Photo Gallery

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Los Gatos High School Honors Ted Simonson's Half Decade of Service

Most people reflect on their high school years as just another step towards adulthood and seldom do they hold the school itself with much reverence. So how do you explain the bond and spirit of comradery that endures amongst anyone connected to Los Gatos High School? It's like location, location, location. You had to be there.

Although this spirit is seemingly endless it was never so apparent as last Saturday when one of the school's biggest treasures was honored in a lifetime achievement awards ceremony. Ted Simonson is the essence of Los Gatos High School. His career there spanned 47 years as teacher, coach, counselor, dean of boys, bus driver and several administrative roles including principal for twenty years. So why not just stick around to make it an even 50 years? His time at LGHS was without a single sick day off so he joked that years 48, 49 and 50 were forced time off for uncollected sick pay.

Even if you are not part of this LGHS inner circle, you've undoubtedly seen their famous front lawn. Looking more like a small private college in New England this sprawling grass makes for one inspiring entrance. It also is the setting for every graduation ceremony and special events like the one in 1997 when 10,000 gathered to celebrate the school's 100th anniversary. The front lawn was the only obvious choice to place to honor Ted Simonson.

Yes, you read the long list of Ted's roles at LGHS correctly. In the 1950's he even drove the school bus. So to complete the celebration of his service they also parked this vintage 1952 Crown Super Coach School Bus in front of the school. It served LGHS from 1952 to 1973 but is still in service today.

I graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1968. Our class is especially close and we hold impromptu gatherings almost quarterly. Ted posed with a few of us Cats of '68 for this shot. (L to R) Alison (Egan) Ryan, Barbara Lynn, Ted, myself and Mike Cannon.

Obviously, Los Gatos High School is steeped in tradition. The main building was dedicated in 1925 and yet is still the active center of the campus. Not only does it house classrooms, theater and administrative offices but the main hall also features a memory wall. Embracing their past is just as important to this community's strength as it is to continue winning blue ribbon awards today. So I was certain that inviting a 1943 alumni to the party would be a great idea. Here I am pictured with Jackie Heimann who came armed with her yearbooks and vintage Wildcat jacket she earned from being a three time badminton champion. We are all hoping that someday her jacket will hang on the memory wall along side all of the other great memorabilia.

Most of the credit for organizing this event goes to Sandy (Spafford) Paulson Moore from the Class of 1963. Sandy is the quintessential Los Gatos High School alumnus who works tirelessly to support the school legacy. She also spearheaded that huge anniversary party for the school. I made certain she met Jackie and posed for a shot with the famous jacket of '43.

This celebration was all about Ted Simonson and it was all about Los Gatos High School at the same time. When Ted spoke he gave most of the credit for his success there to his staff. The sign that welcomes you to the Main Hall says it all with their very poignant motto:


Today the town of Los Gatos has a very upscale image and is among the priciest ZIP codes in America. However, the high school earned its reputation and respect long before the town ever became trendy. I am proud to call myself an alumnus and grateful for the experience this community continues to celebrate. Education at any level just doesn't get any better than this.


  1. Thanks, Carl, for the terrific article and pictures from a most memorable day!

    Alex Adams

  2. What a great article! Thank you for this

    Rob MacGregor
    Class of 1991