The Half Moon Bay High 70’s Reunion–the CCAA inspiration

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        It would be fair to say, in large part, that the final HMBHS 70’s reunion which was held the weekend of July 20-22, 2012 inspired the formation of the CCAA.  This was the third of such reunions, which included everyone who graduated in the 70’s on the guest list, and which soon expanded to those who graduated in the 60’s as well as the  80’s. In fact, all alumni were welcome at the event.

        These events were put on by a handful of inspired alumni, including one of our own board members, Cathy Voisard, and was led by Alumni Mark Center, Class of 1977.  Each of the three reunion weekends took five years of planning and dedication to realize.  The reunion team was driven by their love of the coastside, and by the shared memories that only those of us who grew up in Half Moon Bay can understand.

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      The first reunion was held in 2002, the second in 2007.  But it was the final reunion in 2012 which seemed to bring together alumni in a way that can only be described as transformational.

    The reunion weekend of 2012 boasted of 600+ guests, including dozens of teachers, and it would have been even more, if the reunion committee wasn’t forced to put a cap on the guest list for reasons of safety and fire codes.  Alumni flew in from all over the country to be with their classmates; one even came from as far as Turkey to attend.  The line to get in the main event on Saturday went around the block.  The event was sold out, and the reunion team was forced to turn away countless alumni who hadn’t purchased their tickets in time.

    The weekend brought together people who hadn’t seen one another in decades, and the love that filled the streets of Half Moon Bay that weekend which will never be forgotten.

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      And it was this final reunion which really seemed to transform so many people’s lives as well as  their dedication to their coastal community.  It seemed to light a fire in so many people’s bellies and made us all realize the connections we share with one another are special and rare.  And not unlike harnessing the wind or the sun to generate energy, the CCAA were inspired to harness the energy of the 70’s reunion to keep the fires burning.  The CCAA decided to keep the momentum of that love and to give back to our community in every way that we can.

‘JD’ John Donovan Benefit–another CCAA inspiration

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On the heels of the 70’s Reunion, which connected so many of us, and with that feeling of love in the air, there was a cancer fund benefit held for alumni John Donovan who was suffering from non-hodgkin lymphoma.  Because of his illness, John could not resume work in his trade as a carpenter, and his medical bills and other expenses were mounting.

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Marilyn Johnson, alumni class of ‘1977 partnered to hold a benefit for John in Pescadero.  It would be a wild game feed, with all food donated.  There would also be a raffle and a silent auction with all prizes donated as well.  Even the music that night would be a donation, with all funds going directly to John and his family.

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Alumni Jack Quinlan would partner with Marilyn to make this benefit a reality.  Here in the kitchen of the Pescadero IDES Hall, he and alumni Gary Francis, Allen Jones and others prepare the food for the feast.

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Alumni Allen Jones shows the gigantic pot of chili he’s cooking for the evening feast.

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They have done a wonderful job in setting up the IDES for the hoards of visitors that evening.  Marilyn prepared lovely flower centerpieces which contained bullets and shell casings to symbolize this wild game feed event.

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The organizers really had no idea what the turn-out would be like, but it exceeded their wildest expectations.  Classmates poured in the doors from the moment they opened.

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People flew in from out of state and even out of country to attend the event, and to offer aid to a fellow classmate in need.

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It was almost like a second smaller reunion, and the spirit of love and compassion for our fellow classmate was palpable.

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It was heartwarming to see classmates such as Alejandro Hnatt, who had his own benefit years ago when he became paralyzed from a terrible accident.

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Although the CCAA hadn’t been formed yet, several future board members would attend this event; here is one pictured with the man of the hour himself, Mr. John Donovan.  And while not pictured, Anne Galle is roaming about this grand event and a seed of an idea is beginning to germinate in her head.

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An outpouring of alumni and love.

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Alumni that spanned four decades.

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Alumni Grant Walters and his band Big Crawdaddy played for free, and Grant MC’d the entire event as well.

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There was a raffle with donated prizes

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The food for the wild game feed was all donated and prepared by alumni-from fresh crab to Venison and beyond.

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There was a slide show of John’s life to amuse and entertain

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Chair Anne Galle saw this amazing room full of love and compassion and was inspired to form a non-profit organization of alumni who could raise funds to do exactly this sort of thing.

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The 70’s reunion planted a seed in Anne’s brain.  John’s benefit planted another.  And before long, these seeds would grow roots, and the CCAA would be born.