Halls Alumni dinner is Sept. 18

Sandra ClarkHalls

The Halls High Alumni Association will induct four new members into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 18, at its annual dinner. President Robin Holliday said the 2020 dinner was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and those honorees will be included at this year’s dinner. The 2020 inductees are Robert “Rob” Calloway and Betty Brock Shelley. Judge Debra C. Poplin and Professor Jeffrey Emge will be inducted as the 2021 members.

The dinner will be potluck and attendees are requested to bring a dish. The Alumni Dinner doors will open at 5 p.m. with food setup and social time in the Halls High cafeteria. The welcome, invocation and food line will begin at 6 pm. The Halls High Madrigals will perform. Masks are encouraged and available at the door.

Meet the new inductees:

Robert Calloway, Yorktown, Virginia – Class of 1969

After graduation from Halls, Robert attended UT majoring in aerospace engineering. While at UT he worked as a co-op student for NASA-Langley Research Center (NASA-LARC). He also has a master’s degree from George Washington University. He worked at NASA for 36 years rising to chair, AeroSciences and Flight Mechanics Team as well as manager of the Orbital Space Plane Program Office, the manager of the Exploration Program Office and the Flight Demonstrations Program manager.

While at NASA-LARC, he published several papers on aerodynamics and aeroassist for the Space Shuttle and Orbiter. Robert joined Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA) for 12 years working in business development. He led the establishment and promotion of the Virginia AeroSpace Business Association where he served as president for two years.

After his retirement from AMA, Robert continued his community involvement coaching baseball and basketball. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and NACA NASA Hall of Fame Operating Committee.

Betty Brock Shelley, Knoxville, Tennessee – Class of 1954

Betty was named the “Most Likely to Succeed” in her senior year. She entered the East TN Baptist Hospital School of Nursing and while there worked as a staff nurse. Following her graduation, she attended Indiana University where she would receive a bachelor’s degree in general nursing. Continuing her duties at Baptist, she transitioned to the role of nursing instructor.

She entered graduate school at Indiana University and received a master’s degree in nursing education. Recognition of her achievements led to her role of assistant director and ultimately director of ETBH School of Nursing. When Baptist closed its nursing school, Betty transitioned to Carson-Newman University where her expertise helped develop the curriculum for its new four-year nursing degree program.

Betty’s notable career culminated with her advancement to the director of education of Baptist Hospital that she held until her retirement in 1996. Mrs. Shelley passed away in 2009.

Debra Crowder Poplin, Knoxville, Tennessee – Class of 1984

Debra graduated from the University of Tennessee and the Cincinnati College of Law. Upon graduation from law school in 1990, she joined the city of Knoxville Law Department and then returned to the Knoxville Law Department as the deputy law director in 2001 following two years of practice with the firm of Ritchie, Fells & Dillard.

In 2008, then-Mayor Bill Haslam appointed Poplin as Knoxville law director, making her the first (and only) woman to serve in that post in the city’s history. She served until her appointment as Clerk of Court in 2012. Debra worked with district judges in overseeing the administration of the district court including oversight of more than 2,500 civil and criminal cases and a staff of 42 employees in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Greeneville. She was selected on February 13, 2018, to the position of United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Debra is an active member of the Knoxville Bar Association, having previously served as a member of the Board of Governors and as co-chair of the Government and Public Service section. She is a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2009.

Dr. Jeffrey Emge, Tyler, Texas – Class of 1979

Jeff graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a degree in music education and then taught for three years in public schools. From 1988-91 he was the Director of Bands at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Georgia, where his bands consistently won superior ratings.

He received his DMA in conducting from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he conducted the Northern Kentucky Chamber Players. In 1994, Dr. Emge moved to Texas where he was first assistant director and then Director of Bands at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce).

In 2001, Jeff was appointed chair of the Department of Music at the University of Texas-Tyler. Jeff’s honors include guest lecturer and recitalist in China twice in 2006, one of only 15 USA professors to win the 2006 Japan Seminar grant through the University of Pennsylvania, and the 2000 National Outstanding Sponsor Award from Tau Beta Sigma.

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