Newsletter - December 2022

Pasadena High School Alumni Association

Bulldog Blessings

This holiday season can foster a renewed sense of gratitude for connections with family and friends. Please consider your gratitude for your experience at Pasadena High School: a favorite teacher, activity, classmate, or sports teammate. Many of us have positive, indelible memories from our Bulldog campus life. Your PHS Alumni Association asks you to consider a generous year-end donation toward our work in 2023 to support the special needs of the school and offer academic scholarships in May. The PHSAA is a certified 501c3 non-profit. Please send your donations to: Pasadena High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) 530 S. Lake Ave, #961 Pasadena, CA 91101 (626) 767-2925

News from PHS Alumni Association Board Meeting

  • We have resumed regularly scheduled Board meetings after 2 ½ years of Covid-19 and recent deaths among Board leadership.
  • Met with PUSD Risk Management Representative, Keyan Aghili. PHSAA is now registered as an Official Organization with PUSD in partnership with PHS.
  • There was a great turnout for Turkey Tussle game and pregame Tailgate festivities.
  • Committees need to be created to reach out to ALL Alumni for volunteer help.
  • The PHSAA Website was revamped four months ago:
  • The new PHS Principal, Dr. Mathew Kodama, was introduced at Board meeting on PHS campus. He graduated from Blair in 1989. He was Assistant Principal at PHS in 2015. He enthusiastically supports the work at PHSAA.
  • Thomas Holmes (PHS 2019) is current webmaster for Pasadena High School and will help to support Alumni communications.
  • Fundraising: Alumni T shirts $25, hats $20, retro 50’s style Hoodie special order. No resale, only donation.
  • We plan to offer scholarships to graduating seniors spring 2023.
  • Need for Alumni volunteers as mentors and tutors, and school spirit guidance.
  • Committees: Membership, Reunions (attend reunions to promote PHSAA), Board officer nominations (PHSAA annual organizing meeting in May).
  • Working on Grant application to Tournament of Roses Foundation.
  • Campus Beautification Bond Measure O for PUSD.
  • The picture below is from our recent alumni association meeting.
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Varsity Boys Basketball

You can watch the Varsity Boys Basketball team in action at one of their upcoming tournaments.

Tarkanian Classic - December 19 - 22

Las Vegas, NV

The Bulldogs are in the Gatorade Division. Their first scheduled game is at 2:00 pm December 19th vs Silverado High School (NV) at Faith Lutheran High School.

The Classic at Damien - December 26 - 30

La Verne, CA

The Bulldogs are in the Bronze Division. Their first scheduled game is at 5:30 pm December 26 vs Triuium Prep (AZ) at the Damien Athletic Center.

Athletic schedules can be found on the school's website
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Famous Bulldog Alumni: James Turrell (PHS 1961)

Pasadena High School has graduated many famous alumni in its 132-year history. A few have become world famous. James Turrell, Class of 1961, is world famous for his work with the Light and Space movement and his devotion to a spectacular land art project, The Roden Crater.

James is known throughout the world for his exhibitions using lighting and creating “skyspaces”, which are enclosed lighted spaces with an opening in the roof of an exhibit hall. Designed for a small group of people, viewers sit on benches, within a space with Jim’s creative lighting, and view the sky through an opening in the roof. These magical skyspace experiences have been exhibited at Los Angeles Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and at museums in Europe and South America.

Early October this year, I reconnected with Jim, after sixty years. I knew him as our student body president in 1960 and in our mutual participation in Key Club. On an RV trip to Flagstaff, I spent a whole day with him visiting the Roden Crater, an extinct cinder cone volcano located fifty miles north of Flagstaff. He bought the crater in 1979 and since then has been creating the largest land art project in the world. We drove through his cattle ranch, where he is raising 1400 head of angus cattle. The Roden Crater and Painted Desert rise in the distance. Jim has spent decades moving tons of dirt and creating tunnels and lighted chambers within the crater, creating a huge naked-eye observatory.

We entered a tunnel at the base of the volcanic crater. Jim led me through dim darkness toward a massive basalt slab of rock, within which was embedded a circle of white marble. There are two sides to this slab and two lighted tunnels lead down toward this focal point. One tunnel captures the sun and reflects that image on one side of the white marble. Another tunnel captures the moon and reflects that image on the marble. Jim guided me up the incline of one lighted tunnel with ribbed walls. As I climb the steep corridor, it looks like a telescope, which was Jim’s intention to project the sun or moon on to the two sides of marble circle. Astrophysicists helped Jim to plan the shape and placement of these tunnels so they could capture the changes of the sun and moon in the different seasons. At the end of the tunnel, I come to an open room, with a stone bench encircling the space and a golden staircase leading up to an oval aperture open to the sky. This is one of his famous skyspaces.

When I was a chaplain working in an ICU unit in Berkeley, California, I had several encounters with patients who had experienced sudden death but were resuscitated. When their heart had stopped, they described walking through a tunnel of light with a golden staircase at the end, leading up to the sky. Several chambers have been built within the crater that have wondrous acoustics and mystical lighting.

Access to the Roden Crater project is limited at this time. Jim is constructing an RV park and lodges around the crater so that the public can experience this amazing place some time in the future.

The pictures below are

  • President Obama presenting the National Medal of Arts to James Turrell, 2014.
  • View of Roden Crater
  • Interior tunnel in crater leading to golden staircase

Father Brad Karelius (PHS 1963).


A Warm Bulldog Welcome to the new PHS Band Director - Mr. Miguel Alvarez-Diaz

Please give a warm Bulldog welcome to our new Band Director, Mr. Miguel Alvarez-Diaz!

"My name is Mr. Alvarez and I am thrilled to be the Band Director at Pasadena High School. I began my musical journey in middle school — being awarded with superior ratings in solo competitions in the SCSBOA. Due to a shortage of trombonists at my high school, I volunteered to learn the instrument and it opened new doors for me. As a trombonist, I was privileged to perform in the Rose Parade twice, in the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. I also performed in the Pomona Concert Band, Purpose Church Orchestra, as well as gigged around Southern California. In 2017, I was given the opportunity to march in the London New Years Day parade as Drum Major.

I attended Azusa Pacific University, where I earned my Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education. While attending APU, I was grateful to have performed in numerous ensembles, such as: Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Workshop, Jazz Combos, Men’s Chorale, Studio Orchestra, and Symphonic Band. In partnership with the Scholarship Undergraduate Research Experience, I studied the beneficial impacts of music to students with special needs – specifically with speech development barriers – and presented my findings at the California Music Education Association Conference.

As an instrumental music educator, I intend to achieve three goals: foster artistry in musical performance and practice, building community both in and out of the classroom, and shape students to be developing professionals. Many activities accomplish these standards, however, music is one of the few activities that provides the opportunity to achieve all three. Under my guidance, I will provide spaces for practice on musical performance, attentive rehearsals that stimulate artistry, academic encouragement, meaningful performances, and cultivate leaders to take on the workforce.

Ultimately, this program is an establishment where students take the initiative for their craft and pursue their musical goals.

I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you and to create music."

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Pasadena High School Alumni Association

We are a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) focused on helping the students and staff at Pasadena High School make our former alma mater into a great learning experience. We organize fundraisers, award scholarships and hold community-building events.