By Craig Kubey
This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – but especially Saturday (Oct. 6) – the extraordinary El Cerrito High School Class of 1967 will hold three 45-year reunions in one. And in fact, all three reunions will themselves be three reunions in one. Also, our class’s best athlete was not in our class. Confused? Read on:
Three events? Yes.
- Friday at 6, No-Host Pre-Party at Brennan’s Restaurant (hofbrau and bar) at 700 University Avenue (at Third Street) in Berkeley.
- What most people simply call “the reunion”: dinner-dance in the big, elegant ballroom at the classic Mira Vista Golf and Country Club high in the hills of El Cerrito. 5:30 to 11:30. Prime rib, decorations, a program, and then dancing to the Nite Owls, a powerful oldies band--professional rockers from our class who were the hit of the 40-year reunion.
- Closing out the reunion weekend, our traditional picnic will be held at Arlington Park on the Arlington in EC. Starts are noon. BBQ, potluck, and soft drinks will be provided but when the charcoal is done, the burgers will be too--so attendees shouldn’t come too late.
Three reunions at each of the three reunion events? Yes. Because the Class of ’67 has invited its two neighboring classes--’66 and ’68.
So the whole weekend, and especially the dinner-dance, are the best possible way to reconnect with friends from 45 years ago.
Our class’ “kids”--age 63 now--had enormous spirit when at El Cerrito, all the way through Senior Activities: the Senior Banquet, Ditch Day, the Senior Ball, and (following graduation) the All-Night Party at Pauley Ballroom at Cal.
The long-time ECHS principal when we were there, Claude Samples, said our class was the last one he really enjoyed. (At ECHS, 1967 was pretty much before drugs and opposition to the school administration, though we were becoming increasingly opposed to the Vietnam War, and our legislature donated to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC, for voter registration in the South.)
Why show up at the reunion? Because almost everybody who attends our reunions enjoys them. A reunion is a unique opportunity to rekindle relationships of the past. And the attendees who have already paid up (some have yet to send in their payment or will pay at the door) include many of the more prominent members of the class then and now. Many of your friends are attending. You can check that and anything else by contacting the reunion committee chairman, Roddy Lee, at ECHS1967@aol.com or, as needed, by calling Roddy at (510) 525-6775. You can arrange to attend by contacting Roddy. Not as good but OK: you can pay at the door.
We have 26 on the reunion committee, and we’re working hard to make the reunion night a memorable one. Do you want to be sitting at home while “all” your classmates are rockin’ and talkin’ at Mira Vista? The price for the dinner-dance--we hope to break even--is $85, the best we could do for this expensive venue. That admission cost can be a profit center for you, as you refresh old relationships and make new ones.
We graduated 571, but our early reunions were before the e-mail / cell phone / smartphone revolution and we have “good” e-mail or U.S. Mail addresses for only about 250. Among the men and women we know about, there are at least two doctors, four professors, many high school teachers, men and women from business, a clinical psychologist, a veterinarian, and--we apologize--some practicing lawyers. Roddy knows more about the careers of our classmates. See below for a sports report.
Because we have good addresses for only a minority of the class, those “missing persons” are a big reason for this article. Maybe you are among the missing and would have wanted to attend the reunion if only you knew about it. Maybe you are a relative or friend of a student who graduated in 1967 but who never received a reunion invitation. It’s not too late!
Here are some of our stars, and we have others too:
One of our classmates was COO of Supercuts and a player in other important business ventures. Another is the co-founder and manager (of the park in its current form) of the environmentally and historically important Rio Bosque Wetlands Park in Texas. Yet another became an investment banker in NYC and was a major player in some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions of their time. One became CEO of EurekaBank. Another is a bestselling author. Still another has founded several successful Silicon Valley startups.
If you track sports at ECHS in and around 1967, you find greater success in track and field than in any other sport. (And we also did well in the three basics--football, basketball, and baseball.) The success in track had a great deal to do with the fact that our coach, Hale Roach, became National Coach of the Year. He was a gentleman and had a strong sense of humor, but he was an uncompromising taskmaster. As some of us found out, he was also better at his job than many prominent college track coaches. During our time at the high school, we won 55 straight dual meets (meets between just two schools), sometimes by ridiculous scores like 116 to 12. Dave Masters from our class was the fastest high school sprinter in the United States for almost the entire 1967 season, three times running the 220 in 20.9 seconds, the equivalent of 20.6 in the 200 meters--fast enough to make the Olympic finals in many years. He sprinted the 100 yard dash in 9.5 seconds--usually good enough to win State Meet--five times.
Hurdler Roddy Lee, who would teach at ECHS for decades, starred in the high and intermediate hurdles at Cal and ran for the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. John Sproul (yes, he’s related, and I don’t mean to Roddy) made it to State Meet in the 880 and competed successfully in the same event at Cal.
But, as mentioned, the best athlete in our class wasn’t in our class. He graduated from Kailua High School in Hawaii the same month we left El Cerrito. His name was Duncan Macdonald. In fact, he was an active member of our class in 1964-65, when his dad was doing a sabbatical at Cal. He was a soph phenom at EC in both cross-country and track. He became the first Stanford athlete to run a mile in under four minutes. He competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Later the same year, he set the American record in the 5000 meters, at 13:19.4.
The editor has given me a word limit, so I must stop here. Imagine how many old friends whom you haven’t seen for years will be at the reunion! As we used to say in 1967, “Be there or be square!”
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