I’m Wanda Roe Pagonis and I played on the Flying Queens from 1967-1971.
I grew up in a small rural area that only had a post office out in a field. I have one older sister and was raised by my loving mom and dad. We were a very close-knit family that did lots of fun things together like going to the Gulf Coast and having a dock at Medina Lake. Dad and I got our ham radio licenses and worked with the Civil Air Patrol in San Antonio.
I had always thought of going to college, but Dad did not have money for my education. He thought I would be like my sister and get married right out of high school. While playing basketball in high school, I learned to love the game more than anything else. I heard of the Flying Queens and wanted to play for them, but knew I could not afford a private college.
The first time I arrived on the campus was to attend a tryout for a scholarship. Coach Redin asked me to attend after watching me play in the North-South All Star game. I talked my friend into driving us to Plainview, which took us 8 hours, arriving there at 5:00 am and tryouts at 10:00 am. I remembered working my tail off only to hear Coach Redin say he had only 3 scholarships to give out. He would contact the recipients in a few days. There had to be about 60 girls trying out. I went back home, knowing that was probably the last time I would see Plainview. To my amazement, I was called two days later and was told that I received one of those precious scholarships. I would never exchange my four years at Wayland and playing for the Queens for anything. They were the best four years of my life, which will never be forgotten. Being coached by the greatest coach in the nation is something I will cherish.
My most memorable moment as a Flying Queen came my sophomore year at Nationals. Barbara McAninch and I were sitting in the bleachers listening to the announcer announce the National Girl’s Basketball League (NGBL) All-League Team. If you were chosen to the NGBL All-League Team you could not be chosen as the NGBL’s Most Valuable Player. As we listened, the announcer called out Nera White of Nashville Business College. Nera had been the MVP for the last ten years. Her being named to the All-League Team meant she was not the MVP this year. Barbara and I laughed and said we sure wouldn’t want to be the MVP because that person would have to go down and shake Nera’s hand. The announcer then called my name as MVP, the first time in history that the NGBL chose a guard as such. I fell back into the bleachers and Barbara was yelling at me to go down and accept it. By the way, Nera was very cordial and congratulated me. [See editor’s note 2]
What I learned from playing basketball is when a group of people work together towards the same goal – anything can be achieved.
At Wayland, I found my love of teaching because of professor J. Hoyt Bowers. He instilled in me the love of Biology and that helped me decide the field of teaching I would pursue. I taught science in public high schools for 33 years. I was an adjunct at Our Lady of the Lake University for seven years and the Director of a Science, Math and Research Grant for four years. I wrote curriculum for the Health Science Center in San Antonio and I am Co-director of the Center of Science and Math Education at Our Lady of the Lake University.
I have two wonderful children, Michelle a Doctor of Chiropractic in Austin, and Christopher a youth minister and Parish Administrator in San Antonio. I love to read and travel. I have two cats, KiKi and Scout. I think my teammates would be surprised to know that I design and make very beautiful jewelry.
Wanda Roe Pagonis
Wayland Grad 1971
Flying Queens Forever!