May 2022- Seth Cagle
Name: Seth Wesley Cagle
Year graduated from FPHS: 2009
Current Occupation/Title: Criminal Investigator-Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office/Dekalb County Major Crimes Unit, Sniper/Observer Dekalb County Special Response Team
Law Enforcement Background: 2017 Jefferson County Sheriff’s Academy Graduate, N.O.C.S.A.R certified Tracking/Trailing K9 handler, Graduate of Jacksonville State University Center for Applied Forensics Investigator Academy, Alabama Fire College certified Fire Investigator, Graduate of Limestone County Sheriff’s Office Sniper School
How has something you learned at FPHS helped you in your career or life journey? The discipline instilled in me by my time and experience within the Fort Payne City School system greatly impacted my life and influenced my decision to pursue a career in law enforcement. Without the guidance and mentorship of the faculty and staff, I do not think I would be the successful law enforcement officer that I am today. The profound compassion, professionalism, and care that was shown by all the faculty and staff instilled values that I commend for my success in both my career and personal life.
What was your favorite class at FPHS? Although I loved all of my teachers and classes, I would have to say my favorite class was forensics with Coach Sparks. Even though most of the exercises were on a “small scale,” I still use the information taught by Coach Sparks on an almost daily basis within my career as a criminal investigator. I also have to thank Coach Boatwright and Mr. Crawford for introducing me to my love of history through government and economics. I also can’t go without thanking Coach Barnes for providing a strong foundation for writing within his English and Literature class. I use fundamentals taught by him each day, typing reports and court documents. In law enforcement, those fundamentals could mean the difference in a criminal conviction or a complete case dismissal as a whole.
Who was your favorite teacher at FPHS? My favorite teacher would have to be Mr. Crawford. His engaging teaching methods could make any subject or discussion enjoyable. Also, his care and desire for students to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom never went unnoticed. His guidance and instruction greatly impacted my life and I cannot thank him enough.
What is your favorite memory from high school? Or a special story you would like to share? Definitely the round-table, lunch discussions with Eric Medley, Josh Terry, Nathan Hastings, and Dakota McMahan
What advice would you give to current high school students about education and pursuing their future careers? Never “settle” for anything. Apply yourself and always remember that you only get one chance at high school and life as a whole. Cherish this important time and never take it for granted. Learn from your past, embrace the present, and plan for your future.
January 2022- Jeremy Underwood
Name: Jeremy Underwood
Year Graduated from FPHS: 2007
Colleges (s) attended: University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
Where did you graduate? Year? 2011, 2018
Degree(s)? 2011 - Bachelor of Arts in Political Science; Masters of Business Administration w/ a Concentration in Marketing
What is your current occupation and job title? Occupation: Marketing and Advertising / Job Title: Account Manager
How has something you learned at FPHS helped you in your career or life journey? Apply yourself at all times. You never know when an opportunity will arise or how many you will receive, so always be ready to seize it!
What was your favorite high school class at FPHS? Let's not lie here - 4th Block athletics was by far the best. Getting to spend time with your teammates builds a lasting camaraderie that not many people get to forge in those years of life.
Who was your favorite teacher at FPHS and why? This is a tough question. I was afforded a great deal of talented and caring teachers throughout my tenure at FPHS, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed my time with all of them. If I had to pick a favorite teacher, I would definitely choose biology with Mr. Guice. While the content of the course was not quite what I ever intended to pursue, Mr. Guice taught us more than what was explicitly in our textbook. For me, he taught accountability, work ethic, and creating a propensity to learn. The most amazing thing about this is he did it all while making it seem like it was new and exciting to him! That level of excitement and joy is a shining example of what we should all hope to bring to our careers, personal relationships, etc.
What is your favorite memory from high school? Or a special story you would like to share? It's very tough to corral into one favorite memory, but I can give a few brief memories that stand out to me. At the top of the list is the "Gone to win 10" campaign with my football teammates. This was our mantra, and a goal we could never be certain we would reach, but it is a testament to hard work, dedication, and pride. The class of '07 was fantastic, and any time spent with any of them was always fun and enlightening.
What advice would you give to current high school students about education and pursuing their future careers? No one becomes anything overnight. It takes time. Take the time in each moment to learn, overcome, and grow. Then use those moments collectively as building blocks to becoming what you desire to be. It won't be easy, it won't always be fun, but the ride is what prepares you for your career.
October 2021- Lynus Ryan
Name: Lynus Ryan
Year Graduated from FPHS: 2010
Colleges (s) attended: Snead State Community College 2010-2012; Auburn University 2012-2015
Where did you graduate? Year? Snead State Community College 2012; Auburn University 2015
Degree(s)? Snead State - Associate in Science - General Education; Auburn University - Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Professional Flight Management)
What is your current occupation and Job Title? Pilot, Captain at Envoy Air. Envoy Air is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group.
How has something you learned at FPHS helped you in your career or life journey? My first day of school my freshman year Coach Will Copeland taught everyone in class how to properly shake someone's hand. He made us realize a handshake is more than just a gesture. A handshake will set the tone and tell that person how interested you are to be there and meet that person. Having a firm handshake and looking that person in the eyes may set you apart from other people. It may get you a job or create a business relationship you need going forward. I have carried that with me throughout my life to help build many professional relationships.
What was your favorite high school class at FPHS? Coach Boatwright's Government and Economics. It was a foundation for learning about the "real world". Helped all of us learn about taxes, the stock market, and how the government works.
Who was your favorite teacher at FPHS and why? Coach Steve Sparks. He taught me about hard work, determination, and how to use that throughout my life.
Coach Will Copeland. He taught me not only how important education is for my future but also the importance of love and respect for everyone.
What is your favorite memory from high school? Or a special story you would like to share Athletics in general was one of my favorite memories from FPHS. We won multiple region and area championships in football, baseball, and basketball during my time at FPHS. The lifelong friendships I built during my time playing on those teams is something I will never forget.
What advice would you give to current high school students about education and pursuing their future careers? Open your minds to the many opportunities that are out there. Don't let anything or anyone hold you back. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from FPHS. It took me a couple years at Snead State and then finally at Auburn University I turned a hobby into a professional career.
September 2021- Rafael Cruz Jr.
Name: Rafael Cruz Jr.
Year Graduated from FPHS: 2010
College(s) Attended: Northeast Alabama Community College
Where did you graduate? Year? NACC May 2013
Degrees? Associates in Applied Science Criminal Justice
Current Occupation and Job Title? Patrol Sergeant at Fort Payne Police Department
How is something you learned at FPHS helped you in your career or life journey?
FPHS is a great school system with faculty and teachers that want to see their students strive and succeed.
What was your favorite high school class at FPHS? American History with Coach Copeland
Who was your favorite teacher at FPHS and why? Coach Copeland, he was really energetic and vocal which helped the fact that everyone in class would pay attention. I was able to retain a lot of the material from his American History class.
What advice would you give to current high school students about education and pursuing their future careers? Don't let anyone discourage you from following your dreams in your career path. Enjoy every moment while pursuing your career. You may think high school classes may be irrelevant to your career choice but its part of learning to be responsible.