Thousands of Sea Hawks will join forces for four days of various reunion festivities this month as the school celebrates its 100th year.
by Ian Hanigan STAFF WRITER – THURSDAY June 2, 2005, REPRINT BY PERMISSION DAILY BREEZE
She’s Pat Ramsey now, but about 65 years ago she was Pat Caldwell, the blond, freckle-face tomboy who liked everything about her high school.
Then came war, casting a pall on what seemed like days of innocence, especially with former classmates marching off to fight overseas.
“It was kind of like a gloom cloud that was over your head,” says Ramsey, 80.
Tracy Hattingh was a member of the student council, the drill team and the newspaper staff in the early ’70s. It was a time when streaking was the rage, she says, and when surfers, low-riders, jocks and cheerleaders all seemed like best friends.
“That’s what was nice about being at Redondo,” she says. “Whether you were a jock or a band member, everyone was friends with everyone.”
Sure, more than 30 years separate the graduating classes of Ramsey and Hattingh. But they and thousands of others are forever linked as students who have laughed with friends, studied with classmates and courted unknown destinies at Redondo Union High School, the coastal campus on the cusp of celebrating 100 years.
“It sounds like a corny thing — Sea Hawk family,” Hattingh concedes, referring to the school’s winged mascot. “But it really holds true. Once you’re a Sea Hawk, you’re always a Sea Hawk.”
In honor of the school’s birthday, as many as 6,000 to 10,000 Sea Hawks, young and old, are expected to descend upon the sprawling campus at Pacific Coast Highway and Diamond Street this month.
The four-day centennial bash, set to kick off June 23, will include just about every kind of get-together, from reunions and tours to dinners and picnics. On June 25, there’s even a car show, a carnival and a breakfast to honor the 100 most distinguished graduates, a list that includes fraternal comics Dick and Tom Smothers.
But for most, the Centennial Celebration is simply a homecoming, one that will offer former students the chance to catch up with old flames and pals from bygone eras when everyone was a little thinner and only the teachers were sprouting gray hairs.
“It’s more of a home than just a school,” says Steve Bopp, a 1967 RUHS graduate who is chairman of the Centennial Celebration Committee.
The campus may be the second largest in the state now, but it emerged from humble beginnings.
Redondo Union was organized in 1905 by the Redondo Beach and Hermosa school systems, and the first classes were held in two upstairs rooms of the city’s Masonic building. According to the alumni association, there were 10 pupils and just one teacher.