By Christian Leonard
Some students, upon graduating, brush off the dust of high school and walk away with diplomas in hand, never to look back.
Not so San Marino High School’s class of 1958.
More than 40 members of the class, which celebrated its 60-year reunion last July, funded a new electronic marquee for their alma mater in conjunction with PTAffiliates. The groups each raised about half of the money needed for the approximately $45,000 board to replace the roughly 20-year-old marquee, which would sometimes malfunction — preventing announcements of school events from being clearly displayed.
To honor the contribution, several members of the class of ’58 — SMHS’ third graduating class — gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school on Monday, reminiscing about youthful adventures and relay race records. Some of the alumni joked that the marquee was a challenge to the classes of ’56 and ’57 to similarly give back to the school.
“We decided as a class to give something back, so we raised some money toward the marquee,” said 1958 alumnus and former student body President Jim Connelly.
The idea was conceived in April 2018. Alum Dave Bryan, along with classmate Connelly, helped spearhead the proposal to purchase the new marquee, approaching PTAffiliates about making a contribution to the school. The organization immediately suggested raising funds to purchase a new marquee, a request SMHS Principal Issaic Gates soon echoed.
“I think that undoubtedly … the strength of the high school is the community,” Gates said. “And so, the idea that folks are so willing to support, in the way of time and financial resources, is probably one of the most signature, defining characteristics of divinity. And [the marquee] represents just that.”
It was Liz Kneier of PTAffiliates, surrounded by SMHS administrators and alumni, who cut the blue ribbon at the end of the ceremony. Behind her, the marquee itself celebrated in bright digital type both the 60-year-old class and the community organization that helped bring it to campus.