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Paris High School Distinguished Graduate Award Winners


Former Paris ISD students Captain J.K. “Jack” Ashmore (PHS Class of 1947) and Sharon Samuels Reed (PHS Class of 1968) have been named Distinguished Graduate Award winners. The Wall of Honor at Paris High School will display their portraits.

The Distinguished Graduate Award is the highest and most prestigious award the district can bestow on its’ graduates. This award honors Paris ISD graduates who are nationally or internationally recognized for their career accomplishments, distinguishing themselves as leaders and as role models.

Captain Ashmore graduated with honors from Paris High School in 1947. He was president of his senior class and captain of the football team. After graduating from Paris Junior College, he completed the United States Naval Aviation Cadet program and received his wings in 1951.

He flew combat missions from many aircraft carriers during the Korean and Viet Nam wars. For his actions he was awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, 14 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal plus numerous campaign and service medals including The Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry.

During his active duty with the U. S. Navy, Capt. Ashmore continued his education receiving a Bachelor Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

His last assignment, before retirement, was with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, briefing the President’s staff and others daily. Upon completion of 26 years of service to his country, he moved to Beeville, Texas.

He started his management agency and began a second career as an educator at Bee County College. After seventeen years, he retired and returned to Paris. He has continued to be active while serving on various boards of Lamar County organizations including the Cox Field Airport Advisory Board and the Reno Economic Board.

He and his wife, Ruth, reside in Reno, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Sharon Samuels Reed attended Gibbons High School until the integration of Paris schools and graduated from Paris High School in 1968. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, and Master of Science degrees from Illinois State University and Bradley University in vocal performance and teaching administration.

She taught music and served as Director of Fine Arts in Illinois public schools where her primary focus was on the importance of arts as part of the core curriculum and integrating the arts into other academic areas. Reed’s leadership in the arts earned her the opportunity to work and consult on local, state, regional and national levels. She has served as a fine arts specialist for the State of Illinois, Illinois Arts Council, Arts Alliance Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

She has numerous state and national awards including the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Volunteerism, the Boy Scouts of America Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award.

She is the founder and Director of the Heritage Ensemble whose mission is to “tear down walls and build bridges between all people.” The racially, ethnically, socioeconomically and spiritually diverse chorus has performed for countless audiences including an invited performance at Carnegie Hall.

She and her husband, LaColis, live in Peoria, Illinois. They have three children who, along with their spouses, are dedicated to making a difference in their communities. They have four grandchildren.
Ashmore and Reed will be honored at a presentation on Friday, Oct. 20, at 1:30 p.m. in the Commons Area at Paris High School and presented to the PHS student body during the Homecoming pep rally at 2:30 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend. Call Jeanne Kraft at 903-737-7473 by Oct. 16 to reserve a seat.