David Mendez

A new tradition is born at the Redondo Union High School alumni house

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Redondo Union High School seniors Jake Buchen, Andrew Rodriguez and Ryan Corman look through a past RUHS Pilot yearbook for their coach, a Redondo grad. Photo by David Mendez

by David Mendez

Redondo Union High School archivist Terry Martinez was a witness to history on Friday morning.

The class of 1971 alumnus watched Redondo’s Class of 2018 pass through the school’s new alumni house, kicking off what school leaders hope will be an annual tradition for the school’s soon-to-be graduates.

As the students started their exit, Martinez pulled them together to take pictures to commemorate the moment.

“Even in a school this old, with this much tradition, there’s always a ‘first,’” Martinez said.

Redondo’s alumni house opened in 2017 during the homecoming celebrations. The walk through the alumni house followed the school’s traditional class panorama photo and senior breakfast.

“We thought, having this great alumni house on campus, it’s a great opportunity for the future Sea Hawk alumni to experience these memories, of all these incredible events up on the walls,” said RUHS Principal Jens Brandt. “For so many of them, it’s the first time walking through here.”

The first members of Redondo Union’s Class of 2018 walk through the RUHS alumni house during their final day on campus. Photo courtesy Terry Martinez

The former dilapidated custodial building was remodeled through funds from the Alumni House foundation, as well as efforts by Redondo Beach Unified School District administrators and a partnership with non-profit Sharefest Community Development.

“It gives me, as an alumni, a great deal of pride to see this, the first graduating class of Redondo Union to actually have an alumni house,” said Carl Dreizler, president of the Alumni House foundation. “A lot of colleges have alumni houses, but not a lot of high schools, so we’re very proud of this.”

It was the first time through the house for outgoing seniors Jake Buchen, Andrew Rodriguez and Ryan Corman, who perused the school’s collection of old yearbooks together.

“It’s nice to go back and see everything from our school’s past. I didn’t know much about the school’s past, and you’ve got all of this memorabilia,” Corman said.

“It’s not just the past year — we’re going to become part of this past, and we’re going to be remembered in this area for kids to see,” Buchen said.

“Fifty years from now, kids are going to see our stuff – even if they don’t know who we are, we’re here,” Rodriguez said.

The alumni house, Martinez believes, is about forging connections between generations.

“We’re all graduates, and we’re all share traditions. Those are what enable us to make friends across generations with people who would have never met otherwise,” Martinez said. “This house is going to provide a place for all kinds of exchanges.”

The Redondo Union High School Alumni House is raising funds for its second phase of renovations, which includes window coverings and a courtyard. The goal is $10,000 by June 21, which would be matched by additional donors. For more information, visit facebook.com/ruhsalumnihouse.

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