WINTER HAVEN – Four graduates of Polk County Public Schools were inducted into the Polk County Public Schools Hall of Fame Friday, May 31, at the Lake Ashton clubhouse.
Mulberry High graduates Perry Blocker (class of 1973) and Dr. Maxine Lavon Montgomery (1977), Lakeland High graduate Lt. Col. Robert Eyman (1998) and Kathleen High graduate Ralph Frier (1964) were all honored at the event.
Perry Blocker retired after 38 years of teaching at Walter Caldwell Elementary, Lake Alfred Elementary, Auburndale Central Elementary and Westwood Middle. Blocker currently volunteers as an AmeriCorps Polk Reads reading tutor at Garner Elementary in Winter Haven, the Guardian ad Litem program, and does volunteer work with her church.
“During (Blocker's) career, she led multiple reading programs and secured several grants that enabled her to provide opportunities for students to improve their reading skills,” stated a press release.
As a student at Southwest Middle, Lt. Col. Robert Eyman won Volunteer of the Year. Eyman has since gone on to serve his country in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Pentagon. Additionally, in 2020 he may be taking command of the 525th Military Police Battalion in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Dr. Maxine Lavon Montgomery is an English professor at Florida State University, where she teaches American, African-American and American Multi-Ethnic Literature. Montgomery was the first ever African-American to receive tenure at the university, where she has worked since 1988. She has also authored six books.
Ralph Frier has been an educator in Polk County for 51 years, starting off at his alma mater as an English teacher and later winning Kathleen High's Teacher of the Year award. Frier went on to become assistant principal at McKeel Junior High, Lakeland High and Lakeland Highlands Middle, where he would eventually be promoted to principal.
Frier, affectionately known by peers as “Papa Frier,” is currently the executive director of a charter school called Ridgeview Global Studies Academy in Davenport.