The 10th annual Truman High School Hall of Fame Class will be introduced at halftime of tonight’s boys basketball game at approximately 8 p.m.
“This is a special event for me each year,” Truman activities director Eric Holm said. “I love calling the new class members and talking with them, getting to know them and finding out what it was like when they attended Truman High School.”
One unique individual will be inducted tonight. Jacquelyn (Kelley) Zita, Class of 1965, was the No. 1 tennis player on the conference championship team of 1965.
Now, you might be thinking, Truman did not have any girls sports teams until the advent of Title IX. The first year Truman had a girls team of any kind was 1974.
“Jacquelyn was the top player, who went undefeated her senior season, on the boys tennis team,” Holm explained. “Can you imagine if something like that happened today? It would be big news, but she told us that it wasn’t that big of a deal to her back in 1965.”
She was a three-time letter winner at William Chrisman High School until Truman opened in 1964 and she was a Patriot her senior year.
“I guess you could say I was the best girl tennis player in Independence back then, although I never really thought that much about it,” Zita said by phone as she drove from her home in North Branch, Minnesota, to Independence.
“I loved tennis and wanted to play at the high school level, so I did play on the boys teams. I don’t remember much about playing at Chrisman, but I do remember going undefeated my senior year. My teammates were very supportive of me, but I probably did embarrass some young men along the way.”
She then majored in chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Washington University in 1982. She was employed by the University of Minnesota most of her professional life, where she was the chair of the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies from 1995-2001. She retired in 2015.
She is the co-founder of the Women’s Environmental Institute, a non-profit dedicated to Environmental, Agricultural and Food Justice.
Here is a glance at the other four inductees:
Tom Norman, Class of 1967
He was the MVP of the conference championship Truman baseball team in 1967 and earned all-state honors that year. When he graduated he held school mark for RBIs (54), hits (62), RBIs in a season (25) and runs scored in a season (27).
He was drafted in the third round by the Minnesota Twins and played two seasons of minor league ball. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in zoology in 1971 and the University of Missouri Dental School in 1977. He retired from private dental practice in 2012. He lives in North Kansas City with his wife of 46 years, Deanna (Gordon, Class of 1967) and they have three children.
Damon Dombrowski, Class of 1998
His senior year Dombrowski was all-conference at two positions, running back and defensive back. He was The Examiner’s Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-state at defensive back.
He played on the back-to-back Truman basketball state final four teams, finishing fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior. Despite breaking his foot his senior year in baseball, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 34th round. He is now an electrician. He and his wife of 14 years, Amanda, have three children.
Cassy Pallo, Class of 2000
She holds, or is part of, nine Truman swimming records and qualified for state several times. She was also a National Merit Scholar finalist. She attended the University of Kansas, where she earned a degree in Spanish. She did not swim at the collegiate level.
She is currently self-employed, lives in Independence and is a competitive masters swimmer who has won many national events.
Edriss Floyd, Class of 2006
Floyd was first-team all-state in basketball his junior and senior years. He set a record for assists in a game with 12. He went on to earn All-American status at Penn Valley Community College and was inducted into the Penn Valley Hall of Fame. He also played at Northwest Missouri State University. He lives in Lakewood, Colo., and works for Crop Supply. He is an avid outdoorsman.