Founders Days in the valley

Whether in a school cafeteria or under overcast skies, crowds turned out to celebrate the history of their town and its citizens.


Though the skies were cloudy, it was a sunny disposition displayed by the more than 70 people who gathered on Honolulu Avenue just after noon on Sunday. The occasion was the 97th birthday of Montrose, named Glendale’s Old Town just a few years ago.

Overseen by Montrose Shopping Park Association executive director Dale Dawson and former shopping park president now Glendale City Councilman John Drayman, the festivities folded into the regular weekly activities of the Sunday Harvest Market, which hosted over 10,000 people. Founders Day celebrates the settling of Montrose in 1913 when, as recounted by historian Drayman, developers Holmes and Walton auctioned off 300 acres of land at a catered barbecue at the approximate corner of what is today Verdugo Boulevard and Clifton Place near the site of the local Mobil Station.

The day was also an opportunity to showcase local businesses and individuals who made a contribution for the betterment of Montrose. Among those honored on Sunday with business achievement awards were Merle Norman Cosmetics, Victori- Ana, Mayhall’s Sewing and Vacuum Center and Total Graphics. City of Glendale Director of Public Works Stephen Zurn received a Community Service Award in recognition for the innumerable hours that his office invests in the foothills community, especially in light of the Station Fire and subsequent floods. Assistant City of Glendale Manager Bob McFall also received a Community Service Award for his work, specifically in the photographic chronicling of Rockhaven Sanitarium.

Historian and filmmaker John Newcombe received an award for his  preservation efforts including producing the well-received video “Rancho La Cañada: Then & Now” that profiles the history of the foothill community. For her work in preserving the Montrose area, Alice Peet was posthumously given the Humanitarian Award.

Present day Montrose was the vision of a group of five local businessmen who, in the 1950s, were concerned about the viability of the area. They traveled to the mid-West to learn more about an outdoor shopping park concept they had heard about. Among this group was local attorney Thomas Jeffers.

It was the faith and drive that the group shared that, according to Drayman, helped shape Montrose into the tree lined avenue today. For his part, Jeffers posthumously received the Founders Award.

The celebration ended with a resounding chorus of Happy Birthday sung by those gathered then the cutting of a nine-tier cake provide by Montrose Bakery

Schools also take note

Honolulu Avenue wasn’t the only site celebrating Founders Day. On Thursday,  Feb. 18, around 100 Clark Magnet High School parents, students and teachers gathered around tables covered with masks and confetti to celebrate the original group of mothers who led to the creation of the PTSA. This year’s Founders Day program featured a masquerade theme coupled with an awards ceremony to honor the Reflection Program winners, as well as the staff and parents who contribute to Clark’s success.

PTSA President Aida Mousessian said that the event had a good turnout considering most Clark parents don’t live locally. After the usual PTSA meeting process, Principal Doug Dall announced that Clark had, for the second time, received the Title I Academic Achievement Award, given to only 14 high schools in California this year.

The theme for this year’s PTSA Reflection Program was “Beauty Is…” and like every year submissions were accepted for five categories in art. Junior Laura Widholm, one of the photography awardees, submitted a picture of three lilies in the Descanso Gardens she titled, “Beauty is in Life.” She had taken several pictures months before the competition, and decided to look through her album for the most notable ones. “I think it was the best picture because it was simple yet easily identified by everyone as beautiful,” Widholm said.

Widholm wasn’t the only winner who found beauty in simplicity. Freshman Brent Hamada won an award for composing a piano piece called, “A Memory Inside My Mind.” He too finds beauty in the simplicity of his creation, which he attributes to the use of a single instrument. “It’s realizing the things people don’t pay attention to,” Hamada said.

After the Reflection Program award presentations, several members of the PTSA were recognized for their service to the school. U.S. history teacher Nick Doom, one of the awardees, took the spotlight opportunity to ask parents for help to cure the school-wide epidemic he’s suffering from – senioritis. However, he and all of the awardees acknowledged the joy they have in serving the Clark community.

“These awards are given to community members, teachers or parents who has gone above and beyond their responsibilities to serve children and youth,” Mousessian said.

The same night over at Crescenta Valley High School, PTSA president Pat Chambers was welcoming community members in celebration of its Founders Day.

Cathy Turansky catered the event that honored many in the community with service awards.

Wayne Park, a CVHS student and Associated Student Body president, was honored for his dedication to the school and his fellow classmates.

“I was surprised when they told me I was getting this award,” Park said. He was also given a $500 scholarship.

Also recognized were Vickie Bouldin, teacher and cheer mentor at CVHS and Sharon Hales a mom, volunteer, and a member of both the Crescenta Valley Arts Council and V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment). For his work with students School Resource Officer Deputy Scott Shinagawa was awarded and president Chambers was presented with the Golden Oak Service Award by her friend Teri Harter.

For its contribution to the community, Crescenta Valley Weekly also received an Honorary Service Award.