Redondo high celebrates centennial on June 25
by Mark McDermott STAFF WRITER – THURSDAY April 21, 2005, REPRINT BY PERMISSION EASY READER
When Redondo Union High School was founded in 1905, it consisted of one teacher, 10 students, and two rooms in the upstairs of the Masonic Building on Catalina Avenue.
In 1913, students from Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach – the three cities that shared the school, hence the “union” – often traveled to school via streetcar. In 1916, the doors were opened to its fancy new buildings, which were located at the school’s present location and had the pillared dignity and palatial feel of an old Roman castle. So much dignity, in fact, that in 1924 school dances were held at the old Hotel Redondo – dancing was not allowed on the campus.
Today, the 50-acre school is believed to be the second largest high school campus in the state and the third largest in the nation. According to the school registrar, since the first class (of two) graduated in 1907 up through last year’s ceremony, 25,593 students have been graduated from RUHS.
An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 of those students are expected to return for the biggest party in school history when the RUHS Centennial is celebrated on June 25. And this time, dancing will be allowed – there’ll be a DJ and a band playing out on the ball fields, a sock hop in the gym, jazz flowing and old drummers thumping outside on the main campus. There’ll also be a memorial wall, registration booths for every decade of students, and – most importantly – many long lost friends reuniting and rehashing stories from last year to seventy years ago.
It’s going to be Sea Hawks galore.
“We’ve got a hundred years of people here,” said Steve Bopp, the chairman of the RUHS Centennial Committee. “Granted, that’s a lot of deceased people, but still a lot of people. They are going to come in droves.”
The RUHS Alumni Association named a list of the 100 most distinguished graduates earlier this year (see page seven for the entire list), and the sheer variety of occupations and accomplishments of those named provides a human time capsule of the last century.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Among the distinguished graduates are a U.S. Senator (Alaska’s Ted Stevens), famous comedians (the Smothers Brothers), a physicist who co-discovered a black hole (Richard Lingenfelter), an opera singer who sang at the Met and for the Queen of England (Carol Neblett, who will sing at the opening ceremony on June 25), a professional baseball player (Houston Astro Morgan Ensberg), a cat food magnate (Roy Scharer), a weatherman (Fox’s Rick Dickert) as well as more strictly local legends such as Redondo City Attorney Jerry Goddard, educator Bob Brigham, surfing pioneer Hap Jacobs, LA lifeguard and Easy Reader’s “Surfing Santa” Paul Matthies, and Riviera Village stalwart Morgan Moore.
Of course, there were some famous RUHS graduates who didn’t make the list, such as Squeaky Fromm (a member of the Charles Manson family who attempted to assonate President Gerald Ford) and Tracy Lords (an adult film star).
Centennial festivities will take place the entire week of June 20 through June 26 and will include mixers, a golf tournament, museum tours, potlucks, breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners. Local hotels are offering group discounts for the week, and there’ll be a fleet of Sea Hawk RV’s and trailers at Dockweiller State Park.
The main event on June 25 kicks off at 10 a.m. with a ceremony in Sea Hawk bowl. Bopp promised that the ceremony would be short and lacking any politicking.
“We don’t need a mayor or a senator or the Governor,” Bopp said, “because it’s really not relevant. We are trying to keep this event attuned to the people who went to the high school, their memories, and what it meant to them…. It’s all about the school. It’s what happened at the school.”
Volunteers are still needed for the event, as are any financial contributions to help defer the many costs (security, policing, a shuttle service, etc.). For information on how to help, see
ruhsalumni.org or call XXX-XXXX ext. XXXX. A fundraiser is being held at the King Harbor Yacht Club on April 30 at 7 p.m. The event will feature live music, an auction, raffles, and food. Call Gentil Smith at XXX-XXXX or see the alumni website for information.