Celebrating the 57-year history of the original De Anza High School and the history to come in the new facility that will take its place requires more than a single day.
That's why alumni, faculty and supporters of the campus serving Richmond and El Sobrante have earmarked two days for three events in August -- and want folks to mark their calendar now.
"This is to celebrate the opening of the brand new campus," said Lisa Carr of the De Anza class of 1977. "There's not even any landscaping around it yet, but it already looks beautiful."
An alumni committee has been meeting for more than a year to plan the De Anza All Years (1957-2012) Reunion Gala on Aug. 17 and 18, said Karen Mason, a Don alum from 1964 who returned to teach at the campus for more than 30 years.
The festivities start with a cocktail reception, hosted by the De Anza Alumni Association, from 7 to 11 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Kaiser Center Rooftop by Lake Merritt in Oakland. The venue, which boasts great elevated vistas, was chosen because it can accommodate up to 1,200 people.
Reception tickets are on sale now at the early bird rate of $45 per person through June 30. The deadline to order using the form available online at deanzaalumni.org is Aug. 3.
True boosters can get a Golden DON or reserved seat for $75 per person or a table for eight for $500.
The celebration continues with two gatherings on Aug. 18.
A representative of the Juan Batista De Anza National Trail will be at the event, and community group SPAWNERS will be showing off its environmental classroom by the creek.
"The architect, the project manager and other construction personnel are going to be taking small groups on hard hat tours of the campus." Mason said.
This is a chance to relive the old school, and get a preview of the new one, which will have the first De Anza theater and a small room called Memory Hall, where Dons memorabilia can be displayed.
"We're happy to hear from anybody who has memorabilia they want to donate," said Mason, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We're really hopeful that not only graduates but students and teachers know that the whole community is invited that Saturday," she added.
And while there is no admission charge, "We hope people will join the alumni association and can help with gifts to the new school," Mason said, including establishing a scholarship fund for future graduates. "We're looking to establish lots of traditions at the new school."
Kennedy High art teacher and artist Steve Mainini will be working on a mural for the school, where he graduated in 1987.
Also on Aug. 18 is the free (donations accepted) annual All Years Alumni Barbecue and Picnic to be hosted by Garrison Travers. It starts at 10 a.m. at Laurel Glen in Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in El Sobrante.
Alumni should bring their own blanket, and picnic and barbecue grills will be available.