Congratulations to the Inaugural Class of Inductees to the

Oakland Technical High School Hall of Honor

Hall of Honor Class of 2015

Press Release

High school counselor and History teacher, he became coach and then the head of the Physical Education department. Won 22 championships in men’s basketball and baseball.

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Al Kyte, Teacher & Coach 1926-1966

Al Kyte, Teacher & Coach, 1926-1966

The Coach of Champions

During Al Kyte’s forty years (1926-1966) coaching and teaching at Tech, he won more Oakland Athletic League (OAL) titles than any other coach: 22 in basketball and 10 in baseball. Kyte coached 13 major league ballplayers, and football stars John Brodie and Jim Pollard. Kyte was a good athlete himself. He started his high school career at Tech but was kicked out because, he claims, he “didn’t too well” in his studies. He turned down an offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates because his mother wanted him to be a teacher. The Tech football field is now named the “Al Kyte Field” and in 1985, Kyte was inducted into the East Bay High School Hall of Fame, and into the inaugural class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor at the Centennial Gala in 2015.

Grammy winning R&B trio with 13 Top 20 hits in the 1970’s-1980’s, they have continued to achieve international success in their 5th decade.

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Pointer Sisters ’63, ’65, ’68

The Pointer Sisters
Ruth Pointer Class of 1963
Ruth Pointer
Class of 1963

Three of the four Pointer siblings, who found fame singing as The Pointer Sisters, graduated from Oakland Tech during the ‘60s, starting with eldest sister Ruth in 1963, Anita in 1965, and Pat (“Bonnie”) in 1968. The baby of the family, June, attended Castlemont High School.

Raised as choir members in their minister father’s church in West Oakland, Bonnie and June Pointer started a sister duo act in 1969.

Anita Pointer Class of 1965
Anita Pointer
Class of 1965

Their sister Anita joined them by the end of that year, and Ruth made it a quartet when she joined in 1972. Their recording success and fame grew throughout the ‘70s, reaching the Top 10 with a cover of “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. Bonnie Pointer left the group to pursue a solo career, so it was as a trio that The Pointer Sisters achieved hit status in the ‘80s with releases like “Slow Hand” and “I’m So Excited.”

Along with a Grammy won in 1975 for “Fairytale,” they received two Grammys in 1983 for “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic.” They’ve also won three American Music Awards, have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005. June Pointer passed away in 2006. The remaining siblings continue to perform, often with daughters and nieces filling in.

Paricia ("Bonnie") Pointer Class of 1968
Paricia (“Bonnie”) Pointer
Class of 1968
The 1965 Oakland Tech Drama program peforms "The Skin of Our Teeth", starring Ted Lange and Anita Pointer.
The 1965 Oakland Tech Drama program peforms “The Skin of Our Teeth”, starring Ted Lange (2nd from right) and Anita Pointer (far right).

Groundbreaking school principal, navigating the 20 year process of making Oakland Central High School transform into Polytechnic High and ultimately to Oakland Tech.

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Philip M. Fisher – Principal 1896-1922

P.M. Fisher, Principal 1896 – 1922

Groundbreaking school principal, navigating the 20 year process of making Oakland Central High School transform into Polytechnic High, and ultimately opening Oakland Technical in 1915 at its current location.  Fisher served the school for 28 years, was ahead of his time in espousing the value and dignity of both vocational and academic education, and in forging strong school-community bonds.

We are always in these days endeavoring to separate intellect and manual labor; we want one man to be thinking and another to always be working, and we call one a gentleman and the other an operator; whereas the workman ought to be thinking and the thinker to be working, and both should be called a gentleman in the best sense.

Professional dancer and choreographer, best known as the force behind the Oakland Christmas Pageant, she directed and choreographed the pageant from 1919 until the last production in 1987.

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Louise Jorgensen ’16

Louise Jorgensen

Louise Jorgensen moved from San Francisco to Oakland with her parents in 1906 after the earthquake. She attended Tech from 1913-1916, making her part of the cohort who moved form the old school on 12th and Market to the new building on 45th and Broadway. Very involved in high school life, Louise was Commissioner of Girls Activities in 1915 and active in dance productions and student government.

After graduation in 1916, Jorgensen set out on the path that was to define her life, studying dance in New York and back in the Bay Area with such notables as Ernest Belcher, Anita Stewart, and Mme. Mahr Mieczkowski (ballet), Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn (modern), Irene Weed (ballroom), and Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw (square dance).

A professional dancer and choreographer, Jorgensen is perhaps best known as the force behind the Oakland Christmas Pageant, performed annually at the Oakland Civic Auditorium (now the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) to crowds of up to 8,000 from 1919 to 1987. Beginning in 1925, Louise directed and choreographed the pageant and from 1919 until the last production in 1987, she herself danced in the pageant’s finale as “The Spirit of Christmas.” Technically an employee of Oakland Parks and Recreation, her devotion to the pageant was a labor of love and her life’s work.

She made the rounds of every public school in Oakland the fall of each year recruiting children to perform, annually turning more than 1,500 kindergartners to teenagers into fairies, elves, reindeer, holly berries, polar bears and toys. Jorgensen called the pageant “a gift to the city of Oakland from its children” ( Her history with the pageant is memorialized in a book Oakland’s Christmas Pageant 1919-1987.

Louise Jorgensen died in 1995. One of her former dancers and closest friends let us borrow Louise’s scrapbook for material for this book. Thank you, Aileen Moffitt, Class of 1968!

Louise Jorgensen surrounded by the some of the 300 fairies of the 1954 Christmas Pageant including two future “Technites”– Aileen Moffitt ’68 (front row, 2nd from left) and her sister Peg ’65 (back row, 7th from left)

President of Bechtel Corporation for nearly 30 years, managed construction of Hoover Dam.

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Stephen Bechtel, Sr. ’18

Stephen Bechtel

Stephen Bechtel Sr. was the second son of Warren A. Bechtel, the founder of the Bechtel Corporation, and the president of the company from 1933 through 1960. After graduating from Tech, he served as motorcycle dispatch rider with the 20th Engineers during World War I. Upon returning to the States he studied engineering at UC Berkeley, but dropped out during his junior year to join the family construction business. At age 33 Bechtel became company president when his father died suddenly, and at a critical time for the company: concrete was being poured for the Hoover Dam, Bechtel’s largest project up till that point and the largest public works project in U.S. history.

Cartoon from The Scribe, 1917

Stephen saw the company through the successful completion of the Hoover Dam, and over the next thirty years, he expanded Bechtel into a huge and successful engineering company with operations all over the world. His motto was His motto, was “We’ll build anything for anybody, no matter what the location, type or size.”

Stephen handed the presidency of the company over to his son, Stephen Jr. in 1960, but stayed on as the chairman until 1969. Time Magazine named Stephen Bechtel one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Rear Admiral, served as Deputy Chief of Naval Research, awarded the Legion of Merit for his work in Naval Research.

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Leonidas Dixon Coates Jr. ’26

Leonidas Dixon Coates Jr., Class of 1926

After graduating, Coates was admitted to the Naval Academy where he was commissioned in 1930. This comment appears under his photo in the Academy’s 1930 yearbook: “If all the girls had cheeks like Willie’s, the manufacturers of cosmetics would all go bankrupt.” He then earned a Master of Science in Engineering Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 1939. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1942, to Captain in 1948, and to Rear Admiral in 1956 when he became the Deputy Chief of Naval Research. He served as the Chief of Naval Research from 1961 to 1964, the year he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work in Naval Research. He died in 1989.

Rear Admiral Coates returns to Tech, 1962

Thirty-five years after he was graduated from Tech, Rear Admiral Leonidas D. Coates, Jr., USN, returned for a press conference in his honor. The Admiral grinned as he told student reporters, “The last time I walked through this door, it wasn’t reported in Scribe News!” (Talisman, 1962)

Award winning actor, singer, and musician who was married to performer Cyd Charisse for 60 years.

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Tony Martin ’30

Tony Martin (born Alvin Morris) was an actor and pop singer who was married to dancer/actress Cyd Charisse for sixty years. His first band, “The Red Peppers,” was formed while he was at Tech.

After graduating in 1930, he studied at St. Mary’s College and then went on to Hollywood. Martin is best remembered for hit films including Follow the Fleet (1936), The Holy Terror (1937), and Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.)

Among his hit songs are “Kiss Of Fire,” “I Get Ideas,” “Some Day,” “Fools Rush In,” and “There’s No Tomorrow.” He has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for recording, motion pictures, radio, and television. He turned his skills to the new medium of television and from 1954-56 was a host of a weekly variety series on NBC. In the years that followed, he was a guest on talk shows hosted by everyone from Johnny Carson to Dinah Shore to Merv Griffin.

He died in 2012, at the age of 98, four years after Charisse passed away.

1st African American PhD in Chemistry, UC Berkeley; authored seven textbooks, 50 research papers, co-founder of National Org. for Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chem. Engineers.

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Lloyd Ferguson ’34

Lloyd Ferguson, Class of 1934

Lloyd Ferguson graduated from Tech at the age of 16 and became a world-renowned chemistry professor and textbook author who helped eliminate racial barriers for African Americans in the field of chemistry. By the time Ferguson reached high school, he had already developed household products including a moth repellent, a spot remover, and a lemonade powder. His chemistry teacher at Oakland Tech, Mr. E. W. Long, encouraged him to go to college. With limited family income (his mother worked as a maid), Lloyd worked for several years as a porter on the railroad to earn money for college. He graduated with honors in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1940 and three years later, became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley.

When Ferguson graduated in 1943, none of the major chemical companies would interview African Americans or consider them for employment. He turned to teaching, first as an assistant professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a historically black college, and then at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he became a full professor in 1955 and head of the chemistry department in 1958.

Ferguson then taught at Cal State L.A. from 1965 to 1986 and established its Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program, serving as director through 1984. A lecture series, scholarship, and courtyard at Cal Stale L.A. are named after him and he earned many national awards and honors. Ferguson was the author of more than 50 scientific journal publications and six books, including three widely used organic chemistry textbooks. Ferguson died in 2011.

One of first Tuskegee Airmen selected from the Bay Area, he flew countless missions under incredible pressure. A pilot from 1942-1944, he died in a plane crash in Italy at age 24.

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Roger Romine ’38

Roger Romine ’38, as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilot squadron in World War II.

Roger Romine, whose father worked in dining cars on the Southern Pacific Railroad, was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black fighter pilot squadron which became one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Its record paved the way for full integration of the US military in 1948.

Romine served as First Lieutenant from 1942-1944 when he perished in Italy. He flew a M1005, aka a “Red Tail,” a single-engine fighter, in the 302nd fighter squadron of the 332nd fighter group. As a fighter pilot, Roy Romine shot at enemy planes threatening the heavy bomber planes he was protecting and destroyed at least 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. At Tech, Roger had been a track star, setting a new record for the high jump. He enlisted in the Air Force and was one of the first black officers commissioned from the Bay Area.

Romine flew countless missions under incredible pressure. On the day he downed his second and third planes, he wrote a letter home that was quoted in the Oakland Tribune on December 5, 1944. He wrote, “We are all afraid, but chance decides in most cases. Flame and fear and chance, then, can make a man a hero or a fool.” After President George W. Bush presented the surviving Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and after George Lucas made the film “Red Tails” about the Airmen in 2012, their legacy has been strengthened.

Roger Romine was 24 years old when he perished.

Educator and site administrator for 40 years in Oakland and Orinda districts. Also performed as musician in Las Vegas and Hollywood.

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Marv Tripp ’43

Marv Tripp, Class of 1943
Marv Tripp, Class of 1943

I started at Tech in 1939 after moving to Oakland with my folks from Los Angeles. We lived over on Lawton Avenue so I could walk to Tech. The school was so full that they started classes at 7 am so they could accommodate all the kids. I was the number one pole vaulter at Tech, but that’s because I was the only one! Others tried it, but didn’t stick with it or got hurt. It was a lot of fun. Nowadays, they come down on foam pads, but we used to come down in sawdust and wood chips which could be quite hard if you didn’t fluff it up between jumps. I was also the Junior Class President and I remember we had a lot of school spirit; people were proud to be at Tech. One of my memories is of a dance in the girls’ gym; the other thing I remember is that those of us who got varsity letters had to patrol the neighborhood one block around the school to make sure kids weren’t smoking!

The war was a big concern for all of us – we knew once we graduated, we would be drafted into the war so a lot of us studied hard because we wanted to get into officer’s training in college. During high school, I worked as a caddy at the Claremont Country Club, a dishwasher at a restaurant on College Avenue and at a rug company on Shattuck. All the men were drafted into the war, so youth were in high demand! After graduating, I tested into the Maritime Academy in Vallejo. The war ended before I finished my training so I never saw any action.

My kids also went to Tech even though it was a time of “white flight” when many white families were moving out of Oakland and people told us not to send our kids here. But we felt like it was the right thing to do and that we wouldn’t listen to other people’s prejudice. I kept in touch with friends from Tech but those bonds are hard to keep when you’re raising a family.

I went to College of the Pacfic (now University of Pacific) in Stockton. I majored in music and really tried to make it as a musician. I went to Hollywood, did some TV work there and with some bands in Las Vegas, but came back here and became a teacher and then a principal in Oakland (at Sherman, Markham and John Swett). On the weekends, I played bass and sang with dance bands, played at the Lake Merritt Hotel, did weddings and country clubs, even the California Country Club in San Francisco for 39 years!

My advice to students at Tech today is from a quote I saw: There is an aspect to wisdom that is learning what to ignore. We take some things so seriously and a lot of things just aren’t that important. People have issues with things they should just ignore.

I am proud to say I went to Oakland Tech, maybe even more so now. There is such a renaissance at the school that I can relate to. I have seen that school go through troubling times but there is such enthusiasm these days there. Everyone is putting such great energy into the Tech Centennial, they are such share people and their hearts are really in the right place.

Founder of four Dance associations, including the first recreational modern dance department in the United States.

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Ruth Beckford ’43

Ruth Beckford, Class of 1943

When I was at Tech, we were a small minority of African Americans. There were a lot of very wealthy white students. Some even came to school in chauffeured limousines. I was the first black valedictorian. I spoke on the arts. I was already a professional dancer when I graduated. I had toured in Canada with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company for three weeks and got back in time for graduation. After Tech, I went to UC Berkeley.

I did not dance at Tech. The gym teacher, Ms. Ewing, was supposed to teach us dance. She wore bloomers and she couldn’t dance a lick! It was a waste of my time. I had been dancing since I was 3 and joined the Katherine Dunham Company at age 17, but I did other things too. My parents told me that dancing is just a part of my life, not my life. I knew I was good, but I didn’t think I was anything special. I did other things like play tennis and go to parties.

When I was at Longfellow Grammar School, I was already dancing in talent shows at movie theaters. I did contortions and I always won. I took tap, hula, Spanish, everything. When Louise Jorgensen, who did the Oakland Christmas Pageant, would come to Longfellow to select for the pageant every year, she would skip over all the black children. I never danced in a Christmas pageant. All our friends were in it. Our mothers went to the Board of Education as a group to protest that their children were being overlooked because they were black. Ms. Jorgensen said, “All right, but I will keep the fairies white.” She took two African American kids from our class who were biracial and didn’t even look black. From 1947 to 1967 I was in charge of the whole dance program at Parks and Rec in Oakland and of course I saw her because we employed her! I used to think how she had broken my heart. By the time I retired, there were black children, but I never once went to the pageant.

Tech was excellent in education. Most of the schools were. Children were very polite. We didn’t talk back. We were taught that in our homes, so the teachers could spend more time on teaching than on disciplining. It was not like today when teachers take their life in their hands. We were taught manners. The foundation that I got at Tech in education was so valuable. Tech taught you a wealth of things. They had sewing, cooking, shop, things you need. Kids today are made to feel insecure because they don’t all have computer skills. You need people to build offices for those who are sitting at their computers, don’t you? Tech was a great foundation.

We walked to school. I lived on 38th (now McArthur between Market and West. By the time we got to 42nd, there was a whole group of us walking. It was a lot of fun. Our neighborhood (which was called North Oakland then. Now it is called West Oakland) was very integrated. There were a lot of Japanese and we were all friends. The war started on my 16th birthday, Dec. 7, 1941. That was a Sunday. When we went to school the next day, everyone was crying and carrying on. People had scrolled on the sidewalk “Go home Japs!” We cried. They were our friends. After a half-day, they sent everyone home. We lost all our Japanese friends. From one day to the next they were gone and they never came back after the evacuation. We were very depressed. It was almost like science fiction. They were just gone. We had block wardens. We were one of the block wardens and people would ask us where they were. None of us knew where they had gone.

Tech was the most beautiful high school. Just look at that front! When they had graduations there, it was gorgeous. My sister was 7 years older and my twin brothers 5 years older and their graduations were out front. Our graduation was inside because of the black outs every night. If you even smoked a cigarette, people would yell at you to put it out. We’d hear the warning lights, and go inside and put up our curtains. The streets were silent and completely black. The Army and the Navy were all here and we didn’t know whether we’d be bombed. We were encouraged to volunteer at the USO. You had to be 18.

We went to the DeFremery mansion. Ms. DeFremery had been my Latin teacher at Tech. They still lived there then and during the war, they added a big ballroom for the USO events. My family had been here for many years and my father remembered fox in DeFremery Park when he was growing up. Later, when I was head of first of first recreational dance program in the US, I would have classes in that former USO ballroom at the DeFremery Mansion. I had actually applied at Parks and Rec to teach tennis, but they needed someone to teach movement and that’s how the dance program started. The classes were free. People would come from other cities to see dour program.

At Cal, there was no dance major so I had to take PE as a major. I took the dance classes they offered, but because I was already a professional, the teacher invited me to go with her to the Anna Halprin Dance Studio and later I became their first black company member. I did research in Haiti on Haitian dance and later, I opened the first Afro-Haitian dance company on the West Coast. Our first concert was in 1953 at Cal and when I retired from performing in 1961, my last concert was there too. I closed my dance studio in 1975 and went into acting and writing.

It’s great it is turning 100. It is still a great school. I have traveled the world and there is no place like Oakland. I will turn up my toes right here.

Perhaps the most internationally recognized of all Oakland Tech alumni, this Bulldog has achieved global fame as an actor, Academy Award winning director and producer, musician and former Mayor of Carmel.

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Clint Eastwood ’49

Clint Eastwood, Class of 1949

The information below on Eastwood’s life before 1951 is from American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood by Marc Eliot (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009)

Clint Eastwood’s parents, Clinton and Francesca Ruth, met as students at Piedmont High School and after graduation in 1927, got married at Piedmont’s interdenominational. Clinton Jr. was born on May 31, 1930 at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco. Desperate for work in the Depression, Clinton Sr. moved his family to Sacramento and to LA in 1934 after the birth of a second child named Jeanne. By the time Clint was 9, they were back in Piedmont where he attended Piedmont Junior High School. At Piedmont High, Clint played basketball and played the lead in a one-act play his English class put on for the entire school. Clint is quoted in the book as saying, “We muffed a lot of lines. I swore that that was the end of my acting career.” Because Clint was working a number of physically exhausting jobs after school to pay for maintenance and gas on the “beat-up cars” he loved (one of which he called “the bathtub” because it had no top!), he fell behind in his work at Piedmont High School and his parents transferred him to Oakland Technical for his senior year so that he could take vocational courses and, they believed, have a better chance of graduating.

1966: American actor Clint Eastwood squints while smoking a cigarette between his teeth in a still from director Sergio Leone's film 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.' Eastwood wears a wide-brimmed leather hat. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Clint Eastwood from director Sergio Leone’s 1966 film ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.’

According to Eliot’s book, at Tech, Eastwood took “aircraft maintenance… After school, Clint hung out with a crowd of tough-looking teens decked out in leather and T-shirts, with greased back long hair. All strong, tall, and lean, they tucked cigarettes behind their ears and held bottles of beer in one hand while they drove, usually to the local dives where the hottest girls hung out. And they were all into jazz. Most often they found themselves at the Omar, a pizza and beer dive in downtown Oakland where Clint liked to play jazz on a beat-up old piano in the corner.” Clint liked going to the small clubs in Oakland to hear Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Flip Phillips, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker. His favorite was Parker. After he graduated in January, 1949, Eastwood’s parents and younger sister moved to Seattle, WA, but he stayed in Oakland with his childhood friend Harry Pendleton. Until the Korean War broke out in 1950, Eastwood worked tending blast furnaces for Bethlehem Steel and then for Boeing Aircraft. Since he wasn’t enrolled at a 4-year college (his grades weren’t good enough for him to enroll at Seattle University), in the spring of 1951, he was drafted into army at age 20 and sent to Fort Ord for training.

clint-eastwoodClint Eastwood went on to become an Academy Award winning actor, producer, director, pianist, and composer. While stationed at Fort Ord, he survived a plane crash near Point Reyes by swimming three miles to shore. A movie executive filming at Fort Ord noticed Eastwood, and made connections that led to him signing a contract with Universal for $100 a week, and the first of several uncredited bit parts in 1955. From this humble start, Eastwood went on to become one of the best known and most revered actors in American film, heading franchises in the 60s and 70s like the Fistful of Dollars and Dirty Harry series (though he turned down the offer to play James Bond when Sean Connery retired from the role.) He was closely associated with Westerns and the roles he played were often of anti-hero, complex characters whose goodness was not without shadows of pain.

By the 80s, while still acting as a leading man in films like Sudden Impact and Tightrope, Eastwood was also turning his hand to directing. He continued to mix directing and acting, often starring in his own projects; his 1993 film In the Line of Fire is the last in which he starred, but did not also direct.

Eastwood added “politician” to his list of job titles in 1986, when he became mayor of Carmel by the Sea near Monterey. He held the job for two years, and remains active in politics, serving at different times on the California State Park and Recreation Commission and the California Film Commission. A self-professed Libertarian, Eastwood has thrown his support to both Democratic and Republican causes.

The list of awards given to Eastwood is formidable. He is one of the few actors-turned-directors to win an Academy Award for directing, and is one of only three living directors to have directed two Best Picture winners. Eastwood has also directed five actors in Academy Award–winning performances: Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn in Mystic River, and Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. He has also won awards from the Directors Guild of America, Golden Globes, and People’s Choice, not to mention awards from the governments of France and Japan. Eastwood was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2006, and Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor in 2015.

Former teacher, he taught sciences at Tech for nearly 40 years.

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Peter Cuttitta, Teacher 1949-1988

Peter Cuttitta, Science teacher 1949-1988

Peter Cuttitta was a respected and beloved teacher who represented loyalty and dedication to the school in the face of several horrible incidents.

In 1988, Cuttitta retired after teaching at Tech for thirty-nine years. He taught biology and physiology and was a counselor at Tech from 1949-1988. In a rampage in 1968, a student struck Cuttitta three times, fracturing his face. After a six-week hospitalization and facial surgery, Cuttitta was offered a transfer to another high school, but chose to return to Tech. Some years later, he was held up at gunpoint in his classroom and handcuffed to his filing cabinet. Again, he chose to stay at Tech. An educator of uncommon skill and devotion, he endeavored to teach his students that the key to opportunity lay within them through the power of education. He died in 2010. His widow, who met him while she was teaching at Tech in 1949, was interviewed for this book.

Summary of Mrs. (Virginia) Cuttitta’s Remarks in 2014 on the 1969 attack on her husband, Peter Cuttitta:

He was patrolling the school during a riot when he was attacked by a student. He was hit so hard that you could see the imprint of the student’s fist on his face. The student, believing Mr. Cuttitta to be a police officer, would have continued to beat him if another student had not intervened. She ran up to them crying and yelling “That’s my teacher! That’s my teacher!” Mr. Cuttitta was seriously injured, requiring facial plastic surgery. I never questioned him about returning back to teaching at Tech because I knew he would. He was committed to teaching, to Tech, and to his students.

From The Scribe News, January 1969:

Mr. Peter Cuttitta has just returned to Tech after having facial surgery as a result of the Nov. 15 riot. He was out of teaching for 8 weeks of school. He was not sure he wanted to come back. “You come to school to prepare for your future and to learn the democratic process and not to be destructive dissenters against those who try to help you. Some dissent is normal in an individual, but the extent to which dissent has gone in this school on two separate occasions is not normal.”

From Roberta Gaudie Christianson ’54:

One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Cuttitta who taught biology. He taught me a very important life lesson. He was off in the Korean War when the class started so we had a long-term sub for the first six weeks. I had managed to get A’s on all the exams the sub had given. I got A’s on Mr. Cuttitta’s tests too, but ended up with a B plus in the class, the only B I ever got in high school. He told me now you don’t have to worry about straight A’s! He also said you need to work to your ability, not just to the grade. I was upset initially, but I liked him so much. He was a wonderful teacher.

First baseball, basketball coach and PE teacher at Skyline High. Became instructor, administrator, coach, and researcher at UC Berkeley from 1963-2000.

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Al Kyte Jr. ’53

Al Kyte, Class of 1953

Al Kyte Jr., son of long-time Oakland Tech coach and Teacher Al Kyte, was the first baseball, basketball coach and physical education teacher at Skyline High. Became an instructor, administrator, coach, and bio-mechanics researcher at UC Berkeley from 1963 to 2000.

All-Pro NFL quarterback for San Francisco 49ers, he also had a second career as a Senior PGA Tour professional golfer.

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John Brodie ’53

John Brodie, Class of 1953

John Brodie’s athletic career started at Tech where he was All-Oakland Athletic League in three sports: basketball, baseball and football. He went on to become an All-American quarterback at Stanford University before starting for the San Francisco 49ers.

During his time with the 49ers, he was the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player in 1970, and at other times, led the N.F.L. in passing yardage, passing touchdowns, least sacks and lowest percentage of passes intercepted. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
He later had a second career as a professional golfer the Senior PGA Tour.

Berkeley City Councilman, Mayor of Oakland. As US Congressman, fought for sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa.

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Ron Dellums ’53

Ron Dellums, Class of 1953

Ron Dellums, Class of 1953, served as Oakland’s forty-eighth mayor, and from 1971 to 1998, was elected to thirteen terms as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Northern California’s 9th Congressional District.

After graduating from Tech, Dellums served in the Marine Corps from 1954 to 1956. He received his M.S.W. from UC Berkeley in 1962, worked as a social worker and political activist, and held a seat on the Berkeley City Council from 1967 to 1970. In 1971, Dellums was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and the first openly socialist candidate to win a seat since World War II.

Dellums was an outspoken supporter of liberal causes and this support earned him a spot on President Nixon’s “Enemies List.” But he was revered on both sides of the aisle as a hardworking man of integrity and was especially well regarded for leading congressional struggles against South African apartheid. After a short stint as a legislative lobbyist in DC, Dellums was elected Mayor in of Oakland in 2006 at age 70. He served one term in office. He is now a Visiting Fellow at Howard University’s Ronald W. Walters Center, which focuses on the engagement of African Americans in the U.S. political process and on national and foreign policy.

Major League Baseball all-star and World Series champion, challenged player trade clause and sued Major League baseball, ultimately leading the way to free agency in the sport.

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Curt Flood ’56

Curt Flood, Class of 1956

Curt was the first African-American player to crack the St. Louis Cardinals lineup as a regular in 1958. He won seven gold glove awards over a 12-year career and hit better than .300 six times, with a career batting average of .292. He played in three All-Star Games and three World Series, winning two with the Cardinals.

Curt_Flood_58-69Flood also left his mark on the game by challenging baseball’s reserve clause, suggesting that a player’s having no say in what team he played for was a form of slavery. Although he ultimately lost his case in the United States Supreme Court, his fight paved the way to free agency for major league players in 1975.

Served in a variety of elected positions including the Dublin School Board and Mayor. Retired from political life and became an accomplished artist.

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Linda Johnson Jeffery Sailors ’58

Linda Johnson Jeffery Sailors, Class of 1958
My favorite memories of Oakland Tech are being a song girl and having so many friends of different nationalities. Tech gave me the experience and knowledge to have a successful life. I was elected three times to Murray School Board in Dublin, CA and in 1982, I was elected to the first Dublin City Council when the city was incorporated. I was reelected in 1984 and 1988, served as Dublin’s second Mayor from 1986 to 1988, and was Vice Mayor from 1990-1992. I retired from my elected political offices after seventeen years of service to my community. I was honored to be Artist of The Year 2013-2014 in my senatorial district. My art was shown at the State Capitol, Sacramento.

Co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party, University lecturer.

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Huey Newton ’59

Huey Newton, Class of 1959

Huey Newton, Class of 1959, was a political activist and co-founder of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a black revolutionary socialist organization that was active from 1966 until 1982. Newton was born in Louisiana and moved as a child to Oakland, attending Oakland public schools and graduating from Tech. His education was interrupted by several arrests when he was a teen, and he wrote in his autobiography Revolutionary Suicide that he didn’t know how to read when he graduated high school.

He went on to attend Merritt College in Oakland where he became more interested in politics; together with Bobby Seale he founded the Black Panthers in 1966. The group was deeply involved in the Black Power Movement and believed that the threat of force was necessary to effect social change. The Panthers organized social programs in Oakland like the Free Breakfast for Children Program and the Oakland Community School. Newton earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in 1974 and a PhD in 1980.

hueypnewtonThroughout his years with the Black Panthers, allegations of violence and gun possession followed Newton, and he was convicted in 1967 of the death of an Oakland police officer. Newton and the Black Panthers were accused of being supported by the Communist Party and were a focus of FBI scrutiny. For a time, Newton moved to Cuba to escape assault charges.

In 1989 Newton was shot to death in West Oakland, in the very neighborhood where he began his outreach work with the Black Panthers by a member of a rival black power group called the Black Guerilla Family. His killer was sentenced to jail for 32 years. Huey Newton is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.

Mathematics Teacher; co-founded Mathematic Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA), co-founded Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

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Mary Perry Smith, Teacher 1961-1977

Mary Perry Smith, Mathematics Teacher from 1961-1977

Mary Perry Smith, Mathematics Teacher from 1961-1977 and Co-founder of MESA


Mary P. Smith taught math at Oakland Tech for 17 years. She believes that one of the reasons she was a successful teacher was that she was able to connect with the students. To make that connection, Smith says, you need to think about the question: “Why do we have to take this class?” and show the students why. She gave them real life examples of math. Smith believes that math is a language, you must learn to speak it, and students must be allowed to talk to each other and discuss math, not just learn it passively from the chalkboard and books. Students have said of Smith that she was always willing “to go the extra mile.”

While teaching at Tech, Smith co-founded the Mathematic Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) to encourage and support students of color to go into the fields of math and science. Smith recognized that tremendous potential was lost because capable students were not preparing for those fields. Affirmative Action in 1968 prompted companies to hire more people of color, but it soon became apparent that students of color were underrepresented in university math and science programs. Working with professors at UC Berkeley, Smith piloted and ran MESA at Tech to bridge that gap. The program became enormously successful and is now a national program open to all students regardless of race, ethnicity or background. Smith’s efforts to interest and encourage students in the math and sciences impacted countless students over the years. She left Tech in 1977 when she was hired to train in the MESA program full time.

Retired Corporate Council at PG&E; served as national President for three organizations: National Bar Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

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Robert Harris ’61

Robert Harris, Class of 1961

Robert Harris is a lawyer, activist, and business executive. Born in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Harris moved to Oakland with his parents in 1960 and finished his high school degree at Tech in 1961. He attended Merritt College and SFSU, and worked as a probation officer for four years before attending the School of Law at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1972. Upon graduation, he took a job at Pacific Gas and Electric where he worked for 34 years, retiring in 2007 as Vice President of Environmental, Health, Technical and Land Service.

In 1985, Harris made headlines when he successfully won a free-speech case at the US Supreme Court on behalf of PG&E. Harris made a name for himself with his leadership in various law societies including acting as president of the National Bar Association from 1970-1980, founding the California Association of Black Lawyers in 1977 and acting as a founding member of the National Bar Association’s funding body.

In 1986, he earned the NAACP’s highest legal honor for his advocacy on behalf of the association. Among his many other civic engagements, he has been the Grand Polemarch (national president) of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and is a recipient of its highest honor, the Laurel Wreath. He also has been a Sire Archon (president) of the local Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity branch as well as the fraternity’s Grand Sire Archon (national president).

Additionally, Harris has has been a board member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; the Congressional Black Caucus’s National Energy Policy Commission; the California EPA’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice; the California League of Conservation Voters; and the African American Experience Fund of the National Parks Foundation. He resides in Oakland.

Director, actor, and puppeteer, and co-creator of The Muppets. Responsible for creating several key characters on Sesame Street, and performed both puppeting and voice for Yoda in Star Wars series.

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Frank Oz (Oznowicz) ’62

Frank Oznowicz, Class of 1962

Frank Oz, born Richard Frank Oznowicz, is a film director, actor, and puppeteer best known for creating and performing the roles of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear with Jim Henson on The Muppet Show, as well as creating and performing Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover on Sesame Street. Born in England to parents who were puppeteers and part of the Dutch resistance, Oz moved with his family to Oakland at the age of 5.

After graduating Tech and attending Oakland City College, he was an apprentice puppeteer at Children’s Fairyland. Eventually he began collaborating with Henson, a thirty year partnership that resulted in more than 75 productions. In addition to acting credits in movies from The Blues Brothers to An American Werewolf in London, Oz also performed the voice and puppet work for the character of Yoda in the Star Wars series. He has directed movies such as Little Shop of Horrors and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Frank has won four Emmy awards.


Literary award winner; author and illustrator of over 50 children’s books.

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Patricia Barber Polacco ’62

Patricia Barber Polacco, Class of 1962

I was privileged to go to a place that truly reflects what the real world is, that prepared me in a way that transcends education. Tech had some of the finest teaching staff in the city of Oakland, maybe even the state of CA. Tech is where I came to life. It watered you and gave you nourishment, pointed you at the sun, put the wind under your wings and said, OK, fly.

I will always be a Bulldog. I remember it fondly. The auditorium was the crown jewel of our school. We put on amazing performances. Joseph Tranchina, Mr. T, without a doubt was the most amazing English teacher– he set your pants on fire. He used to read to us. He knew so much about creative writing. He wore a bracelet, very cool. And Mr. Whayne was amazing. Drama was a subject during school hours. They used to put on two musicals a year that drew patrons from all over the state, plus 2 serious plays and numerous skits and light airborne trivia plays. There was always a project going. There was amazing stagecraft where kids learned how to build sets and lighting that was taught on a junior college level.

The music program was like none other. Girls’, boys’, glee, chorus, jazz, group instrumental, a marching band, orchestra, jazz club, rock and roll groups. Anybody who wanted to be anything could be anything they wished if they went to Tech! Tech is part of my heart and soul. [When I come back to Oakland], I always drive by and go, “There it is.” I look at the windows and remember all the teachers that were in there. School spirit was alive and crackling with electricity. I look back on those years and my heart skips a beat.

(NOTE: Polacco, a noted children’s book writer, has recently published three children’s books honoring teachers she had at Tech. An A for Ms. Keller (coming soon) is about her English teacher. The Art of Ms. Chew honors Violet Chew, her art teacher. Mr. Whayne’s Masterpiece (due out this fall) is a tribute to the drama teacher, Mr. Whayne, who also contributed to this centennial book.)


Taught Government and History, spearheaded the adoption of MLK, Jr. Day as a California holiday, four years before King’s birthday was enacted as a holiday throughout the US.

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Tay McArthur, Staff ’63-’86

Tay McArthur, Staff 1963-86

Tay McArthur taught Government and History, spearheaded the adoption of MLK, Jr. Day as a California holiday, four years before King’s birthday was enacted as a holiday throughout the US.

We owe our nation’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to a small group of Tech students from the class of 1981. They called themselves the Apollos after the Apollo 13 space mission. Led by their teacher, Tay McArthur, they began lobbying Sacramento lawmakers and California declared MLK’s birthday a holiday before the federal government did. In 1983, the federal government followed suit and Tech’s MLK committee continued to lobby states that hadn’t yet declared it a holiday!

In 1983, 12 seniors in Tay McArthur’s Honors/AP American Government Class decided to seek landmark status for Oakland Technical High School. It was eventually designated as a landmark in 1985 by the Oakland City council.


Iranian historian; as a university lecturer in Iran, he was a jailed as political prisoner. Currently a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Stanford's Hoover Institute.

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Abbas Milani ’65

Abbas Milani, Class of 1965

Born in Iran, Abbas Milani moved to Oakland at age 16 and graduated from Oakland Tech a year later. He attended UC Berkeley and received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii. He then went back to Iran and became a professor in 1975, but after the Iranian revolution, he returned to the United States in 1986, and became a professor of history and political science – as well as department chair for 14 years – at Notre Dame de Namur University. He is currently Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford and one of the few politically independent scholars at the conservative think tank Hoover Institution.

Abbas was inducted into the charter class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor in May of 2015.

Former Student Body President, he taught and coached at Oakland Tech for 40 years until his retirement in 2013.

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Wayne Brooks, ’65, Staff 1971-2011

Wayne Brooks, Class of 1965, Staff 1971-2011

Former Student Body Vice President,  Wayne Brooks graduated from Oakland Technical in 1965, then taught and coached at Oakland Tech for 40 years until his retirement in 2011.

Wayne’s Oakland Tech Biography:

Graduated 1965

  • Fall, Senior Class President
  • Spring, Student Body Vice President
  • Captain of Football and Track teams


College Football

  • Laney College (1965-66), Captain, National Champions (1966)
  • University of California, Berkeley (1967)


Teacher – Oakland Technical High School (1971-2011)

Class President 1965
  • Social Science Department
  • Coach – Football, Track & Field, Baseball, Golf
  • College Advisor (College Summit Program)
  • Class Sponsor (5 Classes)


Wayne was inducted into the Inaugural Class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor at the Centennial Gala in May of 2015.

Veteran of stage, film, and television for 40 years. He is a director, playwright, and screenwriter. Associate Professor at School of Cinema/Television at USC.

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Ted Lange ’66

Ted Lange, Class of 1966

Ted Lange, from the Oakland Tech Class of 1966, is an actor, director, and screenwriter perhaps best known for his role as the bartender “Isaac” on the hit 1970s television series The Love Boat.  Ted’s mother, Gerri Lange, hosted her own television show on KQED during the 1970s.  After graduating from Tech, he attended Merritt College and San Francisco City College before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.  Ted’s acting debut was with the New Shakespeare Company in San Francisco.

Drama Department’s production of “The Skin of Our Teeth” in 1965, starring Ted Lange (2nd from right) and Anita Pointer (far right).  The two would re-unite in an episode of The Love Boat in 1980.

Ted worked in film both as an actor and director before landing the role as the affable “Isaac” in Love Boat, which ran from 1977-1986.  He wrote this episode of The Love Boat in 1980, starring fellow Oakland Tech alums The Pointer Sisters.

He continues to act and direct. Lange won the NAACP’s Renaissance Man Theatre Award, as well as the Paul Robeson Award from the American Film Institute. Lange lectures on Shakespeare and acting to students across the country and he has also written a number of plays.

Here is information about Ted’s latest theatrical production:

The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson

You can support fellow Bulldog Ted Lange ’66 by attending his new play, “The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson”, running from May 15th through June 28th at Theatre/Theater in Los Angeles.

Download (PDF, 162KB)

A classically trained violinist, she became famous as an American fiddler with a forty year musical career in the US and the UK.

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Susan Draheim ’67

Sue Draheim, Class of 1967

Sue Draheim was a classically trained violinist turned fiddler whose career spanned more than forty years and many albums. She began studying violin in school while attending Peralta Elementary School and later, Claremont Middle School. After graduating from Tech she gravitated to Berkeley where a renaissance in American folk music was underway.

Originally trained as a classical violinist, by 1968 Draheim was part of an American mountain string band group, The New Tranquility String Band. Known for her eclecticism, Draheim also became skilled in performing Celtic folk music, Cajun, and Zydeco music styles.

While Draheim was primarily a fiddler, she never lost touch with her classical training, and was a member of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic as well as UC Berkeley’s University Chamber Chorus. She also played in the US premiere of Frank Zappa’s experimental orchestral piece A Zappa Affair, and was described by Gael Alcock, cellist/composer with whom she performed one of Alcock’s pieces, as “fiddler extraordinaire”.

Sue passed away in 2013 at the age of 63.

Read more about Sue on her Wikipedia page:

Attended UC Berkeley, now retired from Wells Fargo Finance, in programming, systems design and into the broader field of Information Technology.

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Julia Nagamoto ’68

Julie Nagamoto, Class of 1968

Attended UC Berkeley, now retired from Wells Fargo Finance, in programming, systems design and into the broader field of Information Technology.

Much loved head of Tech's security and a major "life guide" to thousands of Technites, as a community "deacon pillar" at Beth Eden Church (50 years) and a dedicated 60-year Mason.

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William (Scotty) Scott – Staff ’68-’83

William (Scotty) Scott – Staff ’68-’83

Graduate of Harvard Law School, Superior Court Judge of Alameda County in California.

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Evelio Grillo ’70

Evelio Grillo, Class of 1974

Evelio M. Grillo, Class of 1970, is a judge for the Superior Court of Alameda County in California. He was appointed by former governor Gray Davis in November 2003 to succeed D. Ronald Hyde. Grillo won re-election in 2012, after running unopposed, and his current term will expire in 2019. Grillo received a J.D. from Harvard University.

Prior to becoming a judge for the Superior Court of Alameda County, Grillo was a partner at the firm of Grillo and Stevens. Grillo ran for re-election to the superior court in 2012. As an unopposed incumbent, his name did not appear on the ballot. After the primary election, Grillo was automatically re-elected.

Evelio was inducted into the charter class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor in 2015.


Outstanding Bio-Science teacher, created Tech's first academy, the Health Academy, securing the program funding and garnering the enthusiastic support of Kaiser Hospital.

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Mary Torrey, Staff 1972-1987

Mary Torrey, Staff 1972-1987

Neighbor and community liaison, she was a gracious symbol on Tech's campus and was the loving, calming force on campus--much like the grandmother many wished they had.

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Tommie Wilkerson, Staff 1974-1985

Tommie Wilkerson, Staff 1974-85

Hall of Fame Major League Baseball outfielder, holds four Major League records, and widely considered to be the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.

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Rickey Henderson ’76

Rickey Henderson, Class of 1976

Considered the greatest lead-off hitter in baseball history, Henderson was the California State Baseball Player of the Year in 1976 at Tech High, where he also played basketball and football. In fact, while at Tech High, he was an All-American running back with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He went on to establish the major league records for most stolen bases, runs scored, and home runs leading off a game.

He also collected 3,055 hits and 297 homeruns as a professional ballplayer, during which he was a 10-time All-Star and 1990 American League MVP. Henderson played for the Oakland A’s for 14 seasons, New York Yankees, and six other teams during his 25-year career. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year that Tech High’s baseball field on 45th Street near Telegraph Ave. was named in his honor.


Oakland Tech’s Rickey Henderson inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

rickey_henderson_hall_of_fameOakland Tech Alumnus Rickey Henderson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26th, 2009.  The 1976 Oakland Tech graduate received admission to Cooperstown’s baseball shrine from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January, who named him on 94.8 percent of their ballots.

The 3-sport Bulldog star left Major League Baseball in 2003 as the all-time leader in runs scored (2,295), stolen bases (1,406), games led off with a homerun (81), and walks (2,190; a record that Barry Bonds eventually passed). He won two World Series championships, with the 1989 A’s and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays, and was a 10-time All-Star, the 1990 American League MVP and the 1989 American League Championship Series MVP.

Ricky Henderson in Mr. Hagan's Social Studies class, 1976
Rickey Henderson in Mr. Hagan’s Social Studies class, 1976

Henderson also led the major leagues in stolen bases six times and the AL 12 times. He was the AL walks leader four times and led the majors in runs scored five times. His career on-base percentage was .401 during the regular season and .386 in 60 games in the post-season. He stole 33 bases in the post-season and wasn’t caught once.

Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson, Class of 1976

Rickey played for nine different major league teams, but is best remembered for his time with the Oakland Athletics. Out of 25 major league seasons, Henderson spent parts of 14 seasons with the A’s. He is the A’s all-time leader in stolen bases, runs scored and walks, and he is among the Oakland A’s top-five in on-base percentage, games played, at-bats, hits, BA and doubles.

Henderson becomes the third former Oakland Athletic Leaguer to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame, following McClymonds’ Frank Robinson (inducted in 1982), and Castlemont’s Joe Morgan (inducted in 1990).

Rickey Henderson, 1975 All-City Linebacker
Rickey Henderson, 1975 All-City Linebacker

He entered the Hall wearing the hat of his hometown Oakland Athletics.

Rickey Henderson on the 1975-76 Bulldog Basketball Team, bottom row, second from right
Rickey Henderson on the 1975-76 Bulldog Basketball Team, bottom row, second from right
Rickey Henderson outside Oakland Tech, 1975-76
Rickey Henderson outside Oakland Tech, 1975-76


Rickey Henderson Field Dedication, October 3rd, 2009

Alum and current teacher in OUSD, played major role in establishing MLK Jr. Holiday in California with classmates in The Apollos.

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Karen (Kennedy) Freeman ’81

Karen Freeman, Class of 1981

Oakland Tech alumnae and current teacher in OUSD, Karen played a major role in establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in California with fellow students in The Apollos in 1981.

Former Oakland Tech Principal, served as Superintendent to both Alameda and Oakland Unified School Districts.

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Dennis Chaconas, Principal 1983-1989

Dennis Chaconas, Principal 1983-1989

I am a third generation Oakland native. I was approached by Superintendent J. David Bowick to reopen Oakland Tech at the Broadway campus in 1983 and manage the move. It was truly a starting over point. Due to the rich history of the school, the staff was committed to rising to the occasion. I hired Maryann Wolfe and Marietta Joe, and the Paideia Program became nationally known for graduates admitted to some of the finest schools in the nation. I started the Health Academy under the leadership of Patricia Clark and also began the Engineering Academy under Carl Hertenstein and, a year later, hired Parker Merrill. We re-established the Drama Department, the Music Department, and the Dance Department. It was the best and most rewarding work I have ever done!

NOTE: Many people credit Dennis Chaconas with a dramatically changing the fortunes of Tech. The list of improvements he spearheaded includes: increasing CTBS reading scores by 30% and math scores by 33% and improving the college admission rates for Tech graduates from a rate 5% admission to four-year colleges in 1983 to a rate of 40% in 1988. Principal Chaconas helped develop many of Tech’s flagship programs including the Health Academy, a school-based health clinic, the Pre-Engineering Academy, the Paideia Program and the Interlinks Program. In his tenure as Principal, the number of students passing AP exams went from 9 in 1983 to 65 in 1989. After he left Oakland Tech in 1989, he served as Assistant Superintendent of OUSD 1990-1993, Superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District 1993-2000, and Superintendent of OUSD 2000-2003. His legacy lives on at Oakland Tech to this day.

Police Sergeant, serving in Oakland Police Department for over 25 years.

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Rufus Wright ’85

Rufus Wright, Class of 1985

Multi-award winning actress, radio producer, playwright, and journalist. Currently a producer and on-air contributor to the NPR affiliate in North Carolina.

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Anita Morgan-Woodley ’94

Anita Shontel Morgan-Woodley, Class of 1994

My great-grandma came to West Oakland by bus from Lewisville, Arkansas with my mama after my grandma died in childbirth at age 20. Growing up, I lived in Berkeley until 8 years old upon which I moved to East Oakland. I went to Tech because I wanted to go the same high school that my mother graduated from and also because I heard it was a great school.

The good things I remember are getting the big gold button from Ms. McGee, which I still have, that read “Count On Me To Succeed, Oakland Tech,” being supported by students and the administration to do fun events that made Tech, as we use to say, “poppin’ the most.” I loved the smell of cheese fries in the cafeteria. I recall the clink of the humongous key chain of the security guard we affectionately called “Grandpa” as he told us to hurry to class. The hard things I remember were being on the brink of losing our library accreditation which would have made our high school diplomas invalid, teachers walking out for higher wages, and not having the personal resources to dress trendy or visit a hair salon.

Things I participated in were: leadership class, reading the morning announcements over the PA system, Grad Nite, Junior & Senior Prom, Student Government as the ASB President 1993-1994 & Publicity Commissioner 1992-1993, the PTSA, Food Drives, Spirit Week, Homecoming Week Activities, and Lip Sync with the rapper Money B as a guest judge. I won 2nd place singing Smoove’s song “Female Mack.”

anita-woodleyThree teachers I really remember are Mrs. Susan Drexler, Mr. David Christano and Mr. Hamner. Mrs. Drexler and Mr. Christano co-taught Interlinks for my 10th and 11th grade. They inspired me to later become a playwright and actress by allowing me to act out book assignments like “The Bride Price” in class, as well as paint large-scale backdrops and portray characters. I had no idea at the time that this would be a firm foundation for me to become an award-winning actress and playwright. I also could have never imagined that Mr. Christano and Mrs. Drexler would someday be in the audience to see me perform my shape “Mama Juggs” in Oakland or that Mrs. Drexler would fly in from Mexico to see me on stage in San Francisco!

Mr. Hamner, my 9th grade Drama teacher, is memorable because he helped me write my first play. We reconnected over 15 years later on Facebook and to my surprise, he still has the copy! He’s now my mentor in all things drama, improvisation, negotiating contracts and life. We even went on the road together to Los Angeles to debut my new play, “The Men In Me,” and he played guitar with me and operated my lights. We had an incredible time! I also remember Mr. Brooks, Mr. O’Keith, Ms. Lay and Ms. Pyatt as they all inspired and prepared me to work for Tech Scribe, our school newspaper, and become an award-winning journalist in both radio and television, working for CNN, NPR, NBC, CBS, FOX and PBS.

Anita Shontel Morgan (Woodley) , Grandpa, and Mawi Williams, 1994
Anita Shontel Morgan (Woodley) , Grandpa, and Mawi Williams, 1994

After high school, I was fired up and ready to succeed, so I jumped right into the workforce, full-time college and the profession of journalism. While in college at Humboldt State University I studied journalism, won writing contests, was awarded grants to put on one-woman shows that I performed on campus about black history. While a student at San Francisco State University, I studied broadcasting in radio and television and worked for the NBC/KRON-TV in San Francisco, first as an intern then moving up to a production assistant to a cable-cut in writer and producer overnight. I also worked at KMTP-TV in San Francisco hosting my own newscast called “Newsnight with Anita Morgan,” covering Pan-African and local news. Shortly after graduating SFSU, I got married, got a job at CNN’s Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia as an Associate Producer and at FOX 5 News as an overnight writer. The year I was at CNN, we won an Emmy for Exceptional News Coverage on 9/11, and I resigned a month after the World Trade Center event. Upon moving back to Oakland, we decided to have our only child in 2002 named Xavier Leo Woodley. We relocated to North Carolina where I worked 7 years for WUNC-FM, an NPR Affiliate, on a show called “The Story with Dick Gordon.” I won numerous awards until resigning to become a full-time artist in drama and literary arts. I have since been an entrepreneur winning numerous accolades in drama and theatre arts for my performance in the one-woman shows I wrote called, “Mama Juggs: The Breast Health Show” and “The Men In Me: Our Fathers, Our Brothers, Our Sons,” which covers HIV and urban male issues. You can learn more about all of my works on my website
Now, some 15+ years later, on the social network Facebook, I have become good friends with many of my high school classmates from Tech.

gala-golfI am extremely proud to be a Tech alumnus! My time at Tech taught me to speak up for myself and take risks, to formulate my ideas and put them out there in the world, and to assist in improving my community.

Tech turning 100 reminds me of how many changes it has withstood since 1969 when my mama attended. Now my nephew will graduate with class of 2014. Tech is a staple in the community that will be there for years to come and if we lived in Oakland, our son would likely attend Tech as well.

To today’s Tech students, I’d say, volunteer to learn everything you want to know in a career before graduating. Take advantage of the programs and college prep activities offered to you. Also do not be afraid to try college out. I did not want to go to college, but I filled out the applications anyway and got accepted to two 4-year schools. Once I went to Humboldt State University for a summer bridge program to try it out, I fell in love and stayed for the long run, graduating in top 8% of my class, in the top 15% of the country, and magna cum laude. My time at Tech redefined my life. I know I can do anything, but not everything at once. That’s what Tech Bulldog pride is all about. Woof!

Working in some of the best restaurants in the world, he is one the most influential chef-restaurateurs in the East Bay, and owner of the first Michelin rated restaurant in Oakland.

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James Syhabout ’97

Oakland Tech Alum (Class of 1997) and Two Star Michelin Chef James Syhabout is donating 5% of diners’ bills at his restaurants – Commis (two Michelin stars), The Dock, & Hawker Faire – to Oakland Public Schools.

Enjoy delicious food, support a local Oakland business owned by a Tech alum, and contribute to Oakland’s public schools.

Syhabout’s Dine Out and Give Back fundraiser goes through the end of the January.

James Syhabout, Class of 1997

James Syhabout was born in a refugee camp in Ratchathani, Thailand in 1979 and settled in California when he was two years old. Syhabout’s interest in cooking came from his mother, a chef at a Thai restaurant in Oakland.

Following graduation from Tech, Syhabout went to the California Culinary Academy, from which he graduated in 1999 and went straight to the well renowned restaurant Manresa.

After working at other notable restaurants and making appearances on Chef America, Syhabout opened his first restaurant, Commis, which is the only restaurant in Oakland to receive a Michelin star, a feat it received after being open for only a few months.

Since opening Commis, Syhabout has opened Hawker Fare in Oakland’s Uptown, which serves family-style Southeast Asian street food inspired by Syhabout’s Thai heritage, with a particular emphasis on the cuisine of Isaan, in the country’s northwest. He opened a second Hawker Fare in San Francisco’s Mission District in early 2015.

James was inducted into the Inaugural Class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor at the Centennial Gala in May of 2015.


Won two gold medals (1998, 2001 earned a perfect score) and a silver medal (1999) at International Mathematical Olympiad, Assistant Professor, Economics, Stanford.

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Gabriel Carroll ’01

Gabriel Carroll, Class of 2001

Tech struggled with a lot of the usual difficulties of urban schools – drugs, violence, bomb threat hoaxes. I remember a period when someone was lighting fires in garbage cans every few weeks. But I felt Tech was a place with powerful ambitions– academically, of course, and also in terms of the sense of identity and citizenship it sought to instill in its alumni. My life at that time centered on national and international math contests.

I remember getting a lot of support from my classmates and teachers. Abstractly, I knew many of my classmates had more challenging experiences than I did, but it was hard for me to understand what this meant. If I could live those years again, I’d work much harder at understanding my classmates’ backgrounds, and how their experiences – in the same rooms with the same books– differed from mine. Most of my subsequent life has been in the ivory tower (I’m now an assistant professor at a private university not so far away).

After graduating from Tech and arriving at Harvard, one of the first things that shocked me was how many white people there were. These days the problems I deal with day to day are abstract, and the people I interact with tend to come from the luckier slices of society. I’m thankful to have gone to an urban public high school, to be reminded that most people’s experiences are different from mine.

An assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford University, Carroll graduated from Harvard with B.A. in mathematics and linguistics in 2005 and received his doctorate in economics from MIT in 2012. He was recognized as a child prodigy and received numerous awards in mathematics while a student.

Carroll won two gold medals (1998, 2001) and a silver medal (1999) at the International Mathematical Olympiad, earning a perfect score at the 2001 International Mathematical Olympiad held in Washington, D.C., shared only with American teammate Reid W. Barton and Chinese teammates Liang Xiao and Zhiqiang Zhang.

Gabriel earned a place among the top five ranked competitors (who are themselves not ranked against each other) in the William Lowell Putnam Competition all four years that he was eligible (2000–2003), a feat matched by only seven others (Don Coppersmith (1968–1971), Arthur Rubin (1970–1973), Bjorn Poonen (1985–1988), Ravi Vakil (1988–1991), Reid W. Barton (2001–2004), Daniel Kane (2003–2006), and Brian R. Lawrence (2007–08, 2010–11). His top-5 performance in 2000 was particularly notable, as he was officially taking the exam in spite of only being a high school senior, thus forfeiting one of his years of eligibility in college. He was on the first place Putnam team twice (2001–02) and the second place team once (2003).

He has earned numerous awards in science and math, including the Intel Science Talent Search, has taught numerous mathematics classes and tutorials, and plays the piano. He was a Research Science Institute scholar in 2000.

Gabriel was inducted into the charter class of Oakland Tech’s Hall of Honor in 2015.

National Football League running back, current NFL rushing leader and NFC Champion. Philanthropist; co-founder of Family 1st Foundation.

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Marshawn Lynch ’04

Marshawn Lynch, Class of 2004

Nicknamed “Beast Mode,” Marshawn was a high school All-American running back at Tech in 2003. He led the Bulldogs to their first Oakland Athletic League championship since 1951. While at Tech, Marshawn ran for 1,722 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in just eight regular season games. In addition to running back, he also played defensive back, quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker. He was rated the #2 running back in the nation during his senior year. He also ran track for Tech and played on the basketball team alongside Leon Powe.

Marshawn played football at the University of California, Berkeley where he was an All-American and the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year as he established a school record seventeen 100-yard games. He became an all-pro running back in the N.F.L. where he won a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Lynch remains active in the Tech community, where his Family First Foundation hosts an annual football camp, talent show and other fundraising events to support the local community. A film chronicling his life growing up in Oakland (starring both Marshawn Lynch and his cousin, Josh Johnson) was scheduled to be released in late 2014.

Oakland Technical High School Hall of Honor


For nearly a century, members of the Oakland Technical High School community have made significant contributions in the arts, the sciences, athletics, business, technology, education, government, media, law, management, leadership, and furthering civil advances of  humanity in local, national, and international society.  In 2014, the Oakland Technical Centennial Committee sought to recognize and honor these outstanding individuals for their efforts, through the creation of the Oakland Technical High School Hall of Honor.  Ultimately, the Oakland Technical High School Hall of Honor will annually honor alumni and staff who exemplify outstanding achievement. Please visit our Historical Archive to see the amazing accomplishments and contributions of Oakland Tech graduates over the last century, along with the many that have contributed to the unique fabric of the tapestry that is our city.


  1. To be eligible for induction, nominees should have graduated from Oakland Technical High School at least 10 years prior to nomination or retired from service at least 3 years prior to nomination.
  2. A nominee has been recognized by his/her peers for a high level of achievement in his/her field and made significant contributions to that field at the local/regional, national, and/or international level.
  3. A nominee has demonstrated leadership, character, and service through their achievement.
  4. The Committee will attempt to achieve a balance with each Hall of Honor class to include inductees across various achievement categories (e.g., Academia, Arts, Athletics, Entertainment, Business, Public Service, etc.), as well as across generations.


A selection committee including but not limited to one school administrator, one foundation executive board member, one foundation alumni committee member, one faculty members, and one district administrator will select inductees for the Hall of Honor. In the inaugural ceremony as part of the gala, the list of recipients will include as many as 30; subsequent years will typically offer an entering class of 8 to 10 awardees.


The procedure and nomination form for nominating alumni/retirees for the Hall of Honor will be published on the school Web site and in newsletters sent to alumni and retired staff. Individuals included in the school’s alumni/retiree database will be informed by e-mail. A press release will be sent to the local papers. According to criteria stated above anyone may submit a completed nomination form for consideration, whether or not you attendedOaklandTechnicalHigh School.  Alumni/retirees cannot nominate themselves.  Posthumous nominations will be accepted. The selection committee will meet and review all nominations.  Nominations not awarded will be kept on file and eligible for consideration for two years following the initial nomination.  After three years, a candidate must be re-nominated for consideration. The Committee is not restricted to selecting inductees from those publically nominated, but may select for induction a person or persons who were not submitted through the nomination processs.


2015 inductees will be recognized at the Gala Celebration.  Each year thereafter, inductees will be introduced to the students and staff during a special ceremony. At the induction ceremony, he/she will be presented with a distinctive award.


The list of inductees and their achievements will be placed on display in an appropriate location in the school.