History Of Loara
By Paul Chylinski

with thanks to those who have added to and corrected 
the information in this continuing account *

last updated 3/31/2003

Preface | Colors & Mascot | General "Firsts" | Newspaper & Yearbook | Drama | Speech | Band Family | Choir | Landmarks | Basketball | Wrestling | Football | Baseball | Track & XCountry | Tennis | Swimming | Badminton | Other Sports | Athlete of the Year | Academic Competitions | Kiwanis | Celebrity Alumni | Activities | Back


In the years I have been teaching United States History I have always included a day in which we learn about the History of Loara High School.  History of a school has just as much to do with the traditions and spirit of the school as does the members of the faculty, staff and student body for that particular year. 

When Loara received the Distinction as a California Distinguished School in 1996, the interviewers that came onto our campus were asking things like "how do you do what you do",  "what is the magic", "why didn't you apply sooner?"  and wished that we could "bottle up the magic" of the school and share it with others.  We know that Loara is a special place and always will be, (Once a Saxon, Always a Saxon) but all of us know that it's the history of the school, the people that have graced it's halls since 1962, that makes it the way it is. 

There are many people that are part of the traditions and it continues through today, and hopefully beyond.  For years I have been borrowing" John Dahlem's The meaning of Loara  written in 1982 and Louis Booth's writing of Loara in One to Twenty Eight, A History of the Anaheim Union High School District (1980) to teach my classes.  When Dr. John Dahlem returned to Loara High School as the principal in 1996, I felt compelled to update this journey, the events, and the History of Loara.  Included in this History is a compilation of all the facts, meaning, and things that I could scurry up with the help of all the faculty, staff, retirees and graduates of Loara.  As a graduate of Loara in 1982  and a teacher since 1988 it's the least I could do to let "her memory always linger" and make "her traditions live long too."

I would also like to thank Mrs. Ruth Wilkoff for believing in me when I was a student and unknowingly encouraging me to become a teacher.  Also a big thank you to the faculty and staff that made me feel welcomed in the early 80's as a student and that same staff (with minor alterations) welcoming me back in 1987 as a teacher.

1996-97 School Year 
Paul Chylinski
Activities Director
Psychology/ United States History
Loara High School

Scarlet red, gold and white (after Hawthorne High School) were chosen as the school colors, and the Saxon became the mascot (the prototype was drawn by a Hollywood artist, Leon Harris, in 1944 for Thomason's YMCA groups, the Saxons.

Bob Adler was the first student body president who headed a government that was able to get the school well established early in the year, although the first semester was on a different campus.

Making up the first group of cheer and song leaders with Kay Malucky as advisor were cheerleaders Lynn Sneddon (head), Cindy Huff, Barb Tenhagen, and Ellen Manheimer.  Song leaders were Linda Barker (head), Lynn Hachten, Glenda Michael, Michelle Parker, and Jackie Carmichael.

The first king and queen of the school were Mike Meadows and Cathy Arnold, who reigned over the Winter Wonderland Dance.  Another event that first year was the Faculty All Stars pitted against the Harlem Clowns.

By the second year, clubs were beginning to make a difference in campus life. One of the first and most active was the Girls' League, which scheduled exciting events, such as a winter and spring formal dance, a fashion show, a mother-daughter banquet, and a spring picnic.  For projects the girls collected and sent clothing to the Albert Sitton Home and bought a movie screen and microphone for the school.

The Red Tie Club is a football award group.  Athletes dress in slacks and either red or gold blazers on the day of a game.  The wearing of the red tie is a mark of pride by those who have earned the right.

Under the direction of Eugene Mitch, the drama students presented a successful evening at Anaheim Auditorium with the play THE BIG QUACK.

President of the Junior Class that second year was Mike Pence, later to be teacher and coach at his alma mater.  One of his sports assignments was to be the first male coach of the girls basketball team (1976-78). Other firsts are listed under their particular headings.

Journalism began with Dorothy McPhillips as advisor. The first yearbook appeared the spring of 1964 with no special name.  The school newspaper was mimeographed until the third year when the SAXON SHIELD was edited by Debi Murdoch.  The second yearbook bore the title SEAXE (named for the Saxon weapon that appears on the Loara crest), edited by Sue Hull.

By 1968-69, Doris Lowman was the advisor, and for the first time the newspaper was rated All-American by the National Scholastic Press Association.  That same year, the Loara writers won sweepstakes at the annual County-on-the-Spot Writing Contest, in February.  Mrs. Lowman left Loara after that year, and Mike Roe took over the newspaper for several years.

Various teachers advised the annual staff until Keni Robinson Christensen was put in charge of the journalism department in 1975-76.  Linda Esping took over the Saxon Shield to many accolades and accomplishments.  Her paper has been recognized by the Orange County Register.  Joyzelle Davis, Zachary Winnick, Nathan Orme.

Replacing Eugene Mitch as drama coach in the fall of 1964 was William 
Bottolfson, who held that position until the fall of 1977, when he worked 
full time in the English department.  Drama as a class, was discontinued on 
the Loara master schedule.  During his 13 years as drama coach, Bottolfson 
had many fine thespians, among whom was Darren Kelly, star of ARMS AND THE MAN with Cathy White.  Kelly's versatility included playing the starring role in the music-drama production of MUSIC MAN.  Later, Kelly played in the television series ALL MY CHILDREN.  Drama was put back on the master schedule in 1997 and Drama teacher David Seagraves has brought most of the traditions back to the Loara auditorium.  Major productions have included Romeo and Juliet, 12 Angry Women and others.  The first major musical during the 1998-99 school year was West Side Story, which marked a comeback for the Loara Drama department.  In 2000 David Seagraves won the award for Outstanding Theatre Arts Teacher in Orange County. 

Speech at Loara attained competition excellence under the coaching of William Grier, who had a top forensic squad in 1969.  In February, his speech team went to the Southwestern Forensic Championship Tournament in Arizona, where it won sweepstakes in the Spring Varsity Meet, and Chris Love won first over 80 other contestants in Dramatic Interpretation.  Grier left Loara at the end of that year. 

Although Speech was continued with tournaments, coached by Omer Tomlinson, the fashion of such contest was waning,  When Tomlinson left the faculty in 1976, no replacement was hired, and speech was discontinued from the curriculum.

BAND FAMILY also see www.loaraband.org
During the first year of the school, Richard Marino established the Saxon Band for 35 members.  He had, in addition, an orchestra of 15 members.  By the second year, he had 116 musicians in new uniforms of black and white with 14 inch white shakos.  The first drum majorette was Margery Jo Black.  The first big win for the Marching Saxons was in the Santa Ana Christmas parade with three trophies:  first in their division, sweepstakes for the best band in the entire parade, and first place for Rick Hodge, the military drum major.  Between January and April, Marino converted his marchers into a concert band.

For 1966-67, Loara Band was named "Show Band of the Western States."  Then the fall of 1968, Hall Hurwitz led the group to Sweepstakes in the All-Western Band Review, the State Championship, where competition was with 70 bands.

George Beyer, newly graduated from California State University at Fullerton, was hired to assist Marino in 1973.  Loara's band had the largest number of musicians in the District.  The 1972-73 group had numbered 320 (240 band, 64 drill team, and 16 banners.)

The long list of impressive wins for the Saxon Band was highlighted with the
prestigious honors of 1977-78:  Sweepstakes at All-Western Band Review, Arcadia Review, Santa Monica Review, Tournament of Champions at Chaffey, La Mesa Western States Tournament of Champions.

Many fine musicians from Loara have made successful careers in music.  Karen Tkaezyk was named the most outstanding trumpet player in Southern California, and Dana Sundene was named top oboe player in Southern California honor groups.  Numerous musicians are in the professional field, while some are band directors in Southern California:  Gary Eakens, Gary Hoffman, and Mark Lower. 

William Schoreder, an alumnus of Loara, took over the helm of the band from
Marino, and has had numerous success with the bands as well.  Loara began staging its own band review near the Loara campus toward the beginning of the school year.  In 1995-96, with the encouragement of the Senior Class President Teri Clemens, and Activities Director Paul Chylinski (also an alumnus of Loara), this review has become tied in with the Homecoming festivities and the King and Queen candidates are the only non-band participants in the review. The Loara Fall Festival, rides and food, is one of the largest community events held in recent years from Loara.

Two groups of girls on campus add much color and spirit to the band.  They're the Valkyrie Drill Team and the Courtiers, flag and banner girls.  Elaine 
Hess started the drill team in the fall of 1963 with 40 girls, who gave their 
first performance at the Anaheim Halloween Parade.  By spring 1964, the girls presented the first in the long series of "Spring Shows."  Jean Tomarelli 
organized the Courtiers in 1970 to march with the drill team and band as pageantry escorts.  In the 90's the team's have evolved into more of a competition squad.  The Drill team is now known as the Dance team and competes throughout Southern California.  The Courtiers go by several names throughout the school year, Flags, Color guard and Winter Guard.  They have gone to Nationals frequently in the late 90's and received a 2nd place title in 1999 while performining to "Amazing Grace" sung by LeeAnne Rhimes.  Our Drum Squad has also broken away at times and done court shows and has been slowly moving up the National rankings as a squad to be reckond with.  They placed 1st in the world in Dayton Ohio in 2000.  Quite a feat in their division.

The vocal section of the music department was first directed by Edwin Grace, who had a mixed chorus and a girls' glee club the first year.  The Chamber Singers were organized the second year.  In November, the A Capella Choir sponsored a "Hootennanny" to make money for choir robes.  Preston Wolff succeeded Grace in 1964.  Many memorable performances marked his 14 years at Loara.  In 1971, the group won the first Carol Fest in Newport Beach and received $600 in prize money.  They repeated the award the next year. 

Saxon singers have sung for executives of Radio KNOB at their Christmas party.  While there, the public relations man from Columbia Pictures invited the Chamber Singers to perform for the premiere of the movie OLIVER, when it opened in Hollywood.  Accepting his offer, the Saxons sang in front of the theater as the stars arrived for the show.

Each spring the Chamber Singers have had a tour to Salt Lake City.  One year, they sang for the Tabernacle Choir and got a spontaneous standing ovation from that famous group.

In July 1977, Wolff took his singers to England and Wales, where they sang in many places; the most exciting was in Abarsita, Wales.  There, they were met  by the Lord Mayor, who in turn presented them to the townfolk, before their performance.  Another thrill on this tour was singing in the new Coventry Cathedral and in the Grear Barr Methodist Church in Birmingham, England.

Many talented singers, trained by Wolff, have had professional careers.  Karen Stein was active in a children's theater in the East before going to France to sing in Paris nightclubs.  Becky Alcone has sung dramatic soprano roles in Los Angeles.  Bruce Bouchard was graduated from the University of California Irvine with a combined major in music, drama, and dance.  He has played minor roles in New York.  Bruce Bales is a vocal director in Orange County.

With Wolff on a leave of absence for 1977-1981, Stan Hill from Ball Junior 
High School filled the roll of maestro, carrying on the excellence that has 
been the pride of the school.  Stan left Loara to become the conductor of the 
San Francisco All Gay Men's Choir and has had numerous accolades for his 
program.  Brian Beavers was Director from 1982-1984 in which time the choir won the Park Newport and received a medal in the Johnny Mann competitions.  During his tenure, the Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and Once Upon a Mattress were produced.  Ken Tuttle then Paul Raheb brought back the traditions of musicals to Loara.  With Tracy Taylor (Drama teacher at the time), Raheb started off small with an original composition, then in 1996 produced Guys and Dolls to a raving crowd in the Saxon auditorium.  In 1997 Loara hired a Drama teacher, David Seagraves to continue this tradition and build a Drama Department like Loara's hey days.  In 1998 Raheb left Loara and Sean McKee took over the helm of the Saxon choral department. 

A landmark on the campus is the Senior Circle with its Saxon statue.  The first plans for this area were made by Senior Class President Larry Lawrence at an assembly in October 1964.  The following January, the students collected 4,500 bottles which they sold to get $150 toward their project. 

The next summer, the blacktop was torn up in the central patio and work began on the circle with most of the brickwork being finished at that time.  The tragic death of Larry Lawrence that summer as he was vacationing in Italy came as he was trying to rescue two young girls from drowning.  This prompted the Student Cabinet to call an emergency meeting, at which the circle was named the Larry Lawrence Memorial Circle.

The completion of this project was set for spring 1966 with a Saxon statue.  Art student Artie Perez designed such a figure and set to work on it, but he graduated in 1966 with the work incomplete.  At this time, art teacher Bill Ahlvers and Ron Tracy became involved in the project.  Tracy presented two different designs for the statue, one realistic and one not.  The realistic one was chosen, and he began his work.  In the meantime, Pete Van Houton, who was to become Student body President for 1968-69, set some money making schemes during his sophomore year in an effort to get the project finished.  Gifts from graduating classes paid for three walkways, the brick pillars joined by chains and shade trees between the palms,  These were dedicated march 17, 1969.

Assistant Principal Robert Ross was also helpful in getting the project completed.  A part of the money collected was through the sale of shares (50 cents each) and bonds which put the purchaser's name on a scroll that was embedded in a plaque by the circle.  The Class of 1980 is to open the plaque and send a letter to each of the names on the scroll.

Like most statues, Sammy Saxon has had his problems remaining in his proper environment, as vandals like to pay him a visit and leave Sammy in such a poor condition that he has to take a vacation in the shop for repairs.


Loara basketball tipped off in 1962-63 with immediate success finishing 12-4, Head Coach Paul Scheer's team finished 2nd place in the Orange League.  The first league championship came in 1963-64, when Coach Luther Olson's (current University of Arizona basketball coach) basketball team took the title. The Orange League championship was won on Brent Romney's sudden death, tie breaking shot.  For 1965-66 Virgil Webb coached another group of hoopsters to the Irvine League Title.  Top players in the 60's include Dave Boyles 67-69, Tom Reddington 65-67, and Denny Nicholas 67-69.

The 1970's best team was coached by Tom Boight.  The 1972-73 Saxons finished 20-7, the winningest team in school history.  Top players off that squad include Steve Peterson, Jeff Jones and Kevin Flynn.

While in the Empire League the hoopsters have had some tough challenges. In the eighties some key players were Paul Ackers 80-82, Dave Lappin 81-83, Wade Clester 83-86.

The 90's got off to a fast start with the Saxon's exploding for 15 wins in 
the 89-90 season. 1990-91 saw current head coach Ed Prange take over and the Saxons qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons.  The team featured All-American Tes Whitlock who averaged over 33 points a game.  Whitlock set a county record that year by scoring 68 points against 
Saddleback High School.  Playoff years were also obtained in 1994 and 
1996. Loara won its first Empire League Championship in 33 years in the 
1997-98 season tied with Katella and won outright in 1999.  Herbert Gracia 
was named MVP for the league and for the County for his playing, rebounds and shooting. 

For the girls, the Empire League Title in basketball came the spring of 1978, 
when Mike Pence took his second year team to the playoffs.  There the girls 
lost to Long Beach Poly.  Saxon star was Cheryl Peterson. Tracy Titas set a 
county record by scoring 68 points.

Saxon wrestlers won the Sunset League Title in 1974 and 1976, repeating in the Empire League in 1977, '78, '79, '80. '81, '82, '83, '84 Coach John Dahlem (1970-84) established a Hall of Fame for Loara wrestlers in 1971, after contacting former Loara wrestling coaches Luis Ruiz (1965-67 and 1969), and Tom Dorosky (1968-70).  Highest achievements by Loara wrestlers have been the two State Championships won by Bruce Terry (98 pound class) in 1978 and 1979.  His honors included First Team All American, Big A Empire Wrestler of the Decade, and First Team All California Century Wrestling Team.  In Loara's History for state ranking, Mike Engle (130 pounds) was second in the State 1976, Cain Waldron was 3rd in the state, Craig Bogard was 6th in the state 1982, Chris White 5th in the State. 

In  a 14 year period, Loara wrestlers had 233 wins, 36 loses, and two ties, as well as ten league championships.  They placed second in the entire CIF in 1979, first in 1983, second in 1984 and first in 1985.  Since then Loara has gone through many coaching changes with alumni such as Mark Lake and John Gallo taking the helm. It wasn't until 1995 that Loara recaptured the League title and sent wrestlers to state.  Under coach Ted Stefel the Saxons also took 5th in CIF with Anthony Pham and Richard Meza taking individual firsts.  Although Pham did not place in state, Meza took 5th in 1995. 

In 1997 Larry Hadley has taken over the program and has been working on a successful program, winning the Empire League Chapionship in 1997,1998, 1999 and winning 2 CIF Championships (Team and Individual) in 1999.

Head Football Coach since the school opened has been Herb Hill, now noted as one of the veteran coaches of Orange County.  He led the Saxon teams to Irvine championships in 1964, '65, '67, '68, and '69;  Empire League titles in 1976, '77, and '79.  Highlight of football on this campus was the winning of the CIF (AAA) Championship in 1968 and the CIF Southern Conference in 1979.  Outstanding among the players for Loara have been Fred Feetham (All CIF Back 966),  Steve Lehmer (All CIF Tackle 1966), Steve Longo (All Orange County Co-Player of the Year with Rick Senteno of Los Alamitos), Kevin McLain (All County 1970, All American at Colorado State in 1974, and a member of the Los Angeles Rams 1976-79), Bob Caffrey, quarterback, was Empire League Player of the Year (1979).  He scored 32 touchdown passes, the third best single season total in CIF history.

"Tommy" Thomason, the first principal of Loara, tells a story about the early years of football at Loara.  One morning he received a telephone call from La Quinta High School, whose principal wanted to see Thomason right away on the LaQuinta campus.  Suspecting that something had been done by Loara students, Thomason took one of his administrators with him and hurried to the other campus.  There he found to his disgust that someone had painted "Loara Saxons" with spray paint on many of the walls, and a homemade flag was flying.  The vandals had also burned our school's name into the grass of the LaQuinta football field.

Back at Loara, Thomason called in persons that he thought might give him clues as to who had done the trick.  He had decided that he had to find out who had done it and mete out justifiable punishment to forestall future activities of this sort.  It was not long before he knew that eight of the first string football players had done the deed.  Thomason called in the players and suspended them from being in the LaQuinta game that was to be played that week.

Thomason was besieged with pressure from the athletic department and parents of the suspended players.  Around eleven o'clock at night, Thomason received a call from a parent that asked him to come to the patron's house.  When Thomason arrived, he found a house full of parents who tried to persuade him into letting the boys play the game.  But he did not relent.  Much to his pleasure, Loara with much of its team second-string, won the game by a large score, which underlined Thomason's faith in what was morally right.

Long a stronghold in baseball, Loara's teams were, until 1979-80, coached by Floyd Chandler.  His boys won league titles in 1965, 1968, and '69 in the Irvine League; in 1972 in the Sunset League; 1976 and 1977 in the Empire League.  For the spring of 1979, Chandler coached his last team at Loara, and it was the first year in seven that his boys had not gone to the CIF Playoffs.  Scott Pickler picked up the ball and brought back many successes for Loara.

Mike Adams, 1966, was a star baseball player for the Saxons and MVP his junior and senior year. Son of Chicago Cubs infielder Bobby Adams, Mike made the big leagues in 1972 with the Minnesota Twins.

In1983 the team won the C.I.F. Championship...by far the biggest accomplishment of the Scrappin Saxon Baseball Club!!

Ron Leon, who graduated in 1980, was Orange county player of the year and all CIF first team.  He  played for the 1980 California All-State baseball team and also played 3 years of professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Other players that went on to play minor and major league baseball were George Zeber, Jeff Patterson, Charlie Gipson, Aarron France, Bob Caffrey and John Fishel.

Track & Cross Country
William "Bill Cochrane served as Loara track coach from 1963-75.  During his 13 seasons, he had 82 wins and 39 losses, which included four league titles and six District titles.  Cross Country runners won the Irvine League in 1964, while the track teams of 1965, 1968, and 1969 did the same. 

The next league championship was the major division win in the Sunset League in 1974 in Cross Country under David Hurlburt.  Place winners in State Meets were Steve Lehmer (1966), third in discus; Dennis Walp, fifth in pole vault; Steve Baxter (1971), fourth in the long jump;  Ralph Serna was one of the school's outstanding long distance runners:  1973 CIF Individual Cross Country (two miles in the rain) 9:41.6; 1974 CIF Individual Cross Country 10:03 and fifth in the mile in track;  1975 second in the State for the Two Mile and with the best time in the nation in the Mile, 4:07.0.  Serna had a scholarship to the University of California Irvine, where he was national Collegiate Athletic Association (Division 2) Cross Country Champion in both his freshman and sophomore years.  Dan Ripley (1971) held the world indoor pole vault record from January 1975 until February 1978 at 18'33/4" and again from January 1979 to February 1980 at 18'53/4". 

With Hurlburt coaching cross country, Loara's team was league champs for 1978-79.  Stars were Mike Serna, Rick Obrigawitch, Ken Bishop, matt Simpson, Scott Burch, Tracy Lowe, and Bob Lewis.

Tennis, coached by Bill Baca, was in the winning columns of the Irvine League in 1964 and 1965, as well as the Crestview league in 1966.  Bob Metz directed the racket boys when they won the Irvine League in 1967 and 1969.  Sam Crilly was the coach for 1970, another league championship year.  The big title came in 1966 with the CIF.  Players, such as Mike Cereseto, that year, had four straight wins in singles; Dick Harding and Dennis Kelly with three wins each; and Scott Nagle with two in the CIF matches.  The tennis team won 15 straight Irvine League matches during this season.  Even the junior varsity had a 55 match winning streak, when it started its 1967 season.

Tennis has been a popular girl's sport.  The 1975-76 team, coached by Alex Wampler, won the Anaheim City League Championship.  The next year her girls were Empire League Champions.  Co-Championship with Cypress in 1978-79 put Loara as the first place team to represent the League in the CIF Playoffs.  That year the coach was Lisa Nuckolls.  For 1977-78, Chris Walker and Marian Lopez represented the league in the individuals at the CIF.  In 1978-80, Karen Connolly and Patty Bretsky were League representatives in the doubles at the CIF, while Lisa Curtis was representative in the singles.

The opening of the swimming pool in 1974 gave Loara another exciting dimension in athletics.  The water polo teams, coached by Jackie Husband (Loara's first woman to coach an all male sport and probably the first in Orange County) directed her swimmers to Co-League Championship with Los Alamitos in 1977.  That year Bernie Glasser was named Dr. Pepper Player of the Year and the League's Most Valuable Player, and Mrs. Husband was named Coach of the Year. 

While at Loara, Charleen Shinoda became the school's most outstanding swimmer, when she was named to the All American Swimmer list.  Others representing Loara at the CIF individuals were Brian Blacketer, Kelly Cooley and  Laura Neff (1982).

Badminton has long been popular with guys and girls alike.  Monica Ortiz was the CIF-SS Singles Champion in 1974.  In 1979, she was All-American for Arizona State.  The first year for co-educational badminton at Loara was 1979-80, when the team was League Champions, with Monica Ortiz as coach.  Outstanding in girls' singles was Chris Walker, while Jay Park was for the boys.  Chris was defeated only once in three years of League play.  The two represented the League in the CIF Playoffs in Singles and Mixed doubles.  They advanced to the Quarter Finals in mixed doubles, Chris went to  the quarter finals, while Jay lost in the first round of the individual competition.

Under the coaching of Diane Sweeny the Badminton team took the CIF-SS finals away from Magnolia in a dramatic turn of events.   Sweeny was also chosen League and CIF-SS Coach of the Year.

Other Sports
Although popular at the time some sports have not lasted the test of time at Loara or in the County (citing budget cuts or popularity).  From the first year of the school, Kay Malucky had been head of the girls' physical education and athletic department.  She coached the 1974 archery team to a City League Championship and a second place in 1975.  Robin Dubach was the League individual contestant on the balance beam in gymnatsics in 1976-77.  Christie Dubach won first place in individuals for Cross Country at the 1977-78 League Meet.

Athlete of the Year (female)
Many high awards have been won by girl athletes at Loara.  From 1962 until the fall of 1975, when girls entered CIF competition, Loara had one of the finest GAA organizations in the Anaheim district.  The year that the school was required to enter the girls in the CIF, 200 girls were in the GAA program.  Of the many girls who have been outstanding in athletics at Loara, the major winners for Athlete of the year have been the following:  Sheri Connelly, Athlete of the Year (1975-76); Cheryl Peterson, Athlete of the Year (1976-77 and 1977-78), also an outstanding basketball player for three years (1976-79), in volleyball (1977-78), and field hockey (1976-77), and is in the CIF Record Book for holding three records since 1977; Chris Walker, Athlete of the Year (1978-79 and 1979-80), earned a varsity letter in each of three sports for three years  (the only girl and possible the only Saxon ever to achieve this honor).  She was outstanding in Badminton (1978-80), basketball (1977-78), tennis (1977-80),  and high point winner of the school for 1978-79.  Loree Topjian was Saxonette of the Year (1977-78) and outstanding softball player (1978-79).  Melody Beyler was Saxonette of the Year 1979-80. 

Charles Gipson won the male Athlete of the Year Award (1990-91), the same time Tracy Titus won the same for the girls. He played 3 sports for all four years; football, basketball and baseball. He won the first "Hill Award" for football under Coach DeFries.  He now plays Major League ball for the Seatle Mariners.

Sara Schantz excelled in swimming for 1975-76, tennis 1976-78 and was a high point winner for her school in both 1977 and 1978.  Maggie Crowe was the school's best softball player (1976-78).  Robyn Dubach was the school best gymnast (1975-78).

Of the Loara girls who have achieved distinction as athletes after leaving Loara, probably the highest award was won by Dana Schoenfield, when she captured the Olympic Silver Medal in the butterfly at Munich Swimming Meet in 1972.  Luanne Van Hunnik was Loara's Most Valuable Player in archery in 1977 then went to Cypress College, where she excelled for two years.  Following which she attended Cal State Fullerton , where she was named to the All-American Archery Team (fall of 1979).  And she was in the qualifying trials for the Olympic team.


Mock Trial
Since it began at Loara in 1981-82, Loara has had a winning tradition with the Mock Trial Competition.  Headed up by Richard Barron the team has placed in the top 10 most of its History.  The first year they captured a fourth place standing. The greatest success came in 1990 when the team, with Barron and attorney coach Fred Delessio won the county championship and went to Sacramento to compete in the state competition. 

From 1991-1993 Bob Blanton continued the competitive tradition and then in 1994 the team, under the directorship of Paul Chylinski, a member of the first Loara Mock Trial Team, turned Loara teacher, and the lawyer coach Marc Zimmerman the team placed 3rd in the county out of 50 schools.  More notably at the awards banquet put on by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (the competition coordinators), Gloria Terry was recognized for her outstanding speeches and orations, this award is the only individual trophy given by the organization to a participant, and for third place team to capture, was a true accomplishment. 

In 1995 Richard Barron took the team back for one year, after Chylinski passed the reigns when he took over ASB, and brought them to a second place finish (the second time in our history, the first being against El Dorado in). 

Kiwanis has always been a strong part of Loara High School, the greatest success came in 1990 when the Trivia Buffs won the Cal-Neva Competition and was ranked nationally.  The team of Joyzelle Davis, Chris , Jayson Fadgen, John Seng, and their coach Linda Esping traveled to Rice University to compete.  Seeing as it was their first national competition the team was unaware of what faced them but still placed high in the rankings.  More notably, the team shared many first on their trip such as, first air flight, first time ice skating, first time out of the city, let alone the state. 

Naturally, many of Loara alumni have made special marks in their life's work. 

  • Tim Buckley (65), folk-rock performer, enjoyed some early acclaim with lyricist, Larry Beckett (65), and released nine albums before his death in 1975.  One of their collaborations, Morning Glory, was recorded by "Blood Sweat And Tears" on their album, "Child Is Father To The Man" in 1968.  Jim Fielder¹, ² (65), bass guitarist for the early trio, went on to perform with "Buffalo Springfield" and was a founding member of "Blood, Sweat and Tears".  He's been performing with the "Niel Sedaka Band" for the past 23 years. 
  • Mike Adams (66), son of Chicago Cubs infielder Bobby Adams, Mike made the big leagues in 1972 with the Minnesota Twins where he played with Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew. His 10+ year career included stints with the Twins, Cubs and Oakland A's.  Mike's special moment was when he homered off Texas Ranger's pitching phenom, David Clyde, on national television. 

  • Nancy Carlberg (66) was a researcher for Alex Haley and Norman Lear and their TAT Television Productions.  She traveled to interesting places in quest for information for the writings that Haley published. 
  • George Zeber (68), Saxon shortstop, played in the 1978 World Series for the Yankees. 
  • Darren Kelly (69) who played Harold Hill in Loara's production of The Music Man pursued an acting career, and could be found in the 70s on the day-time soap opera, "All My Children".  Later he was also seen in an episode of "MASH". 
  • David Diggs (70) received distinction when "Billboard" rated him one of the top three New Jazz Artists in 1985. 
  • Dana Schoenfeld (71) won a silver medal for the women's 200 meter breast stroke in the '72 Munich Olympic games. 
  • Dan Ripley (71) held the world indoor pole vault record several times during 1976-77. 
  • Kevin McLain (72) was an All American and first round draft choice for the L.A. Rams. 
  • Steven M. Porter (75), another Music Man cast member, has had roles in nearly a dozen movies and several television series, including a supporting role in an episode of "The X-Files". 
  • Stacey Swain, aka Stacey Q, (76), had a  hit with "Two of hearts" which reached number three on the pop charts in 1986.  After several albums, she left music to pursue an acting career with movies, Dance Traxx ('87) and One Man Force ('89) to her credit. She returned to her music career with the release of her album "Boomerang" in 1997. 
  • Robin Tosawi-Marshall (80) has been a casting director and Native American consultant on many film and television projects.  She is currently being considered as a consultant to Ron Howard's remake of the Alamo. 
  • George Bennett was elected as Captain of his water polo team at West Point in 1980, the first plebe ever nominated for that honor.  He was also named the Academy's Most Valuable Player, again as the first plebe for that honor. 
  • Leonard Rumery (Ph.D. in musicology) is a professor of music and choral director at the University of Illinois. 
  • Tom Norminton was student body president at UCLA and is now an attorney in West Los Angeles. 
  • Larry Emond became the Student Body President at San Diego State. 
  • Karen Washburn, (77) Senior Class Vice President and lead in the that year's play is now the radio personality 'Karen Kelly' at Buckeye Country, 106.5 FM in Miami Valley, Ohio <www.buckeye1065.com>.
  • Gwen (87) and Eric Stefani (85) began the band "No Doubt" and their album "Tragic Kingdom" was #1 on the Billboard Top 20 and The Rolling Stone Readers Top Ten album charts.  The song, "Just A Girl", was featured in the movie "Clueless".  Eric has since left the band and has gone back to drawing for the "Simpsons". 
  • Charles Gipson (91) made the Seatle Mariner'sOpening Night roster and made his Major League debut on March 31, 1998 vs. Cleveland as a defensive replacement. He stole his first Major League base on April 3 vs. Boston and was 2x4 with two runs vs. New York on April 7, his first two hits with Seattle.
  • Jeff Buckley (son of Tim Buckley above) had two critically acclaimed albums, "Grace" being the biggest, before his untimely death in 1997. 
  • Augie Nieto is Chairman of Life Fitness, Inc., developer of the "Lifecycle" excersize bike. 
  • Orlando Galvan (01), 103 llbs. is the 2000 CIF State Wrestling Champion.
  • Dyana "Pudge" Ornalez (04), holds many national and regional boxing titles in her weight class including the U.S. Jr. Olympic Champion for 1999/2000, National Jr. Golden Gloves Champion for 2000/2001, Golden Gloves District Champion and U.S. Women’s District Champion for 2002.  She also received the Sports Award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orange County in 2002.  The Sports Award is presented to the most noted Orange County Sports figure.  See also the 2002 team roster for the 2002 Women's U.S. Boxing Championships. 

Loara won the outstanding activities program of the year award in 1994 under the direction of Alden Esping and the ASB President David Dorosky.  Alden Esping also won the state, region and national award for the outstanding activities director of the year.  Paul Chylinski won the Outstanding Activities Director for Orange County, 
San Bernardino, and Riverside through an organization called CADA (Calif. 
Assoc. of Directors of Activities) in 2000.  Loara ASB was recognized as an Outstanding Activities Program in California from the same organization.

The number of activities directors at Loara are far less than most schools in the district.  Many studies show the turn over for activities directors is the greatest in most areas.  The following served as activities directors:  L.D. Weaver, Mike Pence, Joe Smith, Jerry Halpin (198? -90), Alden Esping (1990-95), Paul Chylinski (1995-Current).

Preface | Colors & Mascot | General "Firsts" | Newspaper & Yearbook | Drama | Speech | Band Family | Choir | Landmarks | Basketball | Wrestling | Football | Baseball | Track & XCountry | Tennis | Swimming | Badminton | Other Sports | Athlete of the Year | Academic Competitions | Kiwanis | Celebrity Alumni | Activities | Back

* Thanks to Ken Hecker, Class of 66, for his wealth of information

Copyright ©2001-2003 Paul Chylinski