The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Party like it’s ’73

Looking back at the MVHS class of 1973’s 50th reunion
Alumni+at+the+reunion+talking+with+each+other+at+a+table.
Jillian Ju
Alumni at the reunion talking with each other at a table.

Class of ‘73 alum Duff Devine is part of the first graduating class of MVHS, describing his experience as some of the best years of his life. He fondly remembers his involvement in school events, from being a Matador singer and representing California in a choir competition to being involved in student body politics. Looking back, Devine says he wouldn’t change anything about it.

Alumni meeting and talking with each other at the main event of the reunion in the evening. (Jillian Ju)

“[You] can’t help but be grateful for what you have, [especially] in a brand new high school, and having teachers and administrators that are really excited for the students to be there,” Devine said. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, for us to be the first graduates of the first four years. It’s pretty special.”

However, with classmates drifting further away over time, it became harder to stay in contact. After high school, Devine found that reunions were essential to keep in touch with other alumni.

“You will find out as you grow older, you have fewer opportunities to do things when you still can,” Devine said. “So this is our 50th reunion, and there are enough people that have passed away already. So you do these things to be with people while you still can see them, and that’s the reason why I do it.”

Alumni taking a selfie together at the main event of the reunion. (Jillian Ju)

To hold such reunions, Devine had to prepare for several months in advance. Starting in February, Devine began preparations for  the 50th reunion dinner at the Saratoga Country Club, which was set to be the main event. He organized a committee of alumni who helped contribute to the event’s success.

“I’m afraid to count hours because I’d probably be shocked,” Devine said. “I started this by myself in February of this year, and it’s now October. So the hours, it doesn’t really matter because it’s the product that you have. That makes it worthwhile.”

Alumni in the Bettencourt Gymnasium, reflecting back on the changes of the campus since their time. (Jillian Ju)

In addition to the main event in the evening, the reunion also consisted of a campus tour earlier in the day, as well as the  dedication of a bench on campus to the class of 1973. Groups were led around Monta Vista by Principal Ben Clausnitzer and Assistant Principal Nico Flores as they were introduced to the new classes and buildings. According to the attendees’ remarks, only the gym had remained unchanged in the 50 years since they’d graduated.

The reunion party itself consisted of a lavish arrangement of dishes and drinks, music, a photo booth, school decorations and tables with the first MVHS yearbooks. Alumni sat at tables scattered with yearbook cutouts, introducing themselves by the school pictures on their name tags. 

Among the alumni who attended was Richard Mendez, whose son Ryan Mendez currently coaches football at MVHS. Richard Mendez credits his high school teachers with playing an important role in his life, as he later went into teaching.

Like Richard, ‘73 alum Michael Martin appreciates the effort that went into organizing the event, adding that Devine has always been a “real school-spirited guy.” He contrasts the community of the reunion with his own independence during his high school years.

Duff Devine interacting with attendees in the main event of the evening. (Jillian Ju)

“It’s good to see him,” Martin said. “I kind of kept my distance back in the day… A lot of these people were more in the popular crowd, but I’m back because it’s good to be here and I did have a good time.”

Just like Devine, Martin is grateful for the opportunities Monta Vista provided, especially his time as one of the first editors for El Estoque (or, as he used to joke, the “bull sheet”). Although not as active in school activities like Devine, Martin still appreciates the opportunity the reunion gives to reconnect with his old classmates.

Devine, Martin and Mendez all urge current students to take advantage of the opportunities they have, be it teacher support, school programs or social events. While Martin thought that he had everything figured out in high school, he wishes he’d participated more in school activities instead of dismissing them as “corny.” Ultimately, it’s a lasting sense of community that brought them all back together after 50 years.

“Trust your instincts on what you believe you think you can do,” Devine said. “Take advantage of all the opportunities that you have at your disposal, because there’s almost literally something for everybody, if you keep an open mind and trust your gut.”

About the Contributors
Jillian Ju, Staff Writer
Jillian Ju is a sophomore and staff writer for El Estoque. In their free time, they enjoy writing about complicated people in cars, collecting earrings, and lying down.
Mihir Vishwarupe, Features Editor
Mihir is currently a senior and a features editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, practicing the guitar and traveling.
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