Lieutenant Commander Joe Baker, USN (Ret) was the first Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) for the S.F. Austin High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Unit. CDR Baker was an inspirational teacher who was totally committed to the NJROTC Program. He was respected and truly loved by all of his cadets.
CDR Baker was diagnosed with cancer in late 2001 and passed away in February 2002. Later in the spring of 2002 one of AHS coaches, Richard Lazarou, suggested having a student vs. teacher softball game in memory of CDR Baker. The event would also serve as a fundraiser for local charities. Additionally, scholarships are presented to 3 AHS students.
This year’s charity is the Educational Scholarship Fund for Jacob and Katie Norsworthy. Jacob and Katie are the children of Sheriff’s Deputy John Norsworthy who passed away in January due to injuries sustained in a car accident which occurred while responding to a call.
This was the 10th Annual CDR Baker Softball Game. This year’s event, started with a penny power between 5th period classes to see who can win a pizza party and a dessert from Mrs. Baker- CDR Baker’s wife who is still a teacher at AHS. Also, each class that raised over $175 won free tickets to the 10th annual CDR Baker Softball Game on March 30.
Mrs. Betty Baker said, “My sons and I really appreciate the support we continue to receive from Stephen F. Austin High School and the community in memory of Joe. It’s rewarding because after Commander Baker left the Navy he dedicated his life to teaching and the ROTC program. He’d be very proud of this organization for continuing his love for education by providing support for this family who’ve tragically lost a loved one in service of our community.”