Welcome to MarkKeppelHighSchoolReunion.org. We want your personal input. For details, please refer here. The purpose of this site is to create a one stop location for our recent and last super reunion for our the combined classes 1961, 1962 and 1963.

For all questions and comments, please email, postal mail, fax or call Johnny Thompson.

News and Updates

10/28/2012 - Introductory to this website and reunion:

It was a very good year
and the beginning of a 50-year history in the making

We have a surprise for you – our new 50-year reunion website of which we dedicate to our teachers. A Keppel first, and always a work in progress: www.markkeppelhighschoolreunion.org. The goal is to capture the timelessness and essence of who we were, and how each of us reflect [on] that today. We have included our very own MKHS Aztec weekly newspapers from September 1960 through May of 1961 and a sampling of '62, as well as Teocalli '61 yearbook and some rare donated memorabilia - about 800 images to date. These are a tribute not only to ourselves, but especially for the public educational system and dedicated teachers that we were privileged to have experienced and benefited from. We dedicated our committee's final reunion celebration to our teachers. I should also mention that we had the “greatest generation” of parents, to build upon.

For me, the primary highlight for the entire school year of 1960-61 was the Aztec weekly newspaper coverage and "mock" election of the historic 1960 presidential election. We elected John F. Kennedy to be our 35th President, under the guidance of super teachers Ted Kilman (Journalism) and Bob Low (U.S. Government), as well as class of '61's Marlene Crawford, newspaper editor from Sept through Dec, 1960.

It was during this time when some major issues, including expansion of government and federal aid to education were begun in earnest, setting the stage for the current historic war on-and-over education. Thanks to American inventions of the microchip, desktop computer and the internet, we can now invite you to travel briefly back to a time when we were all gathered together as individuals to find our way forward into productive adults. You may enlarge or print anything from our website.

We were Keppelites on the move, and most of us, I believe, were in the right place at the right time, particularly when compared to students trapped in today’s K-12 public school systems under the oppression of "teaching to the test" and "what gets tested gets taught." High school life, like our lives to come, turned out to be pretty much what we made of it, and for myself, its still a learning process and life on-the-clock with purpose and juggling of goals, old and new.

Can you believe 50 years-and-counting? It brings to my mind a very beautiful Judy Collins recording of Who knows where the times goes, from her greatest-hits classic CD, “Colors of the Day.” Check it out on Amazon. While you’re in the mood, you might relisten to The Four Lads’ 1955 Moments to Remember, or later version by The Lettermen. The original 45 rpm vinyl disc would have been played at the City of Monterey Park’s “Club 78” dances for 7th and 8th graders and "Teen Town" for high schoolers from 1956 through the 50’s. Do you remember? Does anyone have a photo?

The entirety of our website belongs to all of us. Please contribute with your own high school memorabilia, from the classes of ’62 and ’63. Also, include a photo of your 8th grade grad photo, with school name and year of photo. And most of all, we ask that classmates share personal reflective thoughts and moments to remember via U.S. mail, fax, or email to admin@markkeppelhighschoolreunion.org. It can be short or long, introspective or otherwise, school happy times or not. Your name will be included, unless you sign it “anonymous.” All 3 grad years are wanted, but please indicate your year.

For example, here's one of my own many favorite moments: Who remembers the entire class that on occasion shouted out the Tarzan "Call of the Jungle" during classtime, with the windows and doors open without air conditioning? It could be heard throughout the main building and beyond. I was in one of these classes in 11th grade English, and our teacher was the legendary Okey Chenoweth, Mr. "Catcher in the Rye." 1960 was his last year of teaching at Keppel, but only recently retired from a long, successful teaching career in New Jersey. He is still vitally involved and I keep in touch when I can.

Another was when "cracking up" good natured Mr Low during our Civics class when challenging him on his political views. He encouraged us to develop our own viewpoints. Still another was being on teacher-Coach Amulexan's CIF-winning 1961 tennis team for the first time in Keppel's history.

I am grateful to friend Dick Dotts who’s hands-on steady leadership, along with our loyal tri-year committee, has kept the reunions well attended and moving ahead every 5 years since the 20th. Our 50th reunion was held on October 27, 2012 at the Pasadena Hilton, where our reunions began. Technically, this will fall on the 51st anniversary for the class of “61, 49th year for the class of ’63, with’62 in the middle.

We dedicate this website and reunion to our classmates who passed from us too young (see "In Memoriam"), and the professional, dedicated and caring teachers that we were probably too young to fully appreciate at the time. In the years ahead, may we [continue to] help make a difference. America needs our input more than ever.I will keep this website active and updated with your input.

For students today and future generations, I hope and plan that they will be able to gain historic perspective, as long as this site or at least our MKHS weekly newspapers can be preserved in a format that the public and especially young students may view. Maybe the Smithsonian Institute or JFK Library will accept it or at least Keppel's own library and public libraries in Alhambra and Monterey Park.

Johnny Thompson, October 25, 2011, class of 1961
www.markkeppelhighschoolreunion.org (Website)
admin@markkeppelhighschoolreunion.org (email)
(626) 280-8783 (626) 280-4600 (Fax)
222 E. Garvey Ave. Monterey Park, CA 91755

*On a related-but-sour note, please permit me to climb on my favorite advocacy soapbox. For 10 years in the USA and more like 30 in California, most students in the K-12 public-ed system today do not have the balanced, hands-on learning and job opportunities that we had in the 1950s and 60s. Intensified federal education reform, which intimidates students, teachers and administrators alike, has resulted from unproven and misguided, illegally-selective, high-stakes standardized testing. This stifling so-called “No Child Left Behind” law, and the last two years of “Race to the Top” and "Common Core Standards" has all but replaced student and teacher love of school, creative and critical thinking, imagination, individualism and whole-child balanced education.

Unequal–Access [to] Education Rule: What is tested gets taught; what is not tested gets unequal or denied access. While students of advantage learn to outsource, the disadvantaged learn to grow up without an equal-opportunity education.

“My fondest hope is that my grandchildren will have teachers who know that the truly valuable elements of a public education cannot be measured by machine-scored tests, and that their value as human beings cannot be reduced to those test scores.”Our Community Comment of the Day - Education Week, Aug 10, 2011.

“We spend millions developing and administering a test, we prep kids for it, and we still hear it from businesses that kids don’t have the job skills because what they learned was how to take a test.”Ed Amundsen, Special Education Teacher, Sacramento, CA

"The farther away from the children in the classroom, the more unrealistic the 'fix' ideas become. Those of us in classrooms know any reform is slow, and painstaking." -sek1949, Comment of the Day, Education Week, September 13, 2011

Particularly unable to makeup for the current educational losses in K-12 public schools, which roadblock future opportunities, are the millions of economically and academically disadvantaged. The following article is just such a countrywide insidious example from our own Alhambra USD, where dumb-downed curriculum of “teaching to the test” and “what gets tested gets taught” has become the unwritten rule for teachers, principals and superintendents:

Excerpted from LA Times Article – July 11, 2011

Title: “Highly rated instructors go beyond teaching to the standardized test”

In Monterey Park, eighth-grade teacher Janice Pirolo said she no longer has time to delve deeply into the curriculum or stray much from it. When she does, she falls behind.

When her school, Monterey Highlands, received funding to visit the Japanese American National Museum, Pirolo prepared her students by teaching them about the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. She also spent time on Martin Luther King Jr. before the national holiday named for the civil rights leader.

But none of that is part of eighth-grade social studies standards, and Pirolo fell behind. For a month before the testing in May, she abandoned the textbook entirely to focus exclusively on test prep. As a result, she got through only the textbook's fourth chapter by year's end.

"We have stopped reading the textbook, sadly … but you live and die by the test," said Pirolo, a 34-year veteran who teaches social studies and language arts. The nation's enhanced focus on testing began under the 2001 No Child Left Behind federal education law, which attempted to hold school districts accountable for student progress through mandatory annual tests. The law, which is under review in Congress, requires that by 2014 all students meet 100% proficiency levels in math and English — a target no one expects schools to meet.

“5th grader’s essay: High-stakes tests lead to stress, not learning” – Valerie, Strauss, Washington Post

"A teacher affects eternity. Teachers can never tell where their influence stops." -Henry Brooks Adams, Historian

"Unequal–Access [to] Education Rule: What is tested gets taught; what is not tested gets unequal or denied access. While students of advantage learn to outsource, the disadvantaged learn to grow up without an equal-opportunity education."

“We spend millions developing and administering a test, we prep kids for it and we still hear it from businesses that kids don’t have the job skills because what they learned was how to take a test.” –Ed Amundsen, Special Education Teacher, Sacramento, CA

“The goal of education is not to produce great test takers, but to prepare tomorrow’s citizens.” –Renee Moore, teacher, Teach Moore Blog

“(1) It is evil for a well-taught and well-trained student to fail an examination. (2) It is evil for an unqualified student, through some inefficiency of the test , to obtain credit in an examination. (3) It is a great and more serious evil, by too frequent and too numerous examinations, so to magnify their importance that students come to regard them not as a means in education but as the final purpose, the ultimate goal. (4) It is a very great and more serious evil to sacrifice systematic instruction and a comprehensive view of the subject for the scrappy and unrelated knowledge gained by students who are persistently drilled in the mere answering of questions issued by the Education Department or other governing bodies.” –NY State DOE, 1907, speech to state legislature.

from “A Short History of High-Stakes Testing http://www.hepg.org/document/14/ Nichols, Sharon L. & Berlinger, D.C. (2007) Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools, Chapter 1. (Cambridge, Mass, Harvard Education Press, 2007).

Mark Keppel High Band - Some Enchanted Evening 2012

"Live and Let Die" by MKHS Band, conducted by James Vermilya

"Mission: Impossible Theme" by MKHS Band and Orchestra

"Thriller" and "Billie Jean" by MKHS Band and Orchestra

"The Muppets Show Theme" by MKHS Band

"Pirates of the Caribbean" by MKHS Band, conducted by Jenny Chin

"Harry Potter Theme" by MKHS Band, conducted by Jennifer Quan
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