Thousands Celebrate Corona del Mar High School 60-Year Anniversary

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Corona del Mar High School’s Orchesis dance team

The long-awaited 60th Anniversary celebration of Corona del Mar High School, sponsored by the CDM Foundation, drew nearly 2,000 people to the campus on Saturday, October 22, during the day, and to the Newport Dunes that night for the “Rock the Endowment” music and food fest.

Hundreds of alumni, families, former teachers, coaches and administrators, and local residents descended on the campus during the day for an all-alumni, all-community Open House, with Jubilee committee member Anne Kittleson overseeing.

There were 200 student-led campus tours, a showcase of 27 academic groups, a pep rally with musical and pep squad performances, and the dedication of the William (Bill) Sumner Track, which 250 Sumner supporters and students attended.

Three members of the school’s first graduating class in 1964 attended the day. Susan Schisler Webster amd Virginia Thomas Fickes were from Orange County, but Bob Newman flew in from Minnesota for the occasion.

The school’s first employee, 98-year-old Vice Principal Jerry McClellan, also attended and was warmly greeted by CDM High School Principal Jacob Haley.

The on-campus event closed with the track dedication to beloved track and cross country coach, William (Bill) Sumner, who has been at CDM High School for 39 years.

Coach Sumner’s track dedication

“I came here for two or three years, and I’m still here,” Sumner said. “What does that tell you?”

Accolades abounded from his many students, fellow teachers, the board of trustees and Principal Jacob Haley.

Later that evening at Newport Dunes, nearly 1,200 ticket holders gathered for the “Rock the Endowment” Food and Music Fest, with three bands performing: the 80s cover band Flashback Heart Attack, The Side Deal (three of whom are CDM alums), and the 80s band, The English Beat, just in from their European tour.

The Side Deal: CDM alums Joel Owen, Stan Frazier on drums, and Scott Owen, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, formerly with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers

John Ireland, class of 81 and the Voice of the LA Lakers, was emcee.

The nonprofit CDM Foundation, which hosted the entire day, raised an estimated $1.3 million from ticket monies and sponsorships to establish the Crown of the Sea Endowment for the school’s College & Career Guidance Program, its “Challenge Success” Mental Health and Wellness Program, and funding for technology, music and the arts.

Corona del Mar Foundation Jubilee and Music Fest committee, from left, Craig Johnson, ’87, Christy Ward, Joe Stefano, ’82, Bob “Smitty” Smith, ’73, Eric Paulsen, ’83, Amber Snider, and Kristin Martin, ’86.

Title Sponsor was Vivante. Presenting Sponsor was Patrick’s Purpose. Also adding to the bottom line was a custom surfboard experience for auction along with signed guitars from The Side Door and The English Beat bands.

An executive committee, composed of alumni and/or CDM Foundation board members, worked together a year to plan the celebration. They included past Foundation Chairs and Alumni Association Co-Chairs Eric Paulsen and Joe Stefano, Bob “Smitty” Smith, Anne Kittleson, Christy Ward, Amber Snider, Craig Johnson, and Kristin Martin.

Current Foundation Co-Chairs Christy Smith and John Jenkins were also heavily involved.

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Student Body President TJ Rokos with Principal Jacob Haley
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