A.G. Pennebaker. Guss Schmiedt. Robert C. Winter. Addie Darling. Walker Vick. Ed Braesmer. Doug McCreath. Dorothy Mulhivill.
Those are names of individuals gracing Manteca High buildings who made a lasting impact on the school, its students, and the community.
Another name joined that list Friday - Steve Winter.
“I am truly honored to have my name added to that list,” Winter said Friday before a crowd of more than 100 well wishers who had gathered at the swimming pool.
This wasn’t just any swimming pool nor for that matter is Winter just another person being honored.
The pool is where Winter learned to swim. It’s where he swam to glory as the Buffaloes most valuable swimmer for four years. It’s where he later taught swimming and lifeguard skills. It’s also where he coached one of his first Manteca High teams. It is also a swimming pool that sits next to the gym named in honor of Winter’s later father - Dr. Robert Winter - whose dedication as the Buffaloes team physician and game film man is legendary.
As for Winter, he was a Buffalo through and through for 40 years first as a student, then as a teacher and coach, next as an administrator , and then five years as principal.
Although Winter was impressive as a swimmer - he downplays the school records he set contending the marks weren’t all that high to begin with - it was clear Friday that the Buffalo green sign compete with white letters reading “R. Stephen Winter Pool” was put in place to honor an educator that left his mark on teachers, students the community, and Manteca High.
Clara Schmiedt - Manteca Unified Director of Secondary Education - recalled starting at Manteca High as a teacher 20 years when Winter was an administrator.
“He’s given so much to Manteca High and to the students, staff, and community,” Schmiedt said.
She said Winter epitomized three words: dedication, trust, and passion.
“He always did what was best for students and the community of Manteca,” Schmiedt said. “What you see is what you get from him.”
Manteca High swim coach Elyce Silva - who not only taught when Winter was principal but also was a student of his as were her parents - liked the idea that his name would now be a permanent part of Manteca High history.
“The Water Buffaloes will now swim in a pool with his name on it,” Silva noted.
Walker Vick reminded those gathered that Winter was dedicated to more than just Manteca High and his family. He rattled off a long list of community endeavors that included stints on the Manteca Parks and Recreation Commission, a committee that helped with golf course planning, and a slew of California Interscholastic Federation posts governing high school sports and section playoffs in both the region and the state.
Winter attended San Joaquin Community College after high school where he played water polo and swam. After graduating from Sacramento State he returned to Manteca High to teach social science and physical education.
He coached swimming two years, football for several years, golf for 24 years, and basketball for 15 years.
“I stand before you a very humble man,” an emotional Winter said. “(I was fortunate) my parents instilled in me beliefs, values, discipline, and the idea of giving back to the community.”