A walk down memory lane
Santa Barbara High School will open its doors to all former Dons during the first-ever All Dons Reunion next month.
The event has been in the works for the past year and a half, serving as a way for all former SBHS graduates to come together from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5. The reunion will be held near the flagpole in front of the school campus, which was once considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, according to Tim Putz, president of the Santa Barbara High School Alumni Association, who is organizing the event.
Festivities are expected to kick of Oct. 4, with the Class of 1949 holding a luncheon to celebrate its 70th reunion. Many people have discussed having a reunion over the years and the plan is finally coming to fruition.
“It came about from hearing classes like (the Class of ’49) and other older classes saying ‘I’d love to have a reunion, but there’s nobody who can come,’” said Sharon (Keinath) Henning, director of memberships for the alumni association. “Then when I was working here we would get phone calls from older classes. All the younger classes – they’re just not having reunions.
“Because of social media they don’t feel like they have to do it in person,” she said. “I was getting a magazine from my daughter’s college and they would talk about alumni weekends and it looked like so much fun, and I thought ‘well, maybe we could do that here.’ Everyone can come and the older classes could be here and not have to worry about trying to plan everything.”
The event will include several food trucks, live music from bands of different eras and memorabilia tables.
As many as 2,000 people are expected to attend, including folks who reside in Texas and one former Don who will be bringing her 96-year-old mother.
“We’re hoping for all ages,” said Ms. Henning, who was a member of the Class of 1974.
Near the flag pole will be tents dedicated to each decade. One tent will be for students from 1875-1940.
“We expect to see a lot of people,” Mr. Putz, class of 1963, said. “We have a lot of classmates that have moved from out of the area, but some are coming.”
Members of the Associated Student Body will lead school tours, giving all the former students a chance to revisit their teenage years.
“They can walk down the halls and look at the wall of fame and it gets them thinking about high school and the stories,” Ms. Henning said. “I could be here for hours just listening to their stories.”
Perhaps the most important thing that will be offered at the reunion is a chance to rekindle old friendships and see familiar faces.
“Santa Barbara High has always been known for its cordiality for underclassmen and older classmen,” Mr. Putz said. “When you start as a sophomore – it was only a three-year high school when we were here – you knew the juniors and seniors. As you moved up, you knew the sophomores and juniors… You know all the people.”
A souvenir gift will be given to the first 2,000 people to attend. The event will also include a silent auction featuring a handmade quilt made from Dons t-shirts, voice lessons from JR Richards, a meal with Oscar winner Taylor Hackford, lunch with current and former teachers, a six-hour wine event offered by Foley Family Wines, a beer lover’s basket, and more.
All event proceeds will go toward the association to be put toward special projects. Last year, the association awarded nearly $25,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and other college students seeking further education. More than 4,000 people are part of the association, Mr. Putz said.
“I think there will be a lot of mini-reunions happen,” said Ms. Henning. “A lot of stories.”
Both Mr. Putz and Ms. Henning expect that attendees will enjoy the student tours – having the chance to see the wall of fame and maybe even locate their locker from years ago.
“This is where it all happened,” Mr. Putz said. “The school really hasn’t changed on the inside.”
Tickets are $20 per person, or $45 for a family (two adults and up to four children under 18).
It will be an alcohol-free event, with attendees reminded to wear their olive and gold and bring money to purchase food and other items.Tickets can be purchased at www.sbdonsalumni.com/ or at the school’s counseling office. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.