Burbank / Burroughs Alumni are All Friends Here

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Attending the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. kick-off party are, from left, Roberta "Grande" Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972; Debra "Chew" Atherton, Joanne "Lento" Miller and Barbara Austin, all from Burroughs Class of 1972. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Burroughs and Burbank high school alumni have proved time and again they are the party animals around this town.

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Attending the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. kick-off party are, from left, Roberta "Grande" Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972; Debra "Chew" Atherton, Joanne "Lento" Miller and Barbara Austin, all from Burroughs Class of 1972. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)
Attending the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. kick-off party are, from left, Roberta “Grande” Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972; Debra “Chew” Atherton, Joanne “Lento” Miller and Barbara Austin, all from Burroughs Class of 1972. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Case in point, after the combined reunion in August, a group of classmates had such a great time they decided to start an official group and the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. was born. About 20 grads stopped by Friday night for a kick-off event at D’Argenzio’s Wine Tasting Room in Burbank to meet new people, talk about old times and catch up with those they haven’t seen since graduation.

The location seemed appropriate since co-owners are Burroughs grad Richard D’Argenzio and his wife, Kathy “Rhoads” D’Argenzio, Burbank High School alumna. They were introducing fellow graduates to vintages just released last weekend during a party at the winery in Santa Rosa, run by Richard’s twin brother Raymond.

Debra “Chew” Atherton and Tony Verdugo, from the Burroughs Class of 1972, were active in theater classes while in school.

“My senior year in high school was wonderful! So was my junior year,” Verdugo said. “I had a blast! All afternoon was theater. We just had a lot fun! And we hung out afterwards–at Bob’s and Copper Penny.”

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Atherton remembered the plays they performed.

“We did ‘Wait Until Dark’, ‘Mid Summer Night’s Dream’, which was my favorite, and ‘Guys and Dolls’,” she said.

“One of the minor ones we did was ‘Cinderella’ with the choir,” Verdugo added.

Seeing familiar faces was the best part of attending the party, said Randy Arrington, Burbank High School Class of 1972.

“It’s exciting to come and recognize faces I saw 40 years ago, talk to them, find out what their lives have turned out to be, if they have done something special or the sad things they have been through,” he said. “You’d be surprised how many people’s lives seem to take similar paths.”

Bringing graduates of the two schools together is the reason for starting the alumni association, said Joanne “Lento” Miller, a founding member. She graduated from Burroughs In 1972 and her son, Jeremy, graduated from Burbank High in June.

“I am passionate about the Burbank schools — both Burbank and Burroughs– and I’m passionate about the community and the city we live in and I think everyone should be one big happy family,” Miller said. “And nowadays many families have kids that went to one school and they went to the other, so this is a natural move to bring us all under one happy umbrella.”

In creating an alumni association, the group is committed to “giving back” to the alma maters by offering scholarships, mentoring programs and having a bigger presence within the community, Miller said. In four weeks, the group has grown to 740 alums on its Facebook page.

“That’s a sign of school and community spirit!” Miller said.

One of the upcoming everts for the alumni association to get together is the Burbank Burroughs homecoming football game, she said.

“One idea is to have a section of the bleachers reserved for members of the alumni association,” she said. “We want to pattern the association after the USC alumni association.”

Creation of the alumni group has support from the district office, said Roberta “Grande” Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972 and vice president of the School Board. Supporters include Superintendent Jan Britz, Director of Secondary Education Emilio Urioste, Burroughs Principal John Paramo, Burbank High Principal Mike Bertram and School Board President Dave Kemp.

Being a Burbank High grad, Reynolds said she loves the idea of an alumni association.

“We have a strong, cohesive community,” she said. “We have so many people that have ties to both of the schools and I really hope we can have ties to one another.”

MT