CHS Football 2022

CHS Football – Growth on and off the field

Submitted by Leonard Hicks, CHS Football Head Coach

When people ask why I coach football, my answer is simple – I love the game. But most of all, I am driven to help student-athletes achieve their greatest potential. Whether that potential is achieved through athletics or academics, overcoming hardships at home, or facing challenges at school or with peers, my passion comes from mentoring and guiding youth toward success in every aspect of their lives.

About me

Athletics has always been in my blood, and I come from a long familial line of boxers, football, basketball, track, and baseball athletes. I fell in love with the game of football as a 7-year-old Rainier Beach Little League player, and the sport has remained a fixture in my life from that point forward – playing at the varsity high school and then semi-pro level until my career was cut short due to injury.

I decided to give back to the game that helped shape me as a young man and found my calling as a coach. I coached several youth football franchises over 18 years and was proud to help lead these under-estimated youth to 14 championships. In 2012, I started my high school coaching career as a coach volunteer at Renton High School and then was hired at Bishop Blanchet, where I held various coaching positions over several years – which then led me to Cleveland, where I was named head coach this spring. I have also served as the Head Track and Field Coach at Mercer Middle School for the past six years.

Team mottos

The Cleveland High School football team grew from 8 athletes in the spring to 27 on the roster come fall – the majority with no prior football experience. So, no surprise, this season was a total rebuild, starting with building camaraderie amongst players and installing a firm culture of work ethic, discipline, and selflessness. Creating a sustainable culture and brotherhood was my primary goal. I developed team mottos to communicate essential qualities required to grow into better players and individuals. Mottos like “Whatever it takes,” “The way we do small things is the way we do all things,” “110% effort leads to 100% execution,” and “If you had fun, you won.”

A new tradition

Each week, after practice the day before each game, the player and coaches shared a Unity Meal. With the gracious help of parents who prepared and served the meals, we sat around the table as a family and spoke openly about goals, motivated one another, expressed appreciation, and established connections. Unity Meal has also been a great way to get parents more involved with the program and their children, something this school rarely sees. For me, it was important to treat each other like family and earn that right through actions. The players have learned how to lift each other up, embrace and support each other, and face adversity together as a team.

Eagle pride

Though our team record of 0-8 may not reflect a winning season, you would never know watching how these boys play. We were significantly smaller and younger than our opponents by far – only three players weighed in over 280# and the rest at 165# and under. This team continued to play hard no matter the score and never forgot to thank the parents, fans, and referees with the utmost class and enthusiasm after every single game. But, behind every loss, this team smiled, laughed, and sometimes even cried tears of joy that expressed their brotherly love for one another and their pride and appreciation for their Eagle community.

A truly rewarding experience

One of my greatest moments this season happened away from the football field. Poor air quality forced us to cancel practice for several days this month. So instead, we used the time for team building and to walk players through the college application process, including applying for financial aid, grants, and scholarships, crafting emails to college football coaches, completing questionnaires, and setting up school visits. One player told me college was “not an option” and that he intended to go to a job core or take on a trade apprentice at the local union. After spending the three days together, he and many others decided to attend and apply to college.

Assistant Coaches

This season could not have happened without the support of my three amazing assistant coaches: Offensive Coordinator/QB/Receiver/DB coach Malaki Carter, Running Back/Linebacker coach Austin Aiona, and the OLine/DLine coach, my son Len Hicks. These young men are all current college students and exemplary role models who helped me build a culture of youth enrichment on and off the field.

CHSAA Donation

This spring, we received a generous donation from the CHSAA that enabled us to purchase vital field equipment such as footballs, agility cones, speed ladders, garbage cans for position alignments, jump ropes, game socks, mouthpieces, and knee pads. We also purchased a vital coaching tool, “HUDL Sideline,” to record and instantly view plays on the field with the team and coaching attire. The donation also helped fund our Spring Football Barbeque, where we were able to reflect on our hard work and commitment to each other during spring camp.

Looking ahead

We are looking ahead to continuing this momentum next season! Alumni and community donations are essential to continuing the success of our program. Our highest priority is new uniforms for the upcoming season at a price tag of between $11,000 – $19,000. Purchasing up-to-date helmet models are also a necessity. My dream is also to provide our players with the experience of attending a football camp. This year, many of our players could not afford the registration cost, resulting in Cleveland pulling out of the camp altogether. Finally, more funding will allow us to bring on additional coaches to provide more personalized instruction and mentoring to each athlete.

Ultimately my goal is to do whatever I can to grow these players into the best version of themselves for life! I appreciate the Alumni Association’s support thus far and humbly call for Cleveland alums’ continued support of Eagle Football.

CHS Class of ’70 at 70 – 50th Reunion Auction Action

Submitted by Helen Sing ’70, group photos by Blake Katagiri

On a warm summer August night (August 20, 2022), we finally celebrated our 50th reunion, two years delayed. Classmates and teachers excited to leave their self-imposed bubbles during the last two-and-a-half years gathered at the Feast in Renton to celebrate 52 years removed from our senior year in high school.

Seated L-R: Denise Johnson Brown, Donna Jones Turner, Ramona Bogue Balint, Bob MacDonald, Barb (Smith) Frazier, Rick Asher, Tom Champoux, Jesse Boyovich, MaryAnn DiJulio Boyovich, Bob Hasegawa, Bob Colella Standing L-R: Keith Hooks, Shirley Eng Zapata, Marcia Clegg Bean, Dianna Davis, Dean Haugen, Chris David, Bill Foote, Jim Klinkam, Barb Brown, Sam Gorman, Paul Becker, Vic Berg, Nancy Grenn Nicholson, Dan Hayami, Frank Albanese, Darlene Gonzales, Craig Jensen, Janet Akada Hata, Jerry Chihara

The Photos

We lined up to check in with our Welcome Team, have our “now” photos taken for the memory book, and signed up to win a game prize created by Chris Woo. Group photos were taken of 51 alumni and four teachers, and we went to fill our plates full of food at the “all-you-can-eat” Asian buffet. The experienced buffet diner carried two plates back to their tables instead of making several trips! Eighty-one classmates, guests, and invited teachers attended our 50th + 2 Class of ‘70 reunion.

The Program

Our reunion program, emceed by Randy and Darlene Kaczor, started with identifying the 15 hardworking committee members who spent the last three years planning this reunion. Then, following a time-honored tradition of trying to remember our youth, game show hosts Bill Foote, and Bob Virkelyst asked attending 70+ year-olds to try to remember the #1 hit and artist in the months during our senior year some 52 years ago!

Sounds like our annual Medicare memory test. Bill and Bob tested the audience to see if they were still awake with acoustic feedback from the sound system. Reassured that we were not falling into a food coma and due to time constraints, Bill and Bob asked us to “Name That Tune” for 5 out of our ten school months from 1969-1970.

Invited Teachers

Next, Randy and Darlene introduced our invited teachers, Barb (Smith) Frazier, Bob MacDonald, Tom Champoux, Rick Asher, and his wife, Jocelyn. Darlene explained that the money earned in the upcoming auction of 9 items would be donated to the Associated Student Body at Cleveland to help fund programs and requests not usually covered by the School District budgets allocated to each school.

The Auction

Auctioned items included a Chick-fil-A gift card, a PICO home-brewing beer-making kit, a Longaberger Anniversary basket, sports tickets for the Mariners, OL Reign & swag, Seattle Sounders tickets, Sounders tote bag & signed soccer ball by Raul Ruidiaz and finally, a Kaanapali Alii condo in Maui for one week for four adults (in memory of committee member Susie Mizuki Lochmiller). In addition, an anonymous donor offered a never-before-worn CHS ‘70 pin for auction with a starting bid of $5. Jim Klinkam and Missy Nelson Dunlap hilariously bid against each other, raising their bids $1 at a time until Jim finally won the bid at $40.

Finally, the Maui condo (value of $5600) had a starting bid of $1500. Randy Kaczor, Bill Foote, and Paul Lesh were the bidders in the fastest auction ever, with bids rapidly increasing by $200 until Randy won the bid at $3800 after bidding against himself. Keith Hooks suggested we pass a donation plate around to get more donated money for the students of CHS. Sam Gorman and Keith passed two gift bags around, and the final count was $1100.00 from generous alums. The auction with items procured by Viv Toyohara Katagiri brought in $4,505.00 for a total of $5605.00.

After expenses, the Class of ’70 donated $5,070.00 to the ASB of Cleveland.

Souring Eagles

Our Class will also get our name and donation amount engraved on the Soaring Eagles plaque for any Class or business that can donate a minimum of $2,000 directly to the ASB of Cleveland High. This plaque hangs in the CHS administrative office.

Our Class has donated over $10,000 directly to CHS from our 40th & 50th reunions.

The After Party

After the reunion ended, seventeen classmates and guests headed for the Hyatt Regency @Southport on the southern edge of Lake Washington near Coulon Park in Renton, a site scouted by Bob Hasegawa. We pulled tables and chairs together below at the Dock and Drink bar at the Hyatt and enjoyed the balmy summer night at sunset. It was a relaxing time to chat with friends, new and old.

Seated L-R Marlene Susumi Smick, Melissa Nelson Dunlap, Cheryl Menzel Wilkinson, Bob MacDonald, Barb (Smith) Frazier, Rick Asher, Tom Champoux, Helen Sing, Martha Takizawa Tsuru, Chris Woo Schiavello, Mutsumi Takamaru Chihara Standing L-R: Robert Veleber, Paul Lesh, Charlene White Mitchell, Brad Omlid, Darlene O’Reilly Kaczor, Randy Kaczor, Janet Slade Countner, Dave Simpson, Twyla Wiechmann Lucas, John Severson, Andy Traverso, Dennis McCarthey, John Tsuru, Bob Virkelyst, George Tsukamaki, Viv Toyohara Katagiri, Rich Virkelyst, Kip Vroegindewey Offutt Not in photo: Robert Reichle and Nancy Sacco Chiodo

The Reunion Committee hopes you enjoyed our delayed reunion. Thank you for carrying on the generosity and unique spirit of Cleveland High over the many decades and for many more to come.

Committee members:

  • Chair: John (Erbstoesser) Tracy unable to attend
  • Decorations: Shirley Eng Zapata
  • Memory Book, Welcome Packet: Helen Sing
  • Welcome Team: Barb Brown, Denise Johnson Brown, Kathie Vroegindewey Offutt, Twyla Wiechmann Lucas
  • Emcee, Auctioneer:  Randy Kaczor, Darlene O’Reilly Kacor
  • Game Show Hosts:  Bill Foote, Bob Virkelyst
  • Treasurer, Donor & Gift Procurement: Viv Toyohara Katagiri
  • Prizes & Gift Game Coordinator:  Chris Woo Schiavello
  • Reunion After Party Location Scout:  Bob Hasegawa
Dan Jurdy

A Message from Dan Jurdy – New Athletics Director

It is my honor to be the new athletics director at Cleveland High School. I have worked in the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) for 33 years and helped build the Rainier Beach HS sports program as athletic director. During the pandemic, there was a teacher shortage, and I was able to substitute teach at Cleveland. I fell in love with the school, its culture, and its students during this time. When the athletics director position became available, they needed help to fill the position. Peers at SPS contacted me and asked if I would be interested in the athletic director position at CHS. I jumped at the chance and came out of full retirement to help CHS students and the CHS sports program.

I would like to take this opportunity to address my growing concerns about Cleveland’s current financial situation.

Our current athletics budget is $863. This is pathetic. Cleveland students are at a significant disadvantage in this arena because we lack uniforms and essential equipment that helps bolster a successful program. Unfortunately, the school district’s new financial budget structure provides transportation to and from games and nothing else. Schools are left to fend for themselves by way of fundraising.

Out of all the SPS schools, Cleveland is at the greatest disadvantage as other high schools have active boosters and million-dollar endowments that help fund their programs.

This year, together with the PTSA, we have formed a small group of parents and alumni to re-establish a CHS Booster Committee to fundraise. The desire is to bring Eagle pride and spirit back to our beloved school and to provide a higher quality experience for our students, athletes, and the Eagle community.

Alumni – we need your support!

Please consider giving to the CHS Booster! Donations will be dedicated to athletics and spirit initiatives to help offer a quality program with memorable student experiences. I aim to have a healthy annual operating budget dedicated to these important student activities each year so our programs can thrive and not just survive, like in past years.

You can donate to CHS sports via the CHS Alumni Association (CHSAA) or through the CHS PTSA as described below:

Donate through the CHS Alumni Association

 – Online: Make a secure one-time or recurring donation at the Sports fund. 
 – Via mail: Download/Print the Donation Form and mail it with a check. This form is also in every newsletter sent to subscribers.

Donate through the CHS PTSA
 – Online:  Using PayPal and note “CHS Booster” under “What is this payment for?”
 – Via mail and check payable to “Cleveland PTSA” (note “CHS Booster” on the check), ℅ Cleveland High School, 5511 15th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108.

l look forward to a strong partnership between CHSAA, the CHS Booster Committee, and Cleveland High School. We greatly appreciate your support.

Dan Jurdy – Go Eagles!
CHS Athletic Director

CHS Golf Team 2022-23

CHS Golf – A Season of Continued Growth… and Victory

Submitted by Bob Mathews, Head Coach

This year the Cleveland golf team tripled in size from six to eighteen golfers, ranging from novices still learning how to swing a club to a handful of experienced players that qualified for the post-season Metro tournament, giving them a chance to compete in District and hopefully State. “It was great seeing so many new golfers turn out this year,” said Mathews. “Especially after last year’s COVID-challenged season, the students seemed ready to get back in it, and I was happy to welcome them to the golf team.”

Though the scorecard didn’t show the true progress of the team this season (no team wins for the boys), we didn’t forfeit any matches for lack of players like last year. The girl’s team competed in every match short one player and still managed to win four matches. “Coach Barker and I look forward to coaching a competitive team next year,” said Mathews. “This year, we finally got ourselves off the ground floor – I know this team will come back ready for a great 2023 season with hopefully more team wins.”

Cleveland proudly qualified six Eagle golfers who competed in the Metro tournament on October 18 in West Seattle:

  • Sophomore Sam Bernier and juniors Owen Tatterson and Colin Tounalom for the boy’s team;
  • Sophomore Sophia Tounalom, junior Quincy Spivey, and senior Brittany Phan for the girl’s team.

Colin shot 82 at Metro and went on to compete at the District tournament on October 24 in the cold and rain, where he shot an 86. “Colin fell short of qualifying for State this time, but he will get there next year,” promised Matthews. The girls competed in Metro on October 25, battling heavy rain and winds, and still managed to pull out the stops. Brittany shot 92, and Sophia placed 3rd overall, shooting 78, and was named to the All-Metro 1st Team. Both she and Brittany will compete at the District tournament in May. Go Eagles!

“Very proud of these golfers and this team,” said Mathews, “It’s been great seeing each player’s hard work paying off for them; you can see the improvement in each player.”

Class of 1960 Reunion – A Perfect Time

60th Reunion and 80th Birthday Party
Cleveland High School
Class of 1960

The Class of 1960 held its 60th Reunion on September 8, 2022, at the Rainier Golf and Country Club in South Seattle. The Covid Pandemic forced the cancellation of a Reunion event originally scheduled for September 2020. The 60th Reunion theme was combined with a group 80th Birthday Party to take advantage of the delay. Along with Classmates who live in Washington State, Classmates who now live in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah made the trip to Seattle for the event. All had a very good time.

In Memoriam: Don James ’67

Donald “Don” S. James CHS Class of 1967
14 December 1948 – 5 July 2022

“When he shall die, 
take him and cut him out in little stars,
 and he will make the face of heaven so fine
 that all the world will be in love with night
 and pay no worship to the garish sun.” – William Shakespeare

Donald Sidney James passed away peacefully after several years of struggling with Parkinson’s Disease. He was a kind and patient man with a wicked wit that always made people laugh. He was an accomplished runner at long and ultra-long distances. He was happiest when running on trails with his friends in his running group.

Don excelled as a math teacher and touched hundreds of students’ lives throughout more than 30 years of teaching. He treasured his family and friends and held them close to his heart.

He is deeply missed.

The Alumni Association received a generous donation of $500 from Don’s Family in his memory.

Running Accomplishments

2:53:09 – San Francisco Marathon 1984
4:27:17 – Way Too Cool 50k 1998
10:49:17 – Miwok 100k 2000
26:51:42 – Vermont 100 1991
25:26:17 – Western States 100 2001
23:24:23 – Western States 100 2002
19:14:59 – Vermont 100 2003

CHS Monument

Recap of our 2022 Memorial Ceremony at the Forest

It was supposed to rain, but fortunate for us, the clouds lifted, the sun shone through, and it was a beautiful day at the CHS Memorial Forest. Here is a recap of the day.

Arrival and Trek to the Rock
Two busses brought CHS students and five faculty members to attend this year’s Memorial ceremony and trek to the “Rock.” Together we walked along the path where, decades ago, other CHS students walked. We stood in front of the massive natural stone monument upon which they fixed hand-crafted bronze plaques (made in the metal shop) that listed the names of their classmates killed during World War II. Although, sadly, the individuals who stole the plaques years ago got away with the theft, the Rock still bears witness to what happened. The CHS spirit of the students who established the Forest in the first place lives on.
After the trek, our Vice President, John Barton ’54, told the story of the Forest and declared, “Cleveland High School is the only school in the universe with a Memorial Forest!”
Learn more about the history of the forest:

The Meaning of the Gold Star
John also explained the meaning of the term “Gold Stars.” During World War II, as in World War I, a flag with blue stars hung in a family home window displaying how many children were in harms way serving in the war effort as members of the Armed Services. When any children died in the war, a gold star took the place of the blue star.

CHS Gold Stars

Taps and Presentation of the Flag
Four helpful CHS students held the Flag while our president, Bernie Moscovitz, played taps on his authentic Civil War Bugle in place of a Colorguard. Afterward, Bernie presented to Marni Reecer in memory of her father, Lt Col J.A. Getchell, USMC, who fought in Vietnam.

Guest Speaker – Emil Martin ’42
Emil eloquently recounted his experience during World War II to an attentive, respectful audience of young and old Eagles. We hope to document more of what he said in a future post. All recognized him and his service and respected his generosity in taking the time to give his testimony.

The Quiz
Bernie Merkowitz challenged everyone with a quiz of facts culminating in several thoughtful anecdotes delivered as informational and food for thought! More on that in a future post as well!

Coffee, Snacks, Photos, and Conversations
Duke, a student from CHS, was there to record the event, and we hope to share some of his footage soon!

Lunch at the Salish Lodge – a new tradition?
Although we had initially planned to meet for lunch at the Roadhouse Inn, they could not accommodate us, so we opted to meet at the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls. It was a perfect gathering place, with delicious food, good company, and a fantastic server who brought lots of smiles to the table.

CHS Memorial Forest Ceremony Set for May 27, 2022

Cleveland High School is the only high school in the universe that has a Memorial Forest honoring our World War II heroes. Every Friday preceding the Memorial Day weekend the CHS Alumni Association has a ceremony at the CHS Memorial Forest to honor alumni* who lost their lives while serving in the US military. Our ceremony typically includes guest speakers to tell stories about some of our alumni who have served in the armed forces of the USA. An Honor Guard fires a salute to our fallen heroes, and Bernie Moskowitz ‘57 plays Taps. CHS students participate in a flag-folding exercise before it is presented to a survivor of a fallen loved one.

Our new granite monument naming our fallen heroes was installed in 2017, thanks to a generous donation from two alumni who wish to remain anonymous. A protective coating was provided by Frank & Haru Nishimura. Frank served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, with good friend Yoshito Noritake who is listed on the monument.

Everyone is encouraged to make the trek to the Rock. The bronze plaques naming our fallen war heroes are no longer there, but it’s good to see this special place in the forest where our heroes were honored for so many years. Following the ceremony, refreshments are served to students, CHS staff, and guests. In some years, we have had four busloads of students but only one or two buses in most years. We are hopeful for a good turnout this year.

All expenses are paid by the CHS Alumni Association.

The maps below show our Memorial Forest is located between Issaquah and Fall City. After the ceremony, a number of us usually go to the Fall City Roadhouse & Inn for lunch. The Roadhouse provides a pleasant, old-fashioned setting that is perfect for renewing old acquaintances and making new friends. A wonderful way to end a memorable day.

For a day you will long remember, join us for the ceremony at the CHS Memorial Forest and lunch at the Roadhouse.

CHS Alumni Association Memorial Day Ceremony at the Forest
Friday, May 27, 2022, 11:00 AM
28322 SE Issaquah-Fall City Road, Fall City, WA

CHS Memorial Forest

Get Directions

*Our fallen heroes of WW II are documented in the book Honored Dead by our own Pat Rosenkranz ‘49.

CHS Alumni Association on the move in 2022!

The CHSAA Board had a successful “Annual” Meeting with Alumni across the U.S. utilizing the Zoom app. Check us out for our next “ALL” Alumni Meeting in February 2023. Mark your calendars!

The Board is looking to fill two or three vacancies. Also, to join the Scholarship Committee. $239,000 has been awarded in CHSAA Scholarships, to date. Alumni, if you have the time, this is a wonderful way to give back to your School and Community! Show us your Eagle Pride!

Memorial Day 2022 – Friday, May 27th . . . we are making plans to hold our annual ceremony to honor our Fallen Eagles who sacrificed their lives while serving in the US armed forces. To ALL the men and women currently serving our great nation . . . Thank you for our FREEDOM !!!

The Board is working on a schedule where alumni can come out and support our CHS boys & girls athletic team events. More information to come!

The Board is looking for any historic CHS yearbooks or artifact items that alumni would like to donate to our Grover’s Corner Room. The room will be utilized for significant items associated with CHS. GO EAGLES!!!

The CHSAA Board is excited and looking forward to a “Meet & Greet” with Franklin High School’s Alumni Board. Here’s to the Red & White . . . Building Bridges!!

This year, the Alumni Board is celebrating its 25th Anniversary tentative set for the Fall of 2022. A lot of fun activities are being planned. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted!

Our Social Medial Committee is working on our digital platform, updating, and improving our Facebook, Instagram & Snap Chat accounts for CHSAA.

The CHSAA Board meeting dates are set for Saturdays at 10:00 AM via ZOOM or In-Person, on August 6th and October 15th. We’ll keep you posted on the location on our CHSAA Website.

Looking Ahead and SAVE THE YEAR for Cleveland High School’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2027! Alumni, please send us your ideas to

A Trip to the CHS Memorial Forest: A few of the CHSAA Board Members (Bernie Moskowitz ’57; John Barton ’54; Mary Lou (Zarkades) Barton ’54; and Nicole R. Washington ’80 taking the pictures) took a field trip to the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest to prepare for Friday’s May 27th Memorial Ceremony. Alumni, please come out and honor the memory of our Fallen Eagles who served our Country. We met the new groundskeeper at the Forest, Robert Hodges, who recently found what he thought was a stump with a rock in the side. He stripped away the moss and discovered a memorial (see photo) that stated the following:

1966 -1978

Memorial dedicated to Norman L. Morrison
Memorial dedicated to Norman L. Morrison
Robert Hodges – CHSMF caretaker
Robert Hodges – CHSMF caretaker