Alumni Capers Page 2
On June 7th 2019 the Mira Loma’s newest graduating class joined the ranks of Alumni. This is always a momentous occasion as, for the students graduation suggests their promotion to adulthood and, for the community it means that another crop of educated, prepared and eager youth have entered the estuary of American life after 12 years of education. How each class graduates says a great deal about what that “Class” of students will be like as adults -once they are free of their social obligation to attend public school and a free to pursue their own personal life goals. The Class of 2019 had a unique personality as compared to their previous peers (the Classes of 2016-18) who no doubt had an effect on their development. This article will attempt to explain the Class of 2019 through some of their statistics and accomplishments. As with any collection of thoughts this article can not encompass all the personalities of the 400+ students who graduated.
The Class of 2019 were fighters. First they were fighters literally. The 2019-2020 school year at Mira Loma saw an increase in fights on campus. While some of these were from the Freshmen, who will surely graduate with their own personality, there was a significant number of Seniors involved in confrontations. Why? One train unique to Mira Loma was the influx of refugee students to MLHS.
These students coming from Iraq and Pakistan experienced severe disruptions in their lives that often was expressed through confrontation (PTSD, communication problems, misunderstanding ect). Some of these struggles were universal, assimilation faux pas, brothers not liking their sister’s dating and some prejudices being brought in from their home countries. But the Class of 2019 were also fighters for justice and social civility and equality.
In 2018 the Parkland High School shooting struck accord with the students. Class members from 2018 and 2019 were the organizers of a protest that filled the quad advocating for gun ownership reform and solidarity with the students of Parkland High. In 2019 this spirit continued with a memorial for De’Sean Rowe-Manns who was killed in a hit-and-run on September 19th. They worked hard to allow students space to mourn and express their feelings. They organized a walk out to protest police actions that lead to Stephon Clark’s death on March 18th when the Attorney General’s investigation decided to not press charges. The Class of 2019 fought to have gender pro-nouns removed from dance royalty so that any pair (heterosexual, homosexual or other) could be voted to royalty. The same spirit that made the Class of 2019 scrappers in the quad made them warriors for social change and advocates for each other. While this depiction, to some, could be seen as mixed it is as graduation speaker __________ said “you can’t educate us for so long and tell us how we are going to change the world and then be surprised when we go out there and fight for change”
The Class of 2019 saw a return of graduation ceremonies to the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium after its long renovation. The Graduating Class was so large that the auditorium was packed leaving few seats unfilled. Each student was limited to 8 guest seats due to the space restrictions. Displaying modern trends students who were not using all their tickets created “stories” on Snapchat where they sold them to students in need for $20 or whatever the market could bare. Their graduation was probably the most visible. Facebook Livestreams, Instragram Stories, Snapchat Stories and FaceTime where all visible and active throughout graduation from both students and the families who attended. Graduating in scarlet red, one unique attribute to these students of the 2010’s are that they are allowed to pick a walking partner. No longer is the list read alphabetically, but as pairs. This “randomization” of students keeps the audience listening for their graduate and their peers also keeping people from leaving before the ceremony is over.
Lastly the Class of 2019 was ordinary. They were un-extraordinary in that they continued a 30+ legacy of scoring exceptionally high GPAs, qualified an competed at the Science Olympiad Nationals, sent a large delegation to the Speech and Debate Nationals in Dallas, completed 12000 hours of community service, had over 100 students with Seal of Biliteracy, students join the ranks of the armed forces and an exemplary number of students attending college. It is comforting to know that while each year of Matadors is different, that some things are not changing. The students awkwardly figure out who they are and because they are supported by their family, friends and staff at MLHSS they are graduating to become quality members of our society and will surely go on to positively affect our nation.
Bob King came to Mira Loma as the Cross Country and Track Coach. Throughout his tenure at Mira Loma his teams had many winning seasons with exceptionally high participation. He arrived shortly after Coach Al Baeta (who had left to coach at American River College) helping to shape a new era of Mira Loma athletics. Some additional background about Coach King Alumni would want to know is that he moved to Del Campo where he taught Refresher Math, General Science and Supervised the Lunch Room. Throughout the interview Coach King had many great responses that on occasion were paraphrased within this article.
What years were you at MLHS?
I was there from Fall 1967 to January 1982
What subjects/programs were you affiliated with while you were there?
PE. Department only at MLHS.
Did you ever sponsor or advise any of the clubs/extra-curricular activities?
I sponsored the Trackettes at MLHS, Coached Cross Country, scouted for Basketball for Bill Freeman between Cross Country and Track Coached Track
Why did you leave or where did you go after you left MLHS?
I went to Del Campo High School.
He didn’t monitor the lunchroom at MLHS, but was asked monitor the lunchroom when he transferred to Del Capo. The DC the lunchroom environment was in state of anarchy. King called Coach Kundert (who was still at Mira Loma) for advice.
He asked Coach Kundert what he did to gain control of the Lunchroom. Kundert explained that he took two trouble makers (The Andrew Twins) and thru them out of the lunch room when they started a food fight at Mira Loma. Times being different in the 1960’s an educator could get away with a ‘hands-on’ approach. In the Boys Locker Room at MLHS, Coach Freeman grabbed a kid (he was so strong) holding the kid by waist up to the ceiling and shaking him. Drops the kid on the floor and the kid goes splat. The kid said, “I will never do that again.”
At DC King applied the ‘Kundert’ approach. Del Camp had a salad bar in the front the lunch line and the boys were cutting. King saw a boy cutting in line, told him to leave for one week. The student then went under the table, threw him out and as the student was being throw out, he threw his French fries at Coach King. He told him, you can come back in one week. For King the direct and uncompromising approach quickly tamed the lunch room. Even after leaving Mira Loma, King relied on his connections there for advice and support.
Did you ever have another job/occupation during the time you were a teacher?
Before Prop 13 when money was available for summer programs, he taught in the Summer “Sports School” at Mira Loma during the summer 6 weeks from K – 6th grade. After Prop 13, the money dried up and the program was no longer offered. At the end of the summer program the different schools got together and had tournaments in all the different sports. Coach King got contractor’s license to work in summers doing some construction including putting on the roof of Principal Liz Hofmann’s house.
Of your time coaching at MLHS, tell us about your best years?
There were lots of years. Almost all the years were good years except: Only not good 1973-1974 and 1981-1982. First year I coached at Mira Loma, we tied for the Section Title! In 1975-78 won the Section Title for Cross Country- three years in a row!
Who were some of your best athletes and are you still in contact with them?
Danny Taylor, Ed Katabaugh Steve Bergie, Jerry Fat.
John Mansoor (Ran the CIM) Cross Country Chairman.
David Mansoor Sprinter and Jimmy Mansoor distance runner
What would you say is the hardest thing about putting together a good high school sports team?
Well, year to year student populations change. There were 1960 students in 1967 only 1150 students in 1982. You don’t know if you’re there the next year if you’re enrollment shrinks and what kids you’ll pool from .
What was one of your team’s best accomplishments?
After tying for Section Title your first year, its hard to do “better”. But the 1975-78 years we actually won!
What students will remember about Coach King equally as famous as himself, would be his 1967 Blue GMC Truck. It was a stick, so the track team guys had to be able to drive a stick shift. Students thought it was a such a privilege to drive the Coach’s (then) new Truck. Some would try to drive it even without really knowing how to use a stick. During track season Coach would be starting the races so the team members who could drive a stick, were sent in the truck to go pick up hurdles and equipment at the end of the meets another activity that is unique to King’s era. The truck is still running.
Every teacher knows what a blessing it is to be assigned a class in which students are talented, witty, personable, committed to learning, and possess an aptitude for the subject because in those classes, teachers and students work together, laugh together, learn together, and upon graduation often cry together. Every teacher who’s ever taught a class like this understands that it is not only a pleasure, but a privilege.
During my second year at Mira Loma, I was assigned such a class comprised of twenty-five “bright-eyed sophomores,” and with each writing assignment from September through December, I kept thinking of how I might share their exceptional essays, poems, and stories with ML’s faculty and study body. To this end, I asked them that if I could procure the funds for printing costs, would they be willing to usher in Mira Loma’s first literary arts magazine. As encouragement, I shared issues of Siftings, the literary arts magazine for which I was advisor at La Sierra High before it closed in 1983. When they agreed, I approached Principal Elizabeth Hoffman to request that if she would assume the cost of printing the magazine’s inaugural issue with administrative funds, I would reimburse her in the spring after we sold copies to ML’s teachers and students as well as to parents during Open House.
When Mrs. Hoffman consented, I asked for volunteers from that class to assume the duties of an editorial staff, and Erin Brown, Janet Doherty, Carolyn Edwards, Rhonda Lee, Alison Marquiss, David Small, Debby Stoughton, and Amy Struck stepped forward. With a staff in place, its members selected an editor, a name for the magazine, and a dedication for the first issue, which was penned by Amy Struck.
Three months later, Prisms ’85 went to press, and by the end of the evening during Open House in April, every copy had sold out.
In those days, the San Juan District used to hold yearly writing contests for its high school students, awarding ribbons for student writing in the expository and narrative essay, poetry, story, and literary arts magazine. I submitted Prisms ‘85, and it won first place.
By the time those sophomores became seniors, Prisms included not only their literary and artistic efforts, but also those of other ML students. As a result, it had evolved into the kind of magazine I thought would do well in the national contest sponsored annually by The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and it did. Prisms ’86 won the NCTE’s Superior Rating, which only a handful of magazines won that year.
After those sophomores graduated in 1987, I opened tryouts for staff positions to ML juniors and seniors, and those whom I selected continued to maintain the standards set by that inaugural staff. So for the 1989 and 1991 NCTE competition, which by then was being sponsored through a grant by the publishing house of Scott Foresman, and Company, I entered Prisms, and on both occasions it won the NCTE’s Superior rating.
My role as staff advisor to Prisms during the final ten years of my career made my decision to retire much more difficult than I had anticipated. In a poem, which appears in Prisms ’93, Alicia Herrera captures how I felt every April as I carried issues of the magazine to the printer.
The tree would be
With tiny white blossoms
And I would
Bathe in their
I would leave Prisms in the capable hands of English teacher, Robyn Plante.