1975’s 40th Reunion Recap

Cake with photo of 1975 commencement

Take a look at this beautiful cake! (Click to view a larger image)

Dana Scritchfield Jennings and her committee did a wonderful job on this reunion! (Photos for this event may be found here, here, and at the 1975 Facebook page.)

Here’s a note from Dana for all members, friends and family of the Class of 1975!

I want to thank Classmates from the Class of 1975 for attending our 40th San Dieguito High School Reunion on August 1, 2015 at the beautiful Carlsbad Sheraton Resort and Spa!

We had over 100 attendees and several of those included teachers, Mr. Bob Zakoski and Ms. AnneMarie Ebeling. We were so thrilled that they were able to join in the festivities which included an outdoor bar, dinner, dancing to our great 70’s tunes, a photo booth and a silent auction with such generous donations as:

  • a surfboard custom painted by renowned artist and fellow classmate, Kevin Anderson
  • a beautiful seascape painted by classmate Nora Dewey along with matching note cards
  • fused glass pendant jewelry by classmate Jamie Richie
  • a contemporary painting by Lauren Nutter, daughter of classmate Nick Nutter
  • a five day seaside casa vacation in Mexico by classmate Kimberly Campbell
  • a getaway vacation to Lake Arrowhead, at the family cabin of classmate Buffie Ecke
  • a serving platter and cookbook donated by Carol Bryant from Pampered Chef

Shiela Wirick deserves an honorable mention for helping organize and print desciptions and sign up sheets for our silent auction, which paid for the out-of-pocket expenses such as the Memory Board displays, teacher tickets, ” Class of 1975″ cake, memorial candles and candleholders, picnic at Moonlight Beach, etc.

I had a lot of help from the SDA Alumni Association, especially, Bonnie Wren, in obtaining San Dieguito memorabilia and artifacts that were priceless!

Without the help of my committee members, Doug Heflin, Nick Nutter, Buffie Ecke, Lori Disselhorst, Debbie Montes, and Chris Marker, this event never would have happened!

Countless hours were donated by each to make the event such a success!

We used the services of Lynn Thompson and her staff at Reunion Specialists to bring our vision to a reality. Job well done! The hotel staff at the Sheraton was very accomodating as well!

The event was so well received that we don’t want to wait another ten years to see all of you, and hopefully, many more at the next reunion, that we are already planning the next one in five years from now in 2020!

Please let me know if you want to help make that one another celebration to remember!!!!!!!

Thank you,
Dana (Scritchfield) Jennings
Reunion Committee Chairman

Meet Mr. Paige

Bjorn Paige

Bjorn Paige

San Dieguito High School Academy has a new principal, Bjorn Paige, who is already tweeting about San Dieguito’s history!

Mr. Paige comes to us after spending a year as the principal of Diegueno Middle School. Prior to that he was an assistant principal at La Costa Canyon High School between 2009 and 2014, and an assistant principal at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael for two years.

He has a Masters in teaching and Bachelor’s degrees in literature and philosophy from Pacific University in Oregon. He taught high school English, art, and leadership for 13 years in Oregon (his home state) and Northern California. (You can learn more about him on his blog or his Twitter feed! See below…)

Our former principal, Tim Hornig, has moved on to the Irvine Unified School District where he took the position of Coordinator of Student Services.

screenshot of Mr. Paige's Twitter feed

The Class of 1975 donated this giant photo of their commencement, which we have on display in the Foundation office. Mr. Paige tweeted about it1

Mustang Open Reunion 2015

So much fun! If you missed this year’s Mustang Open Reunion, promise yourself that next year YOU WILL GO.

Norma Montes Clancy has a great Facebook photo album of the event, certain to spur on your determination to attend next year!

Sue Sieber Cooper, ’66, shared her photos with us, which you may view below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mustang Open Reunion 2015 Facebook page is here.

Alumni or not… who decides?

Eddie Vedder

We are proud to claim Eddie Vedder as an alumnus; he would’ve been a member of the Class of 1982 and was a a staunch supporter of the Clayton E. Liggett Theatre.

Your Intrepid Alumni Coordinator has always believed that if someone attended San Dieguito, then they are alumni. Period.

It doesn’t matter if they didn’t graduate. There happens to be a huge list of reasons why some students didn’t receive their diploma; reasons that range anywhere from “I was interned in the Poston War Relocation Center” to “I got pregnant” to “I got sent to live with my dad” to “I was way better at surfing better than math…” and so on.

Therefore, as long as you 1) once were a student, and 2) you have an emotional connection to the school, then I will add you to the mailing list if you ask me to. I may not refer to you as “a graduate of San Dieguito”, but in my mind you are an alumnus (or alumna, if you are female) and I will describe you as a member of the Class of [whatever year it was].

Before I take any flak from purists, I’d like to say in my defense that I am not alone in this inclusive policy; that most of our class representatives invite non-graduates to their class reunions.

Nevertheless, it may be prudent to check some dictionaries for the definition of the word alumnus.


The MacMillan Dictionary: someone who was a student at a particular school, college, or university.

Example: Yale alumni


  1. a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.
  2. a former associate, employee, member, or the like

Example: He invited all the alumni of the library staff to the party.


  1. a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university
  2. a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate

Example: Her parents are alumni of the state university.

The Oxford Dictionary: A graduate or former student, especially male, of a particular school, college, or university.

Example: a Harvard alumnus

Note that most sources seem open to the idea that merely attending a school qualifies former students to be alumni and frankly, that’s a relief. Do you know how difficult it is to determine if someone really received a diploma from San Dieguito?

Sure, we’ve got our commencement lists (not a complete set, by the way; you can see what years are missing elsewhere on this site) but commencement lists are never considered proof of graduation. In fact, most of them have a little disclaimer (in tiny print somewhere near the bottom) along the lines of, “The above is a membership listing of the senior class. It is not a list of graduates…” or “Inclusion in the above is not proof of graduation.”

In other words, just because a name is on the commencement list doesn’t mean that person actually graduated.

So if we can’t go by the commencement lists, how can we prove that you graduated?

Well, we can always go to the District Office, where former students may apply for their transcripts. A transcript will prove conclusively that a former student actually graduated or not.

Good to know, but should an alumni coordinator apply to the District Office for a transcript for every person who asks to be considered an alumnus? That would be expensive and time-consuming, not to mention an invasion of privacy. I hope that all of us would rather spend our spare resources on more useful things, like preserving memorabilia.

So where does that leave us when someone feels a connection to the school but did not actually receive a diploma, and other alumni say, “Wait! No way! They’re not really alumni! They didn’t graduate!”

Before you decide, I’d like to point out that there’s a bit of a double standard when it comes to “notable” alumni. Most of us are quick to hitch onto notable alumni and say, “He’s a Mustang! He’s an alumnus!” even when that person did not graduate from the school.

Case in point: Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is internationally famous. He attended San Dieguito High School and would’ve been a member of the Class of 1982–if he’d stayed through his senior year and graduated with the rest of his class. Yet Mr. Vedder not only holds a strong emotional connection to our school, he also is a major supporter.

Sheila Durkin and Eddie Vedder

Sheila Durkin, SDAF Executive Director, and Eddie Vedder after the July 2006 Performing Arts Center benefit concert

Drama teacher Clayton E. Liggett was such a beneficial influence in Eddie’s life that when Mr. Liggett passed away in 1995 Eddie composed the poignant ballad “The Long Road” as a tribute. And when several alumni asked that the new theatre in the Performing Arts Center be named after Clayton E. Liggett, Mr. Vedder stepped right up and held a benefit concert on behalf of the school. He raised $10,000 for the theatre’s construction.

Yes, most are proud to claim Eddie Vedder as an alumnus and rightly so. I think that most of us also would agree that if we can claim notables that haven’t graduated as alumni, then we should be able to claim the “non-notable” non-graduates as alumni, too. It’s only fair.

Currently the San Dieguito Alumni Committee is working on a Mustang Hall of Fame. The committee would like to include the names of our many notable alumni — including those who did not graduate from the school — and I anticipate that there will be some sticklers who’ll protest the inclusion of former students who did not receive diplomas. I can hear the complaints already: “What, if they drove past the school a couple of times, you’re gonna call them alumni, too?”

Goodness, I doubt it. But what do you think? When it comes to deciding if someone is an alumnus or not, should we take a hard line or an inclusive one?

Send your comments to sda.alumni@gmail.com and we’ll print what we receive if we can include your name and class year (whether or not you graduated).

Comments Received

For me, my experience at San Dieguito could never be summed up by that compulsory graduation ceremony at the end of the four-year stay. Plenty of people didn’t walk with my class in 2005, but they are still class of 2005 to me.”

-Justin OConnell, 2005

I am the 4th child in my family to graduate from San Dieguito Academy. I believe my oldest brother, Gil Franco, graduated in 1979 and my second older brother, Glen Franco, graduated in 1982. Both attended SDA when it was still a high school and both were a part of the football team. My older brother, Aaron Franco, graduated the year of 2007.
Each one of us has a special memory and are proud to have been a part of SDA. In my opinion, it is important to be recognized as an alumni, regardless of wether you graduated or not because an emotional connection was established during the time that you did attend. There are events in a high schoolers life that will remain embedded forever and to be recognized as a part of SDA makes the memories that more special.”

-Genesis Franco, 2010

I can’t believe this is even controversial. Of course yes. Include them all.”

-Rick Hall, 1981

Eddie was there at San Dieguito long enough for me to photograph him for our senior yearbook after being voted “Most Talented” in 1982…. so I’d definitely say he’s an alumnus whether he graduated or not.”
Eddie Vedder and Jamie Burris
-Stephanie Fairbanks, 1982

Download the Spring 2015 Newsletter

thumbnail of the newsletter

Click on the above image to download this newsletter in PDF format.

In this issue:

  • Alumni Chair Boydd Galland
  • Mustang Legacy Project Update: John Fairchild
  • Lucien Bonnafoux, Jerry Kranz, Message from your Alumni Chair
  • “Mr. Bobele and Music Appreciation,” an exclusive excerpt from the book Remembering Eden, by Daniel Rubalcaba (’55)
  • Alumni Calendar

Please note: this PDF document is almost 2 MB. If you have a dial-up connection it may take some time to receive the entire file.


Register with the Alumni Association using the form below. Your contact information will be used only by the Foundation and your class representatives to plan reunions, mail newsletters, etc. It will never be traded nor will it be sold to other parties.