Downey High School has released the names of its 2023 hall of fame class, with an induction ceremony scheduled for this Friday, Oct. 13.
The ceremony, which begins at 10:15 a.m. in the Downey High writing center, will recognize four alumna that include members who have distinguished themselves in the areas of civic engagement, business, science and education.
Inductees will also be recognized that same evening at the annual Downey vs. Warren football game at SoFi Stadium.
This year’s inductees are listed below, with brief biographies as provided by Downey Unified School District.
Lupita Infante graduated from Downey High School, Class of 2005. After years of honing her craft and simultaneously working her way through college, she graduated in 2017 from UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology (World Music).
Lupita was a semi-finalist on Mexico’s version of The Voice in 2017. She was nominated for the Latin Grammy’s 2020 for best regional song, “Dejaré”, and also received a Grammy nomination for best Regional Mexican Album for her debut release, “La Serenata”. She has performed on some of the biggest stages such as the Hollywood Bowl, the televised broadcasts of the Latin GRAMMYs and Premio Lo Nuestro, as well as taking the field to sing the National Anthem five times at Dodger Stadium. In 2022, she signed with Sony Music Latin and released her first major label album “Amor Como En Las Películas De Antes” in May 2023.
She was born in Los Angeles, Calif. to Marisol Esparza, a Mexican immigrant from the state of Zacatecas, and Pedro Infante Torrentera, the son of legendary movie and singing icon Pedro Infante, famous in Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema.
Lupita is still active in the Downey community. She visited Downey High School’s first Mariachi class in 2022 and assisted in finding specialized Mariachi coaches for Downey Unified students. She believes that music is a powerful tool to help celebrate and conserve culture, and she looks forward to inspiring future generations as they embark on their musical journeys.
Dawn (Carson) O’Keeffe
Dawn (Carson) O’Keeffe was very active during her years at Downey High School. She was class president for three years, Varsity head cheerleader and Normaneer. She graduated in 1978 with a 4.0 GPA and was selected by her classmates as an all-around “Vike”.
Dawn went on to attend Westmont College where she double majored in Business/ Economics and English Literature. She started her career as a news producer working for ABC in Santa Barbara. After relocating to Los Angeles, she spent several years producing medical programs for Cable Health Network (now Lifetime Network) before returning to news as a producer at NBC.
She then co-founded Blue Field Productions with her director/cinematographer husband and together they have served the production needs of over 200 clients, including producing the award-winning documentary, GO PUBLIC: A Day in the Life of an American School District which aired nationally on PBS. Currently, she is VP of Finance for the Academy Award winning Breakwater Studios.
Dawn is very active in the community, serving on the Board of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, the oldest educational foundation in the state of California. She is also an active member of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena . The role she is proudest of is mom to four great kids.
Ben E. Seybold II
Ben Seybold graduated from Downey High School in 1985. He was an outstanding student academically, athletically and was a student leader. Ben was the Student Body President and Captain of the Varsity football, wrestling and track teams. He earned All-CIF in football and placed top in the Top 10 in California’s State Wrestling Championship in both his junior and senior years. He was a 3-year Varsity Letterman in football, wrestling and track. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University of New York where he was also a varsity athlete, lettering in football and wrestling.
Ben’s professional career has spanned close to four decades in commercial real estate. He has worked for the last 30 years with CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate company. Currently, Ben holds the position of Executive Vice President, responsible for facilitating relocation, consolidation, and expansion of local, national, and international corporations along with the development of major industrial logistics centers in Southern California.
This year, Ben will celebrate his 30-year wedding anniversary to his wife Kim. Ben has four children Bennie III, Jackson, Madison and Chloe.
William Bill Ridgeway
The Renaissance Man, Bill Ridgeway or Mr. Bill, as his friends call him, came from humble beginnings. Through hard work, sacrifice and self-reliance, he built numerous careers. While attending Long Beach State University, he was a draftsman at North American Aviation, a skill he learned at Downey High, which led him to work on the Apollo Program from 1962-1966. He attributes his time at Downey High School, as “a stepping-stone to his successful and productive life.”
In 1964, Bill served in the US Army Reserves. He was a Los Angeles Co. Fireman, Paramedic #10, a pioneer in the original pilot program, Engineer and Captain, all before retiring in 1980 due to fire related injuries. He was a technical advisor for the TV Show “Emergency” and is a Docent at the L.A. Co. Fire Museum.
Out of necessity, he started three businesses which consisted of a Silk-Screening Business (from 1961-1969), Bill Ridgeway Design and Consulting (from 1972-2004), which brough in over 2,000 designs and consulting projects in the Long Beach area, and finally, a real estate and development company (beginning in 1966 to present day). He’s competent in numerous construction trades.
He loves his family, always has a smile on his face, and is a dedicated father and grandfather. He was married to his college sweetheart, Bev, for 57 years…. Most say, “There is a right way, there is the wrong way and there is the RidgeWAY”.