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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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