Cheyenne East High School’s Most Famous Graduates
Here's a tribute to five former Thunderbirds who have earned national acclaim for their alma mater.
Cynthia Lummis, Class of 1972 – Before becoming a member of the United States House of Representatives, Congresswoman Lummis studied at East. She later attended the University of Wyoming, earning two undergraduate degrees and a Juris Doctorate.
After clerking for the Wyoming Supreme Court, she began her career in politics. She was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1979. In 1993, she became a Wyoming State Senator. Lummis also served as Wyoming’s Treasurer from 1999 – 2007.
In 2008, she successfully ran for the United States House of Representatives, serving four terms as Wyoming’s at large congressional representative before retiring this year.
Tracy Ringolsby, Class of 1969 – This Hall of Fame sportswriter’s career began when he was still a student at East High. The day after his 17th birthday, he landed a job at the Wyoming State Tribune, which was Cheyenne's afternoon newspaper.
He later embarked on a legendary career covering the California Angels, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, and Texas Rangers. In 1992, he joined the Rocky Mountain News as the Colorado Rockies beat writer.
In 2006, Ringolsby received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2009, he inducted into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
James Johnson, Class of 2007 – Arguably the greatest basketball player in Cheyenne’s history, Johnson averaged 28 points per game during his senior season at East.
He accepted a scholarship to Wake Forrest University where he spent two years before being selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Johnson has played for six teams during his nine-year professional career and is currently a member of the Miami Heat.
Daniel Junge, Class of 1988 – The only Academy Award winner in school history, Junge’s film “Saving Grace” won the 2012 Oscar for Best Documentary.
His first feature film “Chiefs” chronicled the struggles of students at Wyoming Indian High School on the Wind River Reservation. The movie was named Best Documentary of 2002 at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.
Several feature films would follow, including 2010’s “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner,” which was also nominated for an Academy Award and later featured on the HBO network.
Ryan Garrison, Class of 1996 – The only Grammy Award winner in school history, Garrison was a member of the school choir at East. He went on to Laramie, where earned a music degree from the University of Wyoming.
After college, he moved to Phoenix, becoming the choral director at the Arizona School for the Arts. It was there that Garrison began singing in the Phoenix Chorale.
In 2009, the chamber choir won a Grammy Award for their album “Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary.” The group’s latest album “All-Night Vigil" was recently nominated for two awards at the 2016 Grammy’s, including Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.