performed several one-woman shows, which enjoyed twice-extended, sold-out runs and rave reviews in LA, Scotland’s world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe, London’s West End, and Off-Off Broadway in New York.  

Naomi holds the distinguished honor of playing the first crossover character, the fan-favorite “Pepper” on FX’s hit anthology series, American Horror Story.  Entertainment Weekly called her being cast in that role “the best of 2012.”  IMDb named her one of 2014’s “Top 10 Breakout Stars” after her STARmeter skyrocketed to #1, making her the most searched in its’ 8 million person database.  The Television Academy considered her for an Emmy for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” in 2015.  Fans may also recognize her from her cameos in various feature films:  Table for ThreeThe ChairSky SharksShort StackBite Me, An Accidental Zombie and Fear, Inc.

Tyler Ward   Friend of Ponderosa   2001 

Tyler spent his sophomore year at Ponderosa before his family moved to Colorado Springs, but he and his family have strong ties with the Mustangs.  His brother was a Ponderosa graduate, his dad was an assistant football coach and head baseball coach, and his mother was an accompanist in several theater productions. 

After graduating from Cheyenne Mountain High School in 2004, Tyler attended the Air Force Academy for one year before transferring to the University of Northern Colorado.  At UNC, Tyler graduated with honors and a double major in Communication and Journalism. 

After graduating from college, Tyler began his incredible music career.  Recognized as a Social Media Artist, Tyler self-recorded and independently released an album titled “Hello, Love, Heartbreak” which charted #1 in 13 different countries.  He has produced and recorded music for several #1 mainstream artists, and was ranked #2 among artists on Billboards Top 100 Chart. 

Tyler completed five worldwide headlining tours, and as of 2017, his music has been streamed over two billion times.  Tyler also helped establish the ability for musicians to collect advertising revenue through streaming monetization.

Dr. Rebecca Dodder   Graduate   1990-1993 

Rebecca Dodder graduated as Valedictorian from Ponderosa High School in 1993.  She attended Vanderbilt University, graduating summa cum laude with a double major in Physics and Spanish, and was awarded Most Promising Physics Student.  She then finished a master's degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and went on to pursue doctoral-level studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).   While at MIT, Rebecca worked as a graduate research assistant on a large, multi-disciplinary program led by Nobel Laureate, Mario Molina.  This program worked to improve to air quality in Mexico City, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.   She graduated from MIT with a PhD in Technology, Management and Policy in 2006, and was also awarded a Martin Family Fellowship for Sustainability.   

Following MIT, she started first as a Post-Doctoral Fellow, then as a Physical Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Research Triangle Park, NC.  At the EPA, she has developed innovative approaches to evaluating current and emerging environmental challenges and opportunities related to energy production and use in the United States.  In 2016, Dr. Rebecca Dodder received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding early-career engineers and scientists.  She has published in scientific journals on issues related to biofuels, water use for electric power, and transportation energy.  She also serves on committees for the Transportation Research Board, part of the National Academy of Sciences.    

While a graduate student, during one of the many research trips and scientific conferences in Mexico City, Rebecca met her husband, Aldo De Tuoni Fraga, a chemical engineer.  They now have twin boys.  Rebecca has been active both as a scientist and a mother in efforts to improve science education.  She has taught and given guest lectures to students from kindergarten to high school, community colleges, public forums, and universities such as Duke.  She has also developed hands-on activities on environmental science that are used by science teachers across the U.S..  She has served on the PTA, organized science fairs, and is a Board Member for a local non-profit which develops nature-based camps and field trips.    

February 14, 2017 | By mdmurphy | Category: Ponderosa High School

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.