Tag Archives: Alumni

Alumni Come Together for Big Game Tailgating

Yes the football game is the main event, but there’s a lot going on beyond the end lines at the Burbank Burroughs Homecoming Game.

Take the pre-game tail gate party, a fundraiser for scholarships coordinated by the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. and held in the Burbank Unified School District parking lot. District liaison Emilio Urioste and alumni association President Joanne Lento Miller were scurrying about getting ready for more than 50 alumni to arrive.


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Other committee members on duty were Connie Barron Trimble, Roberta Grande Reynolds, Kathy Engh Lawrence and M’Lisa MacLaren. Also helping were former principal and BHS band director and BHS 1965 grad Bill Kuzma and former football player and BHS 1972 grad Rick Trotta.

Kuzma recalled that his favorite teacher was Dave Olson and his favorite memory was marching with the band from Burbank High School to Burroughs before the cross-town rival game.

MacLaren, JBHS 1971, marched with the Burroughs drill team in 11th grade. Her favorite class was drama and her favorite teacher was drama teacher Ernst Korngold. After graduation, she continued in the entertainment field. She was a theatrical producer of touring musicals and started The Actor’s Company at the Burbank Little Theater in Izay Park.


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Tony Delgado of Fiesta Tacos had set up the grill and spicy condiments for one’s choice of spicy or mild carnitas, beef or chicken tacos, rice and beans.

One of the first guests to arrive was Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes, who graduated from Burroughs.

Ludonna Loney, BHS 1978, and her husband, Ed Loney, were sitting with their son, Ryan Loney, BHS 2018 who is on the swim team. Across the table were Linda Toscano Fountain, BHS 1978, and Jeff Fountain. Ludonna and Linda met at Luther Middle School.

At another table were high school sweethearts John McHorney, JBHS 1983, and Suzanne McHorney, JBHS 1984. John played football.


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Asked what was his favorite memory of past cross-town rival games, John had one word that said it all.


Suzanne’s memories?

“Watching my husband win all those games!” she said. About the tail gate party, she added, “This event is just great! It’s a friendly rivalry but a great sense of community.”

Others attending were Burroughs grad JP O’Connor and husband Cotton Thompson; Christine Onorati, BHS 1992; Shannon Rutecki Dewar, JBHS 1981; Robert Mendoza, JBHS 1972; and Laura Flosi, BHS 1983, with her husband Randy Flosi.


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Melinda Drechsler, office manager at Jordan Middle School, stopped by while walking her toy poodle Claude Andre. Her daughter, Jennifer, sings in show choir and is varsity tennis captain.

“I’m an adopted Burroughs alum and choir mom,” Drechsler quipped.

The group headed over to Memorial Field to sit in the alumni section on the 20-yard line. Burroughs was the home team.

Getting ready to call the game, Kyle Fitzgerald hovered over the microphone in the press box. He accepted a brief announcement from an alumni volunteer about the group attending the game and promised to read it. He is a second-generation Burroughs alum, having graduated in 2001. His parents graduated from Burroughs as did his siblings.

At the Burroughs concession table were the Candy Ladies — PTA past president Doris Palmer and PTA President Ruth Frechman. Palmer has volunteered at the concession stand for 15 years while Frechman’s record stands at 19 years. That’s a lot of chocolate!

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The big surprise of the evening was during halftime when Mayor Talamantes presented Jeff Tully with a commendation, honoring him for his 25-plus years as a sports writer for the Burbank Leader. Tully said he was totally surprised by the honor. Although he didn’t go to either high schools, he said he feels very much at home covering the games and especially looks forward to the Burbank Burroughs football game each year.

As the third quarter began, BHS 1972 alumna and school board Clerk Reynolds walked former band director Kuzma over to the Burbank High School visitors’ side to meet assistant band director of Burbank and Burroughs High Schools William Alvarado. They compared notes on parades and field shows. Possible combined performance ideas were discussed.

The result was that the Burbank Burroughs Alumni Band, of which Kuzma is in charge, was invited to be guest performers at a future Burbank High band concert and graduating seniors of both schools were invited to join the alumni band in Burbank On Parade.

These are just a few of the things that go on behind the scenes at the annual Homecoming Game.

Burbank / Burroughs Reunion Event Coming Saturday

Gilbert Tobon has plenty of experience planning social gatherings.

He supervised a Young Life high school group for 25 years that had weekly get-togethers. He also organized the 30th reunion for his John Burroughs Class of 1979.

And this Saturday marks the sixth year he has pulled together the annual Burbank High School/John Burroughs High School Alumni Reunion at the Castaway. The event is from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Experience has taught him that people in Burbank just love to get together. He’s also learned that breaking the ice can be difficult so he coordinated a series of “mini reunions” before the main event of his 30th reunion.

“We hit the ground running for our 30th reunion and the account by the hotel and Dj was that it was the best reunion they had ever seen,” he said.

For the better part of 25 years Tobon supervised a Young Life high school youth club. They would have weekly parties.

“We would make each week as memorable as possible for the kids,” he said. “Many times we had well over 100 kids crowding into a living room and they would have the best time of their lives. So for me doing a once-a-year event is a breeze compared to doing it weekly for decades!”

Tobon gets help from the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn., and his friend, Dennis Sterling, who has provided lots of input and has been there from the start.

Tickets are $25 for food, dancing to a live band and socializing. For reservations, email or text Tobon at giltobon@sbcglobal.net or (661) 713-7721. Guests can pay at the door by cash, check or credit card or email Tobon for the PayPal link.

Burbank Burroughs Alumni Assn. Honors Four Educators

The Burbank Burroughs Alumni Assn. is having its summer mixer honoring past and present faculty from both high schools from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 at Once Upon a Page, 2527 W. Magnolia Blvd.

Representing Burbank High School are Dave Thomson, who is a social science teacher, and Clyde Richards, a retired math teacher and tennis coach.

Dave Thomson

Dave Thomson

This is Thomson’s 31st year teaching. He was instrumental in helping to put together the history for BHS’s Centennial celebration. He was also the self-study coordinator in 2013 when the school prepared for its accreditation visit, which resulted in a six-year term due to Thomson’s leadership.

Clyde Richards

Clyde Richards

Richards retired as a math teacher, but is renowned for cultivating a boys’ tennis dynasty. His teams advanced to the CIF division quarterfinals 12 of 13 years, capturing 13 straight Foothill League Crowns. He was inducted to the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

Representing John Burroughs High School are Jill Sullivan, an English teacher, and Mike Krose, retired math teacher and track and field coach.

Jill Sullivan

Jill Sullivan

Sullivan began teaching English at Jordan Middle School in 1980 and moved to Burroughs in 1990. This is her 36th year inspiring students. She was Department Chair for more than 10 years and was a longtime advisor to the Odyssey of the Mind club.

Krose retired as a math teacher and track and field coach. He was the boys’ golf coach for 11 seasons and started the girls’ golf team. He was a fixture at basketball games where he worked the scoreboard for nearly two decades. He was inducted into the JBHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. He is a substitute teacher for the district.

Mike Krose

Mike Krose

The three-year-old alumni association has created quarterly mixers to honor educators and to raise funds for scholarships for graduating high school seniors. Members have raised funds to donate scholarships to both schools over the last two years.

Guests attending the mixer are requested to donate $5 for the scholarship fund, but it’s not required.

The mixer is a great chance to chat with past teachers and reconnect with grads and meet new people. Alums and their families as well as past and present teachers and administrators from both schools are invited.

Alumni Attend Tailgating “Big Game” Style

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming137

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)


Back in the 1970s, Burbank High School students never thought they would sit alongside Burroughs students during the Burbank-Burroughs Homecoming Game.

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming109

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

But that’s what happened Friday night. Graduates from both schools attended the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Association’s pre-game party in the parking lot of the Burbank Unified School District before walking over to Memorial Field to watch the game.

The balmy weather was perfect for those attending the pre-party. Alumni paid $20 and socialized while chowing down on tacos, rice and beans. A student from Burbank High School performed on keyboard while grads took pictures of each other and shared memories about favorite teachers, classes and football games.

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming125

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

The pre-game party was well attended by not only alums as far back as 1958 but by city and school district officials as well, said alumni association President Joanne Lento Miller, who graduated from Burroughs in 1972.

“We enjoyed music supplied by current BHS student Evan Mehta and a never-ending taco bar as we merged as one community family,” she said. “The energy and excitement continued through the night as we cheered for our favorite team with a bit of friendly rivalry. This is the kind of camaraderie the alumni association was hoping to cultivate!”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Karen and Chuck Campbell, both Burroughs grads from the Class of 1958, were chatting with former Burbank High School coach Dave Kemp, who is now on the School Board.

“We drive up from from Huntington Beach every year for the game,” Chuck Campbell said.

He taught at Burbank High School for many years, and since 2005 he has been researching and writing books about Southwest history.

Alumni association members helping Miller to organize the event were school district liaison Emilio Urioste, School Board President Roberta Grande Reynolds, Connie Barron Trimble, Kimberley Clark, Gil Tobon and Steven Ferguson and Kathy Lawrence.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“The alumni pre-party provided a wonderful opportunity to spend time with high school classmates and to connect with new kindred community spirits who all came out to support our Burbank tradition of friendly rivalry,” said Reynolds, who graduated from Burbank High School in 1972. “We were prepared to have fun no matter who won the game.”

Kathleen Gaston Hitt, BHS Class of 1973, attended with her husband, Bill, who graduated from Glendale High School Class of 1966.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The years seem to melt away when we see our classmates and old friends we socialized with 40 years ago,” Hitt said. “There was a cozy camaraderie at the dinner, and escalating excitement at the game. To be there made you feel young again.”

The Gaston-Hitt family have several members who graduated from Burbank High — Fred Gaston Jr., 1963; Bob Gaston, 1975; Heather Hitt, 2000; and Jason Hitt, 2005.

To join the alumni association, visit bhsjbhsalumni@gmail.com.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Alumni Association Will Attend First Cross-town Rivalry Game

The big football game Friday night against cross-town rivals Burbank and Burroughs high schools has an exciting new element this year with the newly formed Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Association.

Graduates from both schools will watch the game together, one of many social events planned by organizers.

Founders have recruited 850 members on Facebook and recently held an inaugural party at D’Argenzio’s Wine Tasting Room in Burbank owned by Richard D’Argenzio, Burroughs grad, and his wife, Kathy “Rhoads” D’Argenzio, a Burbank High grad.

Alumni members will be going to the homecoming game together this Friday night following a tailgate party beginning at 5 p.m. in the parking lot across the street from the school district office at Olive Avenue and Parish Place.

Members can bring a chair, picnic, snack, and/or cooler, but no alcohol as this is considered a school event. After reconnecting, the group will move over to Memorial Field to see the game that begins at 7 p.m. Burbank is the home team this year. The alumni association will sit together in a reserved section on the home side. The first 50 grads to check in at the Tailgate Party will receive a wristband allowing them to sit in that section.

Register on Facebook or email Joanne Miller at bhsjbhsalumni@gmail.com.

Burbank / Burroughs Alumni are All Friends Here

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

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.”

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.”

Burroughs’ Alumnipaluzza Is a Doozah

By Greg Simay
Entertainment Editor

In most other cities, from Twin Falls to Toledo to Tupelo, last night’s “Alumni Pop Show 4” music extravaganza at John Burroughs High School (JBHS) would be the highlight of the summer season.  But for the Vocal Music Association (VMA) alumni, it was more like a jam session of joy, proclaiming to a delighted audience that VMA talent, teamwork and enthusiasm gloriously endures.

Caitlin Ary singing Stairway to Heaven with the Alumni Choir (Photo Courtesy Connie Trimble)

Caitlin Ary singing Stairway to Heaven with the Alumni Choir (Photo Courtesy Connie Trimble)

There were stunning solos, gorgeous guitar work, touching father/daughter duets, engaging trios, and hugely effective song-and-dance ensembles.  The show’s momentum rocketed through the roof and to the summer stars with a “Stairway to Heaven” that The Who would gladly tread upon.

“The first Alumni Pop Show was a tribute to [former VMA Director] Mary Rago on her retirement,” said Brendan Jennings, current JBHS VMA Director.  “But the idea of a reunion event had been floating around for a decade.” Jen Oundjian, JBHS VMA Artistic Director, tracked down the VMA alumni and made it happen. Now the Alumni Pop Show has settled in to a once-every-two-years tradition.

“You have to be very judicious with their time,” remarks Jennings. There’s only three days of rehearsal, with maybe an extra day for the choreography. “But luckily,” continues Jennings, “our faith in their past training has always been vindicated.” As it indeed was last night, with performances that suggested far more extensive preparation.

Alumni Dance Ensemble performing Thift Store  (Photo Courtesy Connie Trimble)

Alumni Dance Ensemble performing Thift Store (Photo Courtesy Connie Trimble)

So what makes the JBHS vocal program special enough to command such fierce loyalty from its alumni? “Two big things,” explains Jennings. “One, our program provides an incredible sense of family. Students form bonds and make friendships that are life long. And two, working yourself as hard as you can in a supportive and safe place, and then achieving something absolutely brilliant that you’ll never forget.”

In their high school years, many teens have their first serious romances, in spite of their parents wanting them to wait until 30 before dating. But how many high school students know what it’s like to reach a level of excellence that commands respect from the real world, a world that consistently demands excellence in sports and entertainment?

VMA students know.  And it’s not just from garnering a whole forest of first-place competition trophies, which lined both sides of the auditorium entrance last night.  “In the last several years, we’ve done a lot of work for corporate events including conventions,” explains Jennings. “We appeared on Oprah back in 2010, and we even did recordings for The Voice during its first three seasons.”

The VMA program is attracting international attention. Visitors from countries as diverse as Australia and China have dropped by to see how they can duplicate VMA’s success. “I went to Singapore for a week,” said Jennings. “And I’m working with Christine DeMore [director of the Jordan Middle School choir] on an educational program for teachers that we’ll roll out June of next year.”

Small wonder that VMA alumni feel grateful for having been in the VMA program.

The Burbank community should feel grateful as well. Come to the concluding performance Sunday, August 25, at 2 p.m. in the JBHS auditorium. Proceeds from the tickets (on sale at JBHSVMA.org) will support VMA’s scholarship program.

* * *

If you want to see how amazing are the current crop of JBHS VMA students, mark your calendar for Burroughs on Broadway, October 11 and 12 at 7 p.m., and October 13 at 2 p.m. Order online at www.jbhsvma.com.

And, you may want to give the Jordan Middle School choir a listen. “They’re one of the best middle school choirs in the county,” remarks Jennings.

Boy Scouts Throughout the Years Gather for Fundraiser

About 100 Boy Scouts, past and present, parents, siblings and friends gathered on Sunday at the Magnolia Park United Methodist Church for the first alumni event, which was organized by Giselle Vivado and Joylyn Spencer.

Boy Scouts involved in a skit were Ethan Durkee and Nick Rogus. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Ethan Durkee and Nick Rogus were deeply involved in their skit called “Wild West Shootout.”

“The parents never get to see the skits, so this is a treat for them,” said Nancy Durkee, Scoutmaster of Troop 201. “Some of the skits they pick up from camp. Others they make up on their own.”

Today the troop boasts 31 members. It is more than 60 years old and the oldest troop in the Iron Eyes Cody District, Durkee said.

The reunion was a way to show the boys that they are carrying on a great tradition, she added. And it lets former scouts know, today’s members are still having a great time.

The event’s other purpose was to raise funds to help more boys go to camp this summer, said co-chair Vivado.

The scouts have chosen to go to Emerald Bay, the Boy Scouts of America camp on the back side of Catalina Island. There boys have fun while earning merit badges in water sports and other activities. Five days at camp costs $600 per boy, she said.

“We are hoping to have raised $2,000 tonight,” Vivado said. “The effort represents hundreds of hours by our parents and wonderful donations from local merchants.”

L/R Nancy Durkee Scout Master,Evan Plummer,Bill Vosper,Don Peterson and David Peterson. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

The troop, which is sponsored by Magnolia Park United Methodist Church, is also raising funds with the community discount card. It costs $10 and offers discounts at Flappers Comedy Club, Racer’s Edge and others. To get one, email troop201fundraising @gmail.com.

Former assistant scoutmaster Don Peterson, who is the liaison between the church and troop, remembered a rafting trip he and wife Debbie went on when their son David was in the troop 30 years ago.

On the way to Snake River in Idaho, they stopped at Circus Circus in Las Vegas where the boys won several stuffed animals in the arcade. Since there was no place to store the prizes, they ended up on a raft going down the river along with the boys, Peterson said.

Burbank’s Boy Scout Troop 201 to Honor 50 Years of Alumni

Burbank’s storied Boy Scouts of America Troop 201, a wellspring of community service, strong moral, ethical, and spiritual values, and high adventure to more than 1,000 boys in its half-century of existence, is proud to announce its First Annual Alumni Fundraising Dinner & Silent Auction.

The event will be held Sunday, April 1, 4:30 p.m. at Troop 201’s home base, the Magnolia Park Methodist Church at 2828 W. Magnolia Blvd.   The event is open to the public, with past and present members of Troop 201 particularly encouraged to attend the celebration. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.   Tickets will be available at the door.

Offering a meal fully catered by legendary Miceli’s Italian Restaurant, with desserts provided by Porto’s, Burbank’s favorite Cuban bakery, with table service and hospitality provided by Troop 201’s very own, the event is an opportunity for several generations of Burbank Scouts to connect, share stories, photographs, memorabilia, and warm memories of their years in uniform.

The evening will also include an intimate and moving slide show gathering photographic memories of Troop 201’s decades of good fun and philanthropy, along with live music and comedic skits presented by the boys themselves.

A Silent Auction featuring an $800 gift package to the world-famous Magic Castle, celebrity-autographed goodies from Guns & Roses, and more, as well as gift cards and merchandise from Burbank businesses and vendors like Warner Bros, Pickwick Bowling, Flappers Comedy Club, Red Chair Performing Arts School, and California Pizza Kitchen will cap the evening in high style.

Proceeds will enable the boys of Troop 201 to attend this year’s Summer Boy Scouts Camp excursion to Emerald Bay, CA.  It’s an opportunity for the troop to connect with Boy Scouts from across the nation, building relationships, earning merit badges, and practicing the Scout’s Law:  A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Troop 201 is the oldest Burbank troop in California’s Iron Eyes Cody District, with 32 active Boy Scouts at present. In 2012, three troop members will ascend to the esteemed Eagle Scout ranking, which requires a community service project of significant breadth, depth, and involvement.   On Mother’s Day Weekend, Troop 201 will again participate in Relay for Life, a life-changing service event to raise funds and awareness toward the prevention of cancer. The troop’s participation is dedicated to the memory of a troop mother who succumbed to cancer in December 2010. Troop 201 recently participated in Burbank READS at Burbank Public Libraries and led the flag ceremony for Mayor Jess Talamantes at a Burbank City Council Meeting.

For more information, or to make a donation to Troop 201, please contact Joy Spencer or Giselle Vivado at Troop201Fundraising@gmail.com.

Burbank Boy Scout Troop 201