Letters to the Editor

Posted by on Oct 11th, 2010 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Dear CVHS educators and administrators – past and present:
I wish to congratulate the Crescenta Valley High School on its 50th anniversary. I also thank the Glendale Unified School District administrators, teachers and support staff for a job well done.
As a graduate whose children also graduated from the school, I now realize and appreciate the quality education presented then and throughout the years. We have received top-notch education which has been the conduit to land our dream careers.
As the current Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crescenta Valley
Station captain, I continue to have much contact with the Crescenta Valley High School. I’m committed to ensuring the safety of the students and staff, so our excellent education remains at the forefront of the community.
Dave Silversparre
La Crescenta
Class of 1976 – Go Falcons!!!
Dave Silversparre is with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as captain of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station

I graduated from CV High School in 1977 with little fanfare. In fact, due to an extreme lack of effort on my part, I had to take Mr. Keyes’ government class twice! Something about being right after lunch made that class more difficult for me the first time. Who would think years later I would get elected and serve on the CV Town Council? At least I still remember how many legislators are in the House and Senate! Mr. Keyes probably doesn’t remember that class, or me in particular as a student, but I think we were all lucky to have someone who enjoyed teaching that subject as much as he did.
But when thinking back on teachers, by far one sticks out for me. Mr. Roger Smith put up with me day in and day out. Early on, I was trying to learn how to wire a light switch without constantly blowing stuff up. The class was Electricity 101, and wiring a three-way switch was the hurdle we all had to learn to overcome.
I progressed from there into electronics and took every single course that Mr. Smith taught. In my senior year I was his teacher assistant in at least one class, maybe two. After all, that was 33 years ago, so details get a bit fuzzy. A couple years ago I saw that Clark Magnet School honored Mr. Smith for his many years of heroism … I mean teaching. I couldn’t think of anyone who deserved it more.
The greatest part of this community is that I still run into people, and teachers, that I have known for years. Just last month I ran into Roger at Vons. To this day, I still work in the electrical field, and the crew that I hung out with in Roger’s class also continued on. One is an electronics engineer for JPL, the other runs the MIS/Data department for a local hospital. We were always pushing the envelope of what we could build with an SCR, and we all seem to have turned out OK, thanks to our education from Roger Smith and CV High School. I’m proud to be a graduate of CVHS, and those who graduate this year should feel the same way. This is a proud school with a long tradition of graduating excellent community members. My advice for them is to take that tradition and build on it. And also, stay out of trouble, since you never know when you might run into your old teachers.
Congratulations to Crescenta Valley High School on 50 years of educating our youth.
Steve Goldsworthy
La Crescenta
Steve Goldsworthy is currently an elected member of the CV Town Council

I attended Crescenta Valley High School starting in 1963 and was a graduate of the Class of ‘65. I remember Dave Thomas and Shirley Nute, but one of my greatest memories was of Richard Jensen, CVHS band and orchestra teacher. I played the clarinet and was fortunate enough to be selected to march with the Combined Glendale High Schools Marching Band in the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 1965. This band was made up of Crescenta Valley, Hoover and Glendale high schools, and what an honor it was to march down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena in the 1965 Rose Parade representing my high school.
I congratulate Crescenta Valley High School on its 50 years of excellence in teaching our kids and being a great part of our community. I plan on attending the Oct. 7 50th anniversary bash and seeing how much has really changed and how much has stayed the same at CVHS.
Bob Thompson

It has been more than 30 years since I graduated from Crescenta Valley but the memories are just as vivid today as when I attended school there. Perhaps that is due to the many friends I had in high school that are still close today. Perhaps it is because my children also attended Crescenta Valley and memories are refreshed with each visit to the campus or attendance at a CV event. More likely, it is the experience at CV that began to form the man I was to become. Academically, I was prepared to move on to higher education and learned with fascination the power of knowledge. Athletics taught me the importance of discipline, humility and teamwork. The social aspects of CV qualified me to be a responsible member of society. Of course, my friends and I bore our spouses”with the repeated tales of “the good ‘ol days” and how many times can you relive that one play on the football field? The fact remains that the years spent in high school are such a significant time in a person’s life; they enter as a child and emerge as an adult. Those experiences can’t help but form who we are today. Sometimes, it is good to go back to that time when the world was fresh and exciting with your whole life ahead of you. It brings a smile to my face when I think of that time and what an important role Crescenta Valley High School  played in my life – yesterday and today.
Happy 50th Anniversary CV!
Philip Lanzafame
CVHS Class of 1978
Philip Lanzafame is the director of Development Services for the City of Glendale

I am assuming it was late 1966 or early 1967. If it was then and not the previous school year, I was student body VP at the time.
A few of us were detailed to help the band get in and get set up. This was just at the moment when the band started to take off. “Light my Fire” had just started playing on all the local rock stations. But there was probably no money from that coming in yet, and they were still a Hollywood club band, playing all the local gigs.
I don’t remember much about the preparations, except that when they were over and the band was on stage, I stationed myself in front of one of the big amp-headed speakers, stage left. Total bliss. Morrison was stalking across the stage singing. The mix was great…
Then, I’m not sure what actually happened, but I understood then that someone backstage decided to add a little more power to Morrison’s vocal, and some piece of the band’s equipment blew.
His vocal went down to almost nothing. They plugged his mic into the auditorium’s sound system so the concert could proceed, but the mix was terrible, and his voice could barely be heard.
I wasn’t there when the band broke down their equipment and left. I didn’t see or hear of Jim Morrison writing his name on the wall of the school, but maybe someone else that was with them then can corroborate.
Damn, damn. In retrospect, this was probably the biggest and best band CV ever hosted. That school year we had another local band: “The Association” a couple times, which became big, but was a really wimpy band in comparison. We also had Hoyt Axton, who became pretty big (and wrote the song for Three Dog Night that started “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…”).
Doug Ward
Class of 1967

1967 …… THE DOORS
We knew about them … we heard their songs on the radio, but who were these long haired, leather-wearing guys? We couldn’t wait to hear them in person, so into the auditorium we all crowded with our Pendletons and our sun-bleached surfer bangs. Were we ready for psychedelia? I thought I was, but when the sound equipment conked out and Jim was having a temper melt down, I wasn’t so sure.
I think I vaguely remember hearing “Light My Fire” …. maybe Crystal Ship … then Jim stomped off the stage mumbling profanities. Where did he go? Was he coming back? Rumors spread about him getting himself locked in the equipment room (is that where the elusive “autograph on the wall” is lurking?).  I think the concert lasted about a half hour; [I] can’t quite remember.
I do remember the school officials rejecting our prom theme that year –l “Crystal Ship” – I never knew why until someone clued me in as to what it was really referring to … duh!!
Sue Laney
Class of ‘68

I was a CV Falcon (class of 1973). My two older brothers were Falcons (’66 &’69). My sister was a Falcon (’79). Continuing the tradition, three of my own four kids were also Falcons (2000, 2008 & 2010). Needless to say, Falcon pride flies high in our family. Although the much smaller, tile-roofed Crescenta Valley High School I remember from when I was a punk kid and my big brothers were attending was a far cry from the massive campus that now occupies the intersection of Ramsdell and Community avenues.
My earliest memory of CVHS involves my oldest brother coming home from a concert in the school’s auditorium and going on and on about some “far out band.” They had a strange name, “The Doors.” My brother bragged that while “taking a leak” in the bathroom, he stood next to the band’s lead singer, a then unknown Jim Morrison. As my brother and The Doors’ front man were standing and staring at the wall in front them, the long-haired, leather-pant-wearing Morrison leaned over to my brother and said, “Man, you wanna share a joint?”
I assumed that my brother didn’t take him up on the offer simply because he told so many people about it. Well, that and the fact that my parents would have had lashed him to the TV antennae on our roof for a week or three. But I could never listen to a Doors’ song after that without imagining that happening in the CV boys’ room.
My other brother’s saving grace at CVHS were his shop classes – specifically mechanical drafting and auto shop – two courses that haven’t been offered in many years, unfortunately. And yet, back then the all-consuming push wasn’t to cram more high school graduates’ butts into college seats. At one time, I guess, it was acknowledged by educators that not every high school graduate needed to go to college.
Back then, school administrators knew that some kids just needed to learn a trade – hence the classes in wood or metal shop, printing, automotive, mechanical drafting and other common sense, practical hands-on courses. Had it not been for these classes, at least one of the Chase boys would not have made it through CVHS. That would have been a tragedy. I wonder how many kids today drop through the wide crack left by abandoning these sorts of classes?
My own memories of my three years at CVHS (it was only tenth through twelfth grade then) involve many marching band rehearsals with Mr. Gary Lavoie (I played the snare drum) marching alongside Jay Lindsey and Johnny Barner – both extraordinary drummers in their own right. I was also one of the school’s very first male Varsity Yell Leaders and a part of the spirit squad that created the CV “Rowdies” – the loudest group ever to rumble the stands at our football and basketball games.
We had a kick butt football team back then under Coach Gordy Warnock (RIP, Coach!) and our basketball team (go Brad Holland!!) wasn’t too shabby either. Oh, and who could forget the infamous Donkey Basketball nights in the gym – or the poor guy on the team who had shovel duty for those games?
Miss Shirley Nute did her share of butt-kicking in the choir room back then, too. The school has never had a choral director since who commanded such respect and loyalty (and got such performances) from her students. Probably never will. On the other hand, there was one drama teacher I remember, whom everyone simply called “Billy T” who was … well, shall we say, much more of a character than any of the ones he directed on stage. I’ll never forget him (no matter how hard I try).
I could go on, but have taken enough space already. So, happy anniversary, Crescenta Valley High!! It seems like only yesterday I stood and sang, “… through the halls of memory, here our hearts will ever be.”
Jim Chase
La Crescenta

Categories: Viewpoints

3 Responses for “Letters to the Editor”

  1. Mary LeBlanc says:

    Yes, the students and staff at Crescenta Valley High School did a great job at the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school. We enjoyed the choir and the jazz band (I wanted to dance.) The drama dept. had a fun demonstration, and the art dept. had an AV show. I especially enjoyed going to the pep rally/bonfire on Thursday night, and the school tour and lunch on Friday. Thanks so very much, Dennis and Mary (MacArthur) LeBlanc, both from the first class. (1963)

    • I believe that we can ALL agree that the Class of 1967 was the best class in this first 50-year school history. We were the first class to start at the new Clark and Rosemont junior high schools for three years, and then another three years at the new CVHS – or the old Clark, depending how you look at it.
      We had the coolest guys and the hottest chicks – two words: Kathy Sackman. We had at least two of our class officers score perfect 1600′s on the SAT, and we had a great basketball team. I’m not saying that any of them were cool, but I need some hard facts to back-up my best-class claim.
      Yes, we had the Doors perform at a mandatory assembly our senior year. Jim Morrison left his signature on the walI. I don’t remember the Class of 1965 getting the Rolling Stones, or, where were the Beatles for the Class of 1963? But I don’t want to put down any class for being lazy, or unhip – that’s not cool.
      I would say that the best year for music in the history of the world was also 1967.
      The Doors were my favorite band. I saw them dozens of times at the Hulabaloo and Whiskey a -Go-Go. Some weekend nights I saw them at both places until 6:00 a.m. Yes, I had a fake I.D. Actually it was a very good CDL that some guy lost who looked like me – very hip and cool. I still had it when I got married and lived in Hawaii. I should have gotten married under that name. I would be collecting social security by now. One night after seeing the Doors, I went home and fixed some breakfast. My mom said that I was up early. I informed her that I hadn’t even gone to bed yet. That was Randy Newman cool.
      One Christmas morning I went surfing in Malibu until noon, and then I went skiing at Mt. Waterman in the afternoon.
      One day Robert Redford, or “Bob” as I call him, saw my license plate frame from Foothill Volkswagen. I was teaching skiing at Sundance at the time. He asked if I was from La Canada. I said, “No Bob, I am from La Crescenta, the coolest city in the USA. We might be the ghetto of La Canada, but we don’t need money to be cool and have fun in La Crescenta.”
      Anyway, I saw Miss Burke the other night at the Tam O’ Shanter in Glendale listening to a hip Irish band that I like. She still looked pretty good for 85, or whatever. I am still more than a little annoyed at her for kicking me off the yearbook staff as the school photographer back in 1967. She claimed to not remember me. Well, it was 45 years ago, but really, how do you forget the coolest guy from the best class ever? And, I still look exactly the same!
      Chuck White, Class of 1967
      P.S. Doug Ward, you are also very cool – hanging out with Jim Morrison in the band room. I’ll bet that you have told that story a thousand times!

      • Michael Love says:

        Charles sorry to burst your bubble but the coolest class was ’68. Remember we won Class Competition day three years straight, Beating you guys twice!
        I have often told many people, any that don’t get tired of my stories that I attended the best school in the U.S..and when I tell them of Class Competition Day, THE DAY, Association and Doors concerts they most always agree.
        I look back over my life I admit with Great Pride that I certainly was blessed
        To grow up in La Crescenta and Graduate from CV.

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