Family steeped in Toro tradition - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Family steeped in Toro tradition

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007 6:48 am | Updated: 7:56 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Henderson family of Mesa has quite a history with Mountain View High School. Almost every other year since 1985 a Henderson child has graduated from the Mesa school.

Today will mark the 12th Henderson child to walk across the stage to get that coveted high school diploma.

Ashley Henderson, 18, is the youngest of 13 Henderson kids. (Matthew Henderson, 17, died three years ago before he could graduate.)

But it’s not the end of the Henderson lineage at Mountain View. The oldest step-grandchild, Natalie Wall, will graduate next year.

You can expect more Mountain View grads from the Henderson family with 34 grandkids, and two on the way.

Mom Joyce Henderson said she’s a little sad to have her last child graduate from the school.

“The hardest part is reaching an end of an era,” said Joyce, 59, a stay-at-home mom. “That part of your life is finally over.”

Dad Gerald Henderson said he’s happy that all his children have graduated from the same school. He said their teachers did an “excellent job.”

“We’ve gone all the way from some of the girls with all A’s, to some of the boys calling on graduation day to make sure they could graduate,” said Gerald, 59, an accountant at a Mesa firm.

Gerald and Joyce Henderson are high school sweethearts. No, they didn’t meet at Mountain View. They met as juniors in Colorado. They have lived in the same Mesa home since 1982.

Some of the Henderson children’s spouses also attended Mountain View. Ken, Brad, Tiffany Anderson, Jared and Summer Gardner all married Mountain View Toros.

Despite dislocating her shoulder at Tyler’s 2000 graduation, 90-year-old grandma Evelyn Henderson will be with the rest of the family at Ashley’s graduation.

The family will sit where they always sit at graduation: in the football field’s end zone.

Ashley, who has been singing since the ninth grade, will perform at the graduation. Ken and Brad will take pictures.

With Henderson kids at the school since the 1980s, there are plenty of crossovers.

Ashley’s economics teacher graduated with Tyler, and her seminary teacher went to school with Summer and Jared. (The family is active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

Mountain View holds many memories for the Henderson family: some good, some bad.

David remembers getting his first speeding ticket coming back from lunch one day. He was on the junior varsity and varsity football teams.

Ken was the photo editor of the yearbook and self-proclaimed “class prankster.”

Brad was the photographer for the yearbook his junior and senior years and photo editor his senior year.

Tiffany got her degree in education and was a substitute teacher at Mountain View for two or three days while Summer was attending the school.

“I remember my senior year (1998) when I was on yearbook,” Mandy Lunt said. “There was a storage room that had old yearbooks in it. I took great pride in telling everyone that they could get any book from 1983 and on and they would find someone from my family in it.”

FAMILY GRADS

The Henderson kids and their Mountain View graduation years:

1985: David, 39, of Provo, Utah, a mortgage broker. Married with three kids.

1987: Tracy Pezzi, 37, of Queen Creek, a parttime restaurant server. Married with five kids.

1988: Ken, 36, of Mesa, co-owner of a windowcleaning business. Divorced with six kids.

1990: Brad, 35, of Mesa, co-owner of the window-cleaning business with Ken. Married with five kids.

1991: Tiffany Anderson, 33, of Mesa, a preschool teacher. Married with five kids, with one on the way.

1993: Sabrina Wall, 32, of Mesa, a stay-athome mom. Married with five kids.

1995: Jared, 30, of Queen Creek, a flower deliverer. Married with two kids.

1996: Summer Gardner, 28, of Mesa, a stay-at-home mom. Married with one child and one on the way.

1998: Amanda “Mandy” Lunt, 27, of Queen Creek, a stayat-home mom. Married with two kids.

2000: Tyler, 24, of Mesa, a QuikTrip manager in training. Single.

2002: Bryce, 22, of Mesa, an Arizona State University student and bank teller. Engaged.

2007: Ashley, 18, of Mesa, plans to major in business and wants to open a spa/salon. Single.

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