Canoga Park Senior High

Alumni News
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ALUMNI STORIES

Check out our growing archive of news items and human interest stories about Canoga Park High School Alumni. Take a few minutes to read all about 'em.

 

First reported on 9/22/08
CANOGA GRAD WINS EMMY AWARD!!!
 
Actor Bryan Cranston won an Emmy last night for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series! But did you know he was a graduate of Canoga Park High School?
 
Bryan Cranston was honored by Hollywood with this prestigious award for his work in the AMC series "Breaking Bad." The Emmy is television’s version of the Oscars.
Bryan graduated from Canoga in 1974, and was a member of the Hunters' Call school newspaper, and the Chemistry Club. Mrs. Diana Casillas from our Freshman Center remembers him as "that groovy red-head who used to play softball in the neighborhood with me...I probably shouldn't mention the broken windows." Mrs. Casillas graduated from Canoga in 1976 as Diana Ramos.
 
Cranston is perhaps best know for his role as Hal (the father) in the hit T.V. show Malcolm in the Middle. He also appeared in such programs as The King of Queens, Seinfeld, and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
 
Come visit our school museum to see him in old Canoga yearbooks (73 and 74).
The picture on the right is from the 1973 Utopian Yearbook.

First reported on 7/03/07 - written by Joan Swenson, class of '75
LOST CLASS RING FOUND, 33 YEARS LATER!
 
You read stories like this in newspapers: A high school class ring, lost for 20 or 30 years, shows up in some strange place and, by a miracle, it gets returned to the original owner, now much older but very happy. I always hoped that would happen to me, since I lost my Canoga Park High School class ring even before I graduated in June, 1975. Surprisingly, with the help of the man who found it, Google, and a teacher at Canoga, it did.
 
In December 1974 I visited my grandparents in St. Paul, Minn., for Christmas. Snowy, cold. I remember it was 20 degrees when I arrived from the red eye Northwest Orient flight to Mpls/St. Paul, and for a few minutes it seemed refreshing after 85-90 degrees in Southern California. There were icicles hanging from houses, which I thought was pretty amazing Christmas decorating until I realized they were real.
 
I wore my 1975 Canoga Park High School ring. I remember thinking, maybe I shouldn't wear this because it was too loose. But I wanted to show it to my grandparents. One of the days my Uncle Al Dahlstrom, who died last July, picked me up to go antiquing. Somewhere along the way his car got stuck in the snow and we got out to push it out. In the process, in the snow, I lost my ring. We looked for a bit, but it was impossible. I felt badly about it for quite a while. I'd worked a lot of hours at Baskin Robbins to afford that ring -- I think it was $68.
 
33 years later...
 
On Mother's Day weekend I talked to my mom who said that someone had emailed a friend from her church's son (he works as a history teacher at my high school) at Canoga's website about finding a ring, class of '75, with the initials JMS. The teacher, Richard Tibbetts, had his students look in the yearbook and found three girls with J.S. as first/last initials, but the school didn't publish middle initials. Richard recognized my last name from the church we'd grown up in. He called his mom, she called my mom, bingo, I was found in about three or four days. (Imagine, in all of huge Southern California that at my high school there would be a man who went to my church many years before who happened to be the guy who got the email, whose mom still knew my mom....)
 
The ring was actually found a long time ago by a fellow in Minnesota, who says he only remembers that he found the ring on the ground possibly as many as 20 years ago, and that he tossed it in a jewelry case. The man, Brian Wassman who lives in Scandia, about 25 miles north of St. Paul, doesn't remember where he found it. Recently, cleaning out the case, he found the ring and noticed the initials, which aren't terribly obvious on the inside. He Googled the high school and the rest is just how it played out. He mailed me the ring and I received it May 29. The stone is unscratched. There is perhaps a tiny crunching of the part of the ring that's palm side. It's still too big for my finger, 33 years later.
 
The only thing that could make the story better is if it showed up in the belly of a fish that someone caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty years ago, it would have been harder to find me. Google is the best thing, ever. And I'm truly grateful to Brian Wassman and Richard Tibbetts for getting my ring back to me.

First reported on 1/31/07
FORMER CANOGA GRADUATE LOST AT SEA
 
Laura Berwager-Mankey was lost when her Navy helicopter crashed off the coast of San Diego last Friday (1/26/07).
 
It was with great sadness that Canoga Park High School received this news on Monday morning. Laura is remembered fondly by faculty members who were there when she graduated from Canoga in 1999. Laura's track coach, Jim Rose, speaks very highly of his former cross-country runner. "She was a tenacious, caring, and vibrant individual who brought life to each of our seasons. She was a strong athlete with strong character," added Coach Rose, "but her strength was in her gentleness." Likewise, Suzette Rosso (College Counselor) sadly reminisced about the young lady who was perhaps the most "outstanding" student in her graduating class.
 
The entire Canoga Park High School family wishes to send its deepest condolences to the family and friends of one of our own, Laura Berwager-Mankey. If anyone would like to send a card to the family, please addess it to the school in care of Maureen Escobedo
 
The picture to the right is Laura's senior yearbook portrait from 1999. There are many more pictures and memories of Laura on her personal webpage at: www.myspace.com/laurajm03
 
The US Navy has set up a Memorial Scholarship in the name of Laura and her crew. The link is:
 

First reported on 6/28/06
MISSING WW2 CO-PILOT FINALLY LAID TO REST
 
Byron Stenen was Senior Class President at Canoga Park High in the winter of 1942. He was last seen on October 9, 1944 when his Army plane vanished in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
 
The lost aircraft was discovered 60 years later (2002) by local villagers who reported the crash site to the U.S. Embasy. Recent DNA tests and dental records were finally able to identify Byron and the eight other crewmen who lost their lives when the plane encountered bad weather.
 
2nd Lt. Byron L. Stenen was buried yesterday (6-27-2006) at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.
 
The Photo to the right is Byron's senior yearbook picture. The green memorial wall has 2 plaques honoring Canoga's Gold Star Graduates from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. For more information on this story please click the following links:
http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060627-13347.html  
http://canogaparkhs.org/gold_star_graduates.jsp?rn=1861  

First reported on 4/22/06
CANOGA STUDENT TO GRADUATE AFTER 60 YEARS!
 
Dorothy Morita was a student at Canoga Park High School when the United States declared war on Japan in WW II. As an American of Japanese descent, her life was about to dramatically change.
 
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This Order authorized the government to remove over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry from their homes in the U.S., and send them to isolated and guarded Internment Camps. Two-thirds were American citizens! Dorothy (with her family) was forced to leave her home and school, to live in Wyoming's desolate Heart Mountain "relocation center." She remained there for almost three years until the War with Japan was over.
 
In 2004, a new California law went into affect allowing school districts to retroactively grant High School diplomas to students who were interned before graduating. This law applies to any person who "was interned by order of the federal government during World War II and was enrolled in a high school...immediately preceding his or her internment and did not receive a high school diploma because his or her education was interrupted due to his or her internment during World War II." (California Ed. Code, sec. 51430)
 
With this new law in effect, Canoga Park High School is proud to announce that Dorothy Morita will receive her well-deserved high school diploma at the end of this school year. We look forward to honoring her at our commencement ceremony on June 22, 2006.
 
Dorothy was born in Seattle, Washington. She lived there until the end of the 2nd grade. Her family then moved to Japan for several years before returning to the U.S. where they settled in Encino, California. In Encino, Dorothy finished elementary school and then went on to Canoga Park High. Today, she lives in Colorado.
 
For more information, please see the following links:
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=74  
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/edc/51430.html  

First reported on 6/25/06
UPDATE-- Dorothy Morita receives her diploma!
 
Sixty-one years after she should have graduated, Dorothy Morita was given her high school diploma from Canoga Park High School.
 
In attendance at the 2006 graduation ceremony was Dorothy's daughter, Christine King. She accepted the diploma on behalf of her mother who now lives in Colorado and is unable to travel.
 
If Dorothy's life had not been disrupted by her removal to an Internment Camp during WW2, she most likely would have graduated from Canoga on June 21, 1945. Instead, she spent most of her high school years in Wyoming's desolate Heart Mountain "relocation center."
 
Presenting the diploma to Mrs. King was retired Canoga history teacher Mas Okui. Mr. Okui taught for many years at our school, and was himself forced to live in an Internment Camp (Manzanar) as a young man.
 
In an attempt to acknowledge (in our small way) a past wrong, we at Canoga were able to recreate a diploma that looks identical to those awarded by Principal Charles Nettles back in 1945. It is with this diploma that we are very honored to add Dorothy Morita's name to the ranks of our alumni.
 
Congratulation Dorothy Morita, graduate of Canoga Park High School.

First reported on 10/14/06
Dorothy Morita 1924-2006
 
Canoga Park High School regrets to announce that Dorothy Morita, the student who received her diploma after 60 years, passed away September 20, 2006.
 
Dorothy Morita never graduated from Canoga because she was sent to a Japanese-American Internment Camp during World War 2. Last June, however, she was awarded her diploma along with Canoga's Class of 2006. Dorothy's daughter, Christine King, traveled from North Carolina to attended the graduation on her mother's behalf. Mrs. Morita was living in Colorado at the time and unable to make the trip.
 
In 2004, a new law went into affect in California allowing school districts to retroactively grant High School diplomas to students who were interned before graduating. This law was actually inspired by Dorothy Morita after she had a conversation with California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. Lieber spoke at Mrs. Morita's memorial service on October 8th, and referred to this new legislation as "Dorothy's Law."  Because of "Dorothy's Law," Canoga Park High was able to give Dorothy her long awaited diploma. We were very proud and pleased to be a part of that chapter in her life.  Our sincere sympathies and best wishes go out to her family.

First reported on 3/28/06
FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR AND CANOGA GRADUATE DIES AT 81
 
Lyn Nofziger was the Press Secretary for President Ronald Reagan, and a top aide to President Richard Nixon. He was also an alumnus of Canoga Park High School.
Nofziger graduated from Canoga in 1942, where he was an active member of the Hunters' Call newspaper. The picture to the right is his senior picture from the Utopian yearbook.
 
For more information on the life of Lyn Nofziger (1924-2006), please click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyn_Nofziger  


Posted on March 15, 2008