In recognition of George Novinger’s service to youth and the community, the Kiwanis Club of Tehachapi is proud to honor the 37-year-old Kiwanian with the Kiwanis International Legion of Honor as well as the club’s 2021 Distinguished Service Award.
Kiwanis Division 33 Lieutenant Governor Ron Gaiser, a member of the Tehachapi club, presented the Distinguished Service Award plaque to Novinger at the recipient’s home in Tehachapi on March 23. Club President Tina Cunningham presented the embossed Kiwanis International Legion of Honor and the club Legion of Honor Certificates March 25, also at her home.
“I really enjoyed my work with young people and I’m honored by these awards,” said Novinger.
Kiwanis Cal-Nev-Ha District Governor Gary Gray presided over the announcement of the district’s Distinguished Service Awards during his official visit to Division 33 on March 18.
A graduate of Occidental College and an outstanding college football player, Novinger, 88, was principal of Tehachapi High School from 1982 to 1992 and joined the Tehachapi Kiwanis Club in 1984. Before moving to Tehachapi, he was vice-principal at Hoover High School in Glendale, where he began his teaching career in 1955 as a math teacher. He was a Key Club Boys’ Advisor and Faculty Advisor, personally driving Key Club leaders to conventions throughout California, accompanied by his wife Anne Marie, whose tireless work for Kiwanis earned him Honorary Membership. . While in Glendale, Novinger served as captain of the Montrose Mountain Search and Rescue Team.
At Hoover High, he developed a comprehensive course in aerospace science and coached football and swimming. His swimming team Hoover won the CIF Southern Section Championship in 1962.
“He keeps in touch with former students and has been invited to many class reunions,” Anne Marie said. “Students tell him wonderful stories about the impact their participation in athletics and training has had on their lives. Some of his football players even remember the exact game and game that changed their lives.
In Tehachapi, Novinger supported the Tehachapi High School Leadership Camp at Kern County Mountain Park, a successful multi-day event that took place over many summers. He spent 20 summers as a naturalist ranger in the ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the Inyo White Mountains east of Bishop.
A founding member of the Tehachapi Pilots Society, Novinger flew his own aircraft for 50 years.
Construction of the new Tehachapi hospital owes much to Novinger, who served as chair of the bond campaign for Measure J, the first bond for the hospital, which succeeded with a California record 80%. He chaired the Tehachapi Hospital Citizens Bond Oversight Committee and served as vice president of the Tehachapi Hospital Foundation and the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce. He and Anne Marie were named Tehachapi Citizens of the Year in 2008.
Kiwanis is a service club dedicated to serving the children of the community and the world. Visitors are welcome to our hybrid meetings. Call Tina Cunningham at 822-4515.