South Philadelphia High School Alumni Association

SPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, May 21, 2017

SPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, May 21, 2017
January 31, 2017 tomdi

SPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet

Sunday, May 21, 2017


The annual SPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at:

       Adelphia Restaurant

       1750 Clements Bridge Rd.

       Deptford, NJ 08096

The date is Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 1-5 p.m.  Tickets are $50 per person; $20 for children 13 years of age or younger.   For additional information, contact Liz Olivieri at 267-278-2837 or

Please send your check with the information requested below to arrive no later than May 14, 2017 to:

      Joyce Garozzo

      1407 S. Juniper St.

      Phila., PA 19147

Your tickets will be sent to you by mail.

Please make your check payable to the “SPHS Alumni Association,” and send it with the following information:  your name, address, phone number(s), email address, dinner choice, and the year of your graduating class (if applicable).  Please also list the name(s) of your guests, indicating their dinner choices next to their names.  The dinner choices are:

      Prime Rib Au Jus

      Chicken Florentine

      Grilled Salmon

      For children 13 and under, the dinner will be Chicken Fingers with French Fries 

Appetizers, soup, salad, dessert, and coffee or tea are included with dinner.  A cash bar will be available.  The banquet schedule is: appetizers from 1-2 p.m., Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from 2-3:30 p.m, and dinner from around 3:30-5 p.m.

If you are unable to send your check to meet the deadline, you may be able to pay at the door, provided that the banquet is not sold out.  Only cash will be accepted at the door.

This year’s inductees into the SPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame are listed below.


       Dr. Carolyn P. Parks (community health specialist; class of 1972)

       Dr. John F. Santore (educator; class of 1959)

        Richard (DiCicco) Rome (musical artist; class of 1949)

[Posthumous Awards]

       Edward “Babe” Heffron (military hero; attended Southern early 1940s)

       William “Wild Bill” Guarnere (military hero; class of 1942)


Gerald Scott (multi-sport top athlete; class of 1970)

Lionel James Simmons (college & pro basketball player; class of  1986)

Tarez L. Williams (set track records; class of 1984)




Dr. Carolyn P. Parks                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Dr. Carolyn Patricia Parks, Class of 1972, is a community health education specialist with a passion for helping groups and communities to identify and solve their own health problems. Carol’s community-based research and practice for over 30 years has focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of  health education and disease prevention programs for African-Americans, disadvantaged populations, and other groups of color.  She is a retired health education college professor of over 20 years, and currently serves as a Behavioral Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, working on HIV/AIDS prevention programs for at-risk women.  In addition to her academic and professional work, Carol has served as a board member for and consultant to numerous civic, community, health, and religious organizations, locally, nationally, and internationally. A proud South Philadelphia native, Carol’s singular life goal is to be a faithful servant and ambassador of Jesus Christ and to model His principles in every aspect of life.

Dr. John F. Santore

Dr. John F. Santore , SPHS Class of 1959 received his B.A. and M.A. from Temple University and was awarded a Ph.D. in modern European history from Columbia University. He has taught at Rutgers University, Barnard College, New York University, and Pratt Institute, where he was named “Institute Professor/Distinguished Teacher” in 1993. Among his main areas of interest are twentieth century international relations, modern Italian political and social history, and modern European intellectual and cultural history, and the history of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. His many publications include:

                Modern Naples, 1799-1999: A Documentary History

                Modern European History, 1789 to the Present: Selected Syllabi from American Colleges and                 Universities: Vol. 1: Chronological and National Courses; Vol. 2: Topical and Thematic Courses

Dr. Santore has also served as the Associate Director of the Columbia University Center for Italian Studies and Acting Director of the Barnard College Italian and Italian-American Studies Program.

Richard (DiCicco) Rome

Richard (DiCicco) Rome, Class of 1949, used his skills in piano playing, arranging, recording, conducting and producing to win himself a Grammy, a Clio and an honoris causa doctorate of music from Combs College in Philadelphia. He formed The Ritchie Family disco group in1976 and has been in just about every area of the music business.  His bio says, “For anyone who has watched television, viewed a motion picture, listened to a record or attended a live musical performance …, it would be virtually impossible not to have heard the musical contributions of Richard Rome as a pianist, conductor, arranger, and recording artist.”

One commentator said, “Rome’s signature style is interweaving multidimensional horns and strings to accentuate the sensuality of the compositions.” [Note:  Richard Rome’s information—written by Gene Alessandrini—was excerpted from Tony Evangelisto’s book, The Stars of Southern High.]

Edward “Babe” Heffron, 1923-2013

Edward “Babe” Heffron left Southern High to help support his family. After working at New York Ship, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Easy Company with the 101st Airborne Division, where he fought in many battles throughout Europe with Southern’s “Wild Bill” Guarnere.  He was highly decorated for his valor in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium.  As a machine gunner, Babe was awarded the Bronze Star.  He participated in the liberation of the Kaufering Concentration Camp in Landsberg, Germany and helped to seize Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.

Heffron and Guarnere returned home and became lifelong friends.  These WWII heroes wrote Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends and were featured often in Stephen Ambose’s book, Band of Brothers, and in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s HBO miniseries of the same name.

William Guarnere, 1923-2014  

William “Wild Bill” Guarnere, Class of 1942, left Southern High after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor to help manufacture Sherman tanks at the Baldwin Locomotive Works.  His mother soon convinced him to return to Southern to earn his diploma, after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division.  On the eve of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, Bill’s brother was killed at Monte Casino by the Germans.  The next day, Bill parachuted into German-held Normandy and ambushed a German patrol. Later, as a staff sergeant in the Battle of the Bulge, Bill’s buddy had his leg blasted off.  As Bill tried to save him, his own leg was badly wounded in a shell attack. He eventually lost his leg.

During Bill’s many battles throughout Europe, he was with another Southernite, Edward “Babe” Heffron.  After reuniting at home, Bill and Babe wrote a book with Robyn Post entitled Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story.   Both would later be interviewed about the war for the book and HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers.



  Gerald Scott

Gerald Scott, Class of 1970 was all-public running back on Southern’s football team in 1968 and was the most valuable player of the team.  In 1969, he was all-scholastic and all- state as a defensive back.  He averaged 145 yards per game as an offensive back.  He participated in the All-City All-Star Game and received the Sullivan Award for the best public league athlete.

 He started for three years at Southern on the varsity basketball team as a power forward.  He was a second team all-defensive public league player.  In 1968 and 1969, he played in championship games for the public league title.

In baseball, he was a three-year starter on the varsity team as a 2nd baseman.  In his first year, he played on Southern’s team at Connie Mack Stadium for the city title.  In 1968, he was all pubic at 2nd base and led the team in home runs and RBIs.  In 1969, he was once again all public and was 2nd team all-state.

Gerald said that he was grateful for the leadership of many of his coaches, including Bill Esher, Mex Siani, John Pendino, and John Koskinen.   He said, “I owe a lot to Mr. Bill Esher who gave us all the foundation we needed to be successful.”


Lionel James Simmons

“L-Train” Simmons, Class of 1986, led Southern High to the Philadelphia Public League Boys’ Basketball Championship in 1986, for which he received the MVP award.  Playing as a small forward at LaSalle University, he won the Naismith College Player of the Year Award and the John R. Wooden Award in his senior year.  Lionel scored the third highest all-time career points (3217) in the history of NCAA basketball.  He scored in double figures in 115 consecutive games, an NCAA record.  Lionel led LaSalle to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year for three years.   He was a First Team All-Big 5 selection four times and won the Robert V. Geasey Trophy as Big 5 MVP three times. He has been inducted into LaSalle’s Athletic Hall of Fame, the Big 5 Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

According to Wikipedia, “Simmons became the only player in NCAA history to score more than 3,000 points and pull down more than 1,100 rebounds.” He was a consensus first-team All-American in 1990.   He was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the NBA draft in 1990.  He was the runner-up for the 1991 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was an NBA Player of the Week.  He played seven seasons for the Kings, scoring 5,833 career points with 2833 rebounds and 1498 assists.


Tarez L. Williams

Tarez Williams, Class of 1984, was involved in Track and Field 1982-1984.

Accomplishments:  All Public – Cross Country and Track & Field.

Tarez broke the school record while running in the Penn Relays by setting a new 4×100 meter relay record.  She currently holds the school record in the 100 and 200 meter dash.   She was the first female athlete in the history of South Philadelphia High to receive a full Athletic Scholarship to College – she attended North Carolina A&T State University.   While attending Southern she was also on the weight lifting team and also on the year-book staff.   She graduated from South Philadelphia High with highest honors.