Pat Navolanic's Story
Class of 1963
The Pat Navolanic Memorial Award has become the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed on a Glendale High School senior.
The purpose of the award is to encourage a higher level of achievement in leadership, academics, community service and athletics, as well as to commemorate the life of a truly great individual.
Identical twins Peter and Pat Navolanic set the standard for leadership and on- and off-campus involvement. They led the student government while at Wilson Middle School. At Glendale High, Pat was elected sophomore class president and the brothers each served a term as ASB president during their senior year; Peter during the fall semester and Pat during the spring semester.
They were brilliant students and gifted athletes. They received athletic letters in track, basketball and football and played on one of Glendale High’s greatest football teams ever. Both achieved the high honor of Eagle Scout and were inducted into the Order of the Arrow, the honor society of the Boy Scouts.
In late December 1965, Pat’s untimely death at the age of 20 was front page news in the Glendale News-Press. The city and school mourned his passing. On campus, members of GHS’s National Honor Society decided to launch a project that would keep the memory of this exceptional person alive. A scholarship was established which would stimulate other students to emulate the qualities of character which made Pat such an outstanding student and leader.
The life of Pat Navolanic was a truly amazing one.
With hopes set upon a career in medicine, Pat had taken the most challenging classes at GHS and never earned less than an “A”. The most significant aspects of his high school career were his personal drive for excellence and his unique ability to lead by example.
Pat won many awards during his senior year at GHS, the highlight of which was the Seymour Memorial Award, which recognizes the most outstanding high school student in the state of California. He is the only student in GHS’s more than 100 year history to win that honor.
Upon graduation, Pat received a four-year scholarship to Stanford University. His brother Peter has said that that achievement allowed Pat to pursue his desire to study at the most outstanding university he could imagine attending. There, he became fascinated with French customs and people. He loved the French culture and because Stanford had a campus located south of Paris, Pat signed up to spend a year abroad studying. It was in France during the Christmas holidays in 1965 that Pat died. His death was blamed on gas leaking from a faulty heater.
Once a year we gather to remember Pat at the PNMA assembly and in doing so we celebrate more than his many accomplishments. We recognize the spirit of this truly inspirational young man. We remember Pat, the model student, the involved citizen, the loving son and brother, and the great friend.
Pat Navolanic lived his life as an example to others and his story has inspired generations of Glendale High School students to achieve beyond their imagined limitations.
A memorial award in his name honoring the senior that most exemplifies Pat's leadership traits, scholarship skills, and athletic prowess was first handed out in 1966.
Taken from the 1966 GHS Yearbook tribute to Pat Navolanic, the following quotes reveal the great influence Pat had upon those with whom he came in contact:
"While Pat Navolanic achieved marked distinction in every area of student involvement during his career at Glendale High School, it was his awareness of others that made him such an outstanding personality to me. He had that rare power found in few persons of making people feel they were important." - Warren Johnson, GHS English Teacher
"As 1963 winner of the coveted Seymour Award, Pat brought great honor to Glendale High School. The recipient of this award must not only exemplify excellence in scholarship, but also demonstrate superior leadership and service to school, church and community, this constituting the ideal of the California Scholarship Federation, a statewide Honor Society. Pat won over 100,000 graduating seniors from 160 high schools." - Bernice Placentine, GHS Social Studies Teacher
"It was his infectious enthusiasm, tempered with an enviable ability to look with his heart instead of his eyes that made Pat such an inspiration to me throughout the years I knew him." - Prudy Nater, 1963 GHS Girls' League President
"He made everyone's life seem worthwhile." - Bill Greco, 1963 Director of Assemblies
"I had the good fortune of meeting Pat Navolanic on the playing fields, through academic discussions, in several Forums and in the social atmosphere. Each was a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Pat's family and friends may find security in the sentiments expressed by Bailey in the Festus: 'It matters not how long we live, but how.' - and Pat Navolanic has left me with an inkling of how to live." - Rolf Rudestam, Hoover alumnus
Pat Navolanic was Student Body President his senior year. His term began with second semester. He replaced his twin brother, who had led the ASB the first semester.
Pat was a starting lineman on the football team in 1962. The Navolanic Twins were members of the track team in 1963.