Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Santa Cruz High School - 2006. Photo taken by Roger 'Ruggero' Princevalle

Photo: Memorial Field with the City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz High School in the Background.
(c. 1954)


I received the f ollowing e-mail and accompanying Santa Cruz Sentinel article from Len Klempnauer, SCHS Class of '54 Alum:

As you probably know, the Rotary Club is currently undergoing a campaign to raise $750,000 in community donations to rehabilitate the Santa Cruz High track and football field.

The SCHS Class of 1954 already has contributed $1,000 to the fund-raising drive, and I have been told the Class of 1956 also is considering make a class donation.
I was wondering whether your Class of 1955 might be interested is making a donation.
In our case, we were going to donate $250 from our class general fund (money we've saved up over the years from reunions) and ask if any of our classmates would individually like to contribute the remaining $750. As it turned out, four of my '54 classmates each contributed $250, so we didn't have to take the money from our fund. (Instead, we'll be able to add that amount to the perpetual Class of 1954 Scholarship administered by the alumni association that we set up this year.)
If you're interested, the Rotary contacts are Jon Sisk, senior vice president of Lighthouse Bank, and Ken Whiting of Whiting's Foods. Sisk can be reached at and Whiting at
I'm sure many of you have email contacts with other members of the Class of '55, so you may want to send this suggestion to them.
Below is an article about the campaign that was published in the Sentinel.
-- Len Klempnauer, Capitola
P.S. Wouldn't it be great if all of the SCHS classes from the Fifties would contribute $1,000 apiece? If you have any contacts in other classes, could you pass on this information. I've already sent a similar email to Bob Lemmon of the Class of 1957.

The following story about the Memorial Field fund-raising drive was published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sunday, May 4, 2008.Headline: Santa Cruz High Track and Field Project Needs $750K. More than a decade has passed since Santa Cruz High School -- home to a dusty, narrow dirt track -- has hosted a meet on its own turf, forced instead to play at other schools or area parks that offer better facilities.Speaking of turf, the adjacent infield at the school's Memorial Track and Field has more craters than the moon. The football and soccer teams can host the occasional competition, but the bumpy battleground is a potential minefield for twisted ankles, errant passes and broken hearts. With no real "home field," students are far less likely to support their peers by traveling to other schools to watch them compete, say supporters of the effort to improve facilities."There'd be a lot more school spirit" if the facility at the 113-year-old school was in better shape, said junior soccer player and track team member Kelsey Johnson.If the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club is successful in raising $750,000, 10 years worth of dreams for a new track and field might actually come true by next year. Thanks to a $500,000 boost from Rotary charity bike rides, a $750,000 investment from the school district and other community pledges totaling nearly $500,000, a planning committee has cobbled together about three-quarters, or $1.7 million, of the project's estimated $2.5 million cost.Committee leaders Ken Whiting, former Rotary Club president, and brother-in-law Jon Sisk are launching a big push to raise the final amount by this fall so the district can put the roughly 200,000-square-foot project out to bid while the construction market is still favorable due to the downward demand for new houses. The preliminary design plan was OK'd by the school board in December after several community forums, but the project can't move forward without all the money. "We want to leverage the monies we made through the bike rides into a complete project that would serve the school and community and stand there for the test of time," said Whiting, who, like wife Renee, graduated from the school in 1974. The couple's three daughters also are graduates, with the youngest, Jenny, running track for the school several years ago.Santa Cruz architect Steve Sutherland, whose daughter graduated from the school last year, said the "state of the art" project would take at least four months to construct after a contractor is chosen through a district bidding process. Though his firm, SSA Landscape Architects, has designed plans to eventually build new softball fields, expanded bleachers and a concession building, the track and field upgrades are all the district can afford right now.The new field would be made of polyethylene carpet supported underneath by an infill made of recycled tires. The track surface would be made of polyurethane, also supported by recycled rubber. Though there have been some community concerns about using artificial turfs, he said the synthetic materials are safe, reduce injuries and don't require watering, fertilizers and the maintenance hours the district can ill-afford.Assistant Cardinals track coach Bob Sanders, whose children Elle and Zeke are on the team, looks forward to the day when "finally there won't be bare spots" in the field."Whenever we travel to other school districts, they have really a nice track and field," Sanders said. "I always wondered why we couldn't offer our children the same type of facility."The track team uses the existing track for practice, but not to compete because the facility isn't regulation size and has no marked lanes. "That's a shame -- the kids deserve to have home track meets," he said. The district's assistant superintendent for business, Dick Moss, said parents and community members had to raise most of the funds privately because there is only so much money to go around for facility improvements, especially in tough budget times. This year, schools are bracing for at least 2.5 percent in state funding cuts thanks to the state's growing multibillion dollar deficit."A lot of facilities have needs in the district," Moss said, adding that Harbor High's track facility is also deteriorating. "Things like that tend to take a lower priority."Erik Redding, the boys athletic director at Santa Cruz High, applauded the efforts of Rotarians and others to get the project under way."Every year, we try to get things going," he said. "Finally, we just got to the point that we had some people wanted to take the bull by the horns."Those interested in donating to the project can make corporate gifts from $15,000-$20,000 and get advertising on bleachers or the scoreboard. Individual donors of $1,000 or more will receive a plaque on what will be called the Cardinal Wall of Fame at one of the entrances to the field.Freshman Elena Venable hopes enough donors chip in so she can run on the new track next spring and perhaps the rest of her athletic career at the school."It's kind of upsetting because my friends can't watch because they can't go to San Lorenzo Valley or Aptos," she said. "I'd like not having to drive somewhere, and it would make it easier to practice.”


Gino Campioni said...

Caro Ivano,

Thanks for the great pictures you posted on the blog today. The second your website came up, I recognized Santa Cruz High School. What memories that brings to mind!

I remember going up those steps with my parents, and entering a classroom where Mrs. Sonneborn taught citizenship courses to prospective U.S. citizens. I sat through the entire course with my parents, and learned a lot.

That is a fine looking building, isn't it? Much more impressive than any school I attended. There is nothing like it here in my part of Oregon. SCHS looks more like a building one would see in Washington D.C.

Best wishes for success in getting the improvements done to the facilities that the students need and deserve so much.

Saluti, Gino

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Gino: You know when I attend SCHS 1952-55,I was able to attend classes in that building for only a short while. Probably in 1953 the building was deemed not safe for inhabitants. It had something to do with the earthquake laws at the time. The building had to be retrofitted to make it earthquake safe. Most of my classes were held at Mission Hill Jr. High (where I had just graduated) and in temporary classes below the building near the Gym and Memorial Field. As you can see the building was successfully retrofitted (it came through the 1989 Earthquake) and still stands today. It certainly is a classic building structure.

Now if we could do the same for the Laguna Inn. Ivn0