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Successful Carlsbad alumni return for Hall of Fame

CARLSBAD — In the midst of Carlsbad High School’s homecoming ceremony, the anticipation of the next crowned prom king and queen was put on hold for a new tradition — a Hall of Fame for its alumni.
Carlsbad High School has decided to start honoring former students that have gone on to great success by having a yearly induction ceremony paired with its homecoming king and queen announcements.
While the initial set of inductees were selected by the school’s staff, future nominations will also be voted on by those who have been included in the hall of fame.
Six former students were inducted this year: Refugio I. Rochin of the class of 1959; Greg Nelson of the class of 1967; Frank Gomez of the class of 1972; Mark Masthay of the class of 1973; Robert Stromberg of the class of 1980; and Doug Jack of the class of 1983.
Each inductee was called up to the stage, where they had their accomplishments read to the attending student body, and then were awarded a certificate and a signed football.
Rochin was recognized for his contributions to community service, having worked with the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. He is currently a professor emeritus in Chicano studies at UC Davis.
Nelson has made his career in orthopedics and is currently working in Texas. He has been recognized by the city of Carlsbad previously as a Philanthropist of the Year.
Gomez, who recently passed away, worked in education and stayed close to home, working in the San Pasqual and Oceanside school districts.
He served as a superintendent and principal at those districts, respectively.
Gomez’ widow, Jan Gomez, collected his award for him.
Masthay’s accomplishments were best summed up in his own words.
“I do research in eye disease, skin cancer and the chemistry of light,” he said. “I’m an associate professor and chairman of the chemistry department in the University of Dayton, Ohio.”
Stromberg’s achievements are in television and films — he has won Emmys for his visual effects on “Star Trek: Voyager” and “John Adams.”
He was also nominated for an Oscar for his visual effects on the film “Master and Commander.”
He recently finished work as production designer for the upcoming films “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
Jack is another Emmy winner for his production of the 2002 Summer Olympics in Salt Lake City. He directed and choreographed the opening and closing ceremonies for that and five other Olympic Games. “Choreography is about 10 percent of what I do,” he said. “It’s mostly math, planning, infrastructure and auditions, borrowing people and producing.”
“Compared to all the things I’ve been recognized for, it was actually a proud inner moment,” Stromberg said. “The reason why I came back is because I didn’t want it to be a celebration about me. I wanted it to be an example for the students who felt like I felt about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted it to be an inspiration to show that if you work hard and focus on a direction, people will recognize that. It sometimes feels like a slow ladder, but when you get to the top it’s a view you can’t believe.”