Tennyson High alumni donate $6,400

Robert Sakai, one of the organizers of the Tennyson High School 50th reunion in September, worried about a planned alumni tour of the campus.

Just a few days before the reunion in September, only a few people were signed up, and he was also anxious that the high school, more than 50 years old, might be showing signs on wear and tear.

But by the time the day arrived, almost 30 alumni showed up for the tour, led by Principal Lori Villanueva.

Alumni toured the school's farm, the school's quad, decorated with mosaics, a room outfitted with technology, a computerized system to keep track of books, a cartful of iPads for use in classrooms, banners hanging in the gym and an art gallery.

"The artwork was really top-grade," Sakai said. Some of the alumni purchased art pieces.

At the reunion dinner that night, alumni started talking about how impressive the tour was and all the things going on at their alma mater. "We decided to do a class gift," said Sakai, a Hayward resident.

So at the school's winter concert on Dec. 12, Sakai presented the school with a check for $6,400 on behalf of the class of 1963.

"Lori Villanueva deserves it, and the school deserves it," he said.

Alumni Edna Stringent Paiva also donated a $25,000 piano to the music program, Sakai said.

The class of 1963 was the first class to attend all four years at Tennyson High, which opened in 1959, and Sakai grew up next door to the school.


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"Our house was so close that there was a 5-minute warning bell before school started, and sometimes that's what woke me up in the morning," he said. "I'd jump up, throw my clothes on, run over and get to class on time."

Volunteers spruce up Cherryland School

More than 50 parents, students, teachers, staff members and community members took time from their busy holiday schedules to help clean up the grounds of Cherryland Elementary School on Saturday.

Using their own tools and equipment, the volunteers worked on the Hayward school's gardens and cleaned the outside of the school's portable classrooms. They also painted some portable building walls in preparation for a mural project, said Principal Itoco Garcia Davenport.

"It was an amazing success," he said. "The garden area got completely transformed. There was an incredible amount of work done. This was a real community effort."

The Kids' Breakfast Club and Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas provided food for the Cherryland Beautification Day at the school, at 585 Willow Ave.

"It was a good event," Salinas said. "The volunteers cut down all the weeds, raked, dug up the planter beds and put down new topsoil. It looks great."

Fundraisers to pay for school renaming

Renaming Alvarado Middle School after Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, two Filipino-American labor leaders, came with controversy and projected costs earlier this year.

Time and community outreach likely will heal the acrimony that erupted over the name change. But paying the tab for replacing the school's signage, athletic uniforms, stationery and other administrative inventory might be more difficult.

Two events are scheduled to help offset those costs, which might total as much as $40,000, school district officials have said.

The first fundraiser will present a concert by the University of the Philippines Concert Chorus, the college's official choir, featuring singers and dancers who perform around the world. The concert is at 6 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Union City Apostolic Church, 33700 Alvarado-Niles Road.

Tickets, priced at $20, can be purchased by calling 510-471-2520.

A second event will screen the documentary, "Harana: The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade," which profiles the last practitioners of a little-known Filipino musical form known as "harana," or serenade.

The screening is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at the James Logan High School Center for the Performing Arts, 1800 H St.

Tickets, priced at $15, are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Alvarado Middle School will be renamed Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School in the fall of 2015.

New Haven Unified School District officials say it will be the nation's first school named after Filipino-Americans.

Homeroom is a roundup of news from schools in Alameda County.