A beloved and decorated debate coach, along with executives of Hallmark and Silicon Valley, will be honored Sunday during the annual Topeka High School Hall of Fame ceremony.
The event, which begins at 2 p.m. in the historic school’s Chester Woodward Library, will recognize Pam McComas as a distinguished staff member, Raymond Powers, Class of 1964, and Brad Garlinghouse, Class of 1989.
According to information provided by the Topeka High School Historical Society, McComas was the director of forensics and taught speech, acting, debate, forensics, history of film, humanities and pre-AP ninth-grade English during her 35-year career. Her honors include five 6A state debate titles, 13 6A state speech championships and coaching five national champions.
McComas was also national coach of the year in 1999 and was a 2017 inductee into the Kansas Teacher’s Hall of Fame.
After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army that ended in 1967, Powers began his career ascent at Hallmark Cards, beginning first in the company’s Topeka warehouse. He then moved to Hallmark’s headquarters in Kansas City, where he held several positions before being promoted to production manager at Hallmark’s Leavenworth plant and then as plant manager in Kansas City.
In 1995, Hallmark promoted Powers as the company’s first African-American vice president of North American production and corporate officer. In 2002, he became vice president of manufacturing before retiring in 2007.
Before Garlinghouse made a name for himself in California’s Silicon Valley, he was president of student council and editor of Topeka High’s World newspaper and was a homecoming king candidate. He later worked briefly for SBC Communications in Kansas City before earning a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Harvard University.
From 2003 to 2008, Garlinghouse was a senior vice president for communications and communities for Yahoo! and also worked for AOL, Inc. Additionally, he led a cloud based file management services company. Currently, he is CEO of Ripple, a San Francisco company that provides global financial transactions.
The public is invited to the ceremony that will include performances by the Topeka High strings and madrigals followed by a reception.
Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143 or on Twitter @AngelaDeines.