History of the Chaffey High School Alumni Association

The Chaffey High School Alumni Association was founded in 1974 while Dr. Fred C. Adams was principal. He saw the possibility that an alumni organization could assist the high school in providing educational services to the community and providing a bridge between current students and alumni.

The Chaffey High School Alumni Association was founded in 1974 while Dr. Fred C. Adams was principal. He saw the possibility that an alumni organization could assist the high school in providing educational services to the community and providing a bridge between current students and alumni. The Association was founded as a charitable organization, dedicated to raising money to be spent on worthwhile projects on the campus. Its Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of California on July 1, 1974, and its non-profit status was granted by the California Franchise Tax Board on June 25, 1974.  

The original Board of Directors consisted of:

  • Samuel Crowe, Class of 1953, President
  • Jack Diaz, Class of 1955, Vice President
  • Gladys Gillilan Holmer, Class of 1926, Secretary
  • Kenneth Kloepfer, Class of 1960, Treasurer
  • Fred Beal, Class of 1934
  • Cliff Cattell, Class of 1955
  • Ruth Lichti Dowding, Class of 1933
  • Joanne Bigg Dunlap, Class of 1954
  • Joe Kamansky, Class of 1933
  • Carl Rausin, Class of 1933
  • Margaret Sanders Stewart, Class of 1939

In 1975 Alberta Schaefer, Class of 1925, joined the board. Ruth Dowding has served continuously since 1974; Gladys Holmer served continuously until her death; and Alberta Schaefer served continuously until ill health caused her to submit her resignation in 1988.

Early activities of the Alumni Association included a membership campaign; a social for CHS faculty and staff retirees; establishing a scholarship program for graduating seniors (the first recipient was Dennis Smeal ’75); building additional trophy cases for North Hall; establishing a newsletter for members; and participating in the 1975 football homecoming.

The first major renovation project of the Alumni Association came in 1977 following destruction of the Tiger by vandals. In a joint effort with the Associated Student Body, over $3,500 was raised to have the damaged Tiger repaired by its sculptor, Betty Davenport Ford ’42 (and 1980 Tiger of the Year), and relocated to the foyer of Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium. (Eventually the students responsible for the vandalism were identified, and their families contributed an additional $2,250 toward repair of the Tiger.)

Establishment of the “Tiger Fund” led to other renovation projects on campus–repainting the foyer of GWS Auditorium; refinishing the chairs and tables in the Chaffey Memorial Library; patching, repairing, and painting the two main reading rooms. For these projects, and appeal for funds was made to alumni, who responded generously.

In 1982, Harold “Tony” Zenz ’28 approached the Alumni Association with a proposal: to create a special subcommittee of the Association called the Committee to Restore Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium. The proposal was accepted by the Board of Directors, and this became the main focus of fundraising activities for the next seven years. Due to the untiring efforts of Mr. Zenz and his committee, over $800,000 was raised and spent on refurbishing GWS Auditorium. The original committee completed its task and disbanded in 1989; however, in 1990 Mr. Zenz began a new committee (also under the umbrella of the Alumni Association) to raise funds for improvement and enhancements to the Auditorium.

In 1983 the family of former basketball coach Jim Blake established a memorial scholarship fund in his honor, entrusting the Alumni Association to administer the fund and to select a recipient annually. This scholarship is for student-athletes–those who demonstrate superior athletic ability in addition to academic excellence. The Jim Blake Memorial Scholarship Fund is increased each year by contributions from alumni, the family of Coach Blake, and the proceeds of the varsity/alumni basketball game held in December in the basketball gym on campus.

The Tiger Hall of Fame was established in 1978 for the purpose of honoring outstanding alumni. Nominations are open all year long and may be submitted by any member of the Alumni Association. A subcommittee of the Board of Directors considers all applications, then recommends a candidate. Final selection is made by the entire Board of Directors. The award is presented to the recipient at the annual baccalaureate service, and the recipient then addresses the senior class. Also presented are the annual Association scholarships; certificates for students achieving a 4.0 or better GPA; attendance awards; and service awards.

In the Alumni Office on campus, the Association maintains memorabilia, photographs, and other items of interest that have been donated by alumni or their families. Also maintained is a complete set of Fastis, beginning with the Class of 1910. (When available, surplus copies of Fastis from any year may be purchased from the Association.) The Association has commissioned a cloisonné pin and t-shirt that are available for purchase.

Many alumni, family, and friends have made donations to the Association. Memorial gifts of cash are often received and are acknowledged in the Tiger Rag Alumni Edition. In 1984, artist Robert Lyn Nelson ’73 and 1986 Tiger of the Year donated four of his lithographs to the Association; they hang in the South Reading Room of the library.

Over the years the Alumni Association has sponsored a number of social activities including receptions for CHS faculty and staff; refreshments following baccalaureate services; reception for alumni following homecoming; reception for the Tiger of the Year; and All-Alumni Picnic.

Association members keep informed of events for alumni, class reunions, and other news of interest via the Tiger Rag Alumni Edition. Published three or four times per year, the Tiger Rag reports current fundraising and social activities, provides news about alumni, gives the status of restoration projects, and provides news of class reunions. The newsletter is mailed to all paid members of the Association.

In an effort to assist classes that are planning reunions, the Alumni Association maintains computerized listings of class members as a supplement to those maintained by individual classes. These listings also enable the Association to answer questions about alumni and provide the opportunity for classmates to locate each other.

We have been told that it is unusual for a high school to have an active Alumni Association. We reply that “unusual” is what Chaffey High School is all about. If you are interested in becoming a member of this unusual organization, please write to the Alumni Association, 1245 North Euclid Avenue, Ontario, CA 91762. Include your name, maiden name, address, year of graduation, and annual dues ($20 per person, $25 per couple). You will receive a membership card and latest edition of the Tiger Rag by return mail.

Once you’re a Tiger, you’re a Tiger for life!