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 by presenting him with the Kiwanis International Legion of Honor as well as the 2021 Distinguished Service Award from the club.
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’s Legion of Honor diplomas on March 25, also at her home.
“I have really enjoyed my work with young people and I am honored by these awards,” said Novinger.
Kiwanis Cal-Nev-Ha District Governor Gary Gray chaired the District Distinguished Service Awards announcement during his official visit to Division 33 on March 18.
A graduate of Occidental College and outstanding college football player, Novinger, 88, was Principal of Tehachapi High School from 1982 to 1992 and joined Kiwanis Club of Tehachapi in 1984. Before moving to Tehachapi, he was Deputy Principal of Tehachapi Hoover High School in Glendale, where he began his educational career in 1955 as a math teacher. He was a Boys Advisor and Key Club Faculty Advisor, personally leading Key Club executives to conventions across California, accompanied by his wife Anne Marie, whose tireless work for Kiwanis earned him honorary membership. While at Glendale, Novinger was captain of the Montrose Mountain Search and Rescue Team.
At Hoover High, he developed a comprehensive course in aerospace science and coached soccer and swimming. His Hoover swim team won the CIF Southern Section Championship in 1962.
“He keeps in touch with alumni and has been invited to many class reunions,” said Anne Marie. “Students tell him wonderful stories about the impact their participation in athletics and his training has had on their lives. Some of his soccer players even remember the exact play and the exact play 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 spanned 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.
The construction of the new Tehachapi hospital owes much to Novinger, who served as chairman of the surety campaign for Measure J, the hospital’s first surety bond, which won a California record of 80%. He chaired the Tehachapi Hospital Citizen Oversight Committee and served as the Vice President of the Tehachapi Hospital Foundation and the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce. He and Anne Marie were named Citizen of the Year of Tehachapi 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.