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October 23, 2021

WHS Class of ’65 marks 55 years, honors star teacher

CORRALITOS—The Watsonville High School Class of 1965 held its 55th-year reunion on Sept. 25 after postponing the celebration last year due to the pandemic.

Around 60 people, some from as far away as Arizona, Davis, Sacramento and Southern California, shared stories, jokes and a barbecue tri-tip dinner on the patio of the Corralitos Community Center beneath a canopy of shady redwoods.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much Watsonville has changed since we graduated,” said Judy St. George of Davis, who lived off of Amesti Road in her high school days. “This group here is such a small fraction of the graduates. But seeing some of these faces—it takes you back; there are so many memories.”

One highlight of the event was when the alumni threw the spotlight on one of their instructors, Mas Hashimoto, who attended with his wife Marcia, a former elementary school teacher.

Graduate Amy Newell said the class determined that Hashimoto played such an enormous role in their education that he needed to be officially recognized. So Watsonville Mayor Jimmy Dutra, in absentia, presented him with a framed proclamation.

Hashimoto was also a WHS graduate, class of 1953, and an instructor there from 1960-1996. Those gathered in Corralitos, many of whom were his pupils, took turns addressing Hashimoto’s skills at helping students excel in a wealth of areas.

The class of ’65 also chose to award four first-generation WHS graduates with scholarships in honor of Hashimoto.

“He shared his humanity through teaching,” St. George said. “He made a definitive impression on me personally, and I’m sure there were many others.”

Newell said it felt like the class of ’65—around 450 students—all knew Hashimoto, who taught U.S. History, coached students with disabilities in bowling for 34 years and fought against discrimination toward girls in sports.

“Mas inspired so many students,” she said. “He encouraged so many of us to go to college: That was so important.”

Hashimoto underscored a host of WHS teachers from that time, including Jean Pogue, Bud Rowland, Dorothy Roark, Norm Haney and Mae Lord.

“There were so many wonderful teachers,” he said. “And Class of ’65—you guys were special.”

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