If you go to the official Armijo High School website (http://www.fsusd.org/Domain/8) and click “Our School” and then click the “Alumni” tab, you will be taken to the website of the Armijo Alumni Association, www.armijoalumni.com.
If you follow the same procedure on the official Fairfield High School website (http://www.fsusd.org/Domain/13), you get nothing. That’s because there is no Fairfield High School Alumni Association. And that is a doggone shame.
It is especially so since it seems as if for the past few years in particular, Fairfield High grads have been in the news for extraordinary achievements including (but not limited to):
• Class of 2002 grad Desmond Bishop recovering a crucial fourth-quarter fumble in Super Bowl XLV in 2011 en route to winning the NFL Championship with the Green Bay Packers (he recently signed with the Minnesota Vikings).
• Class of 1990 grad Tracy K. Smith winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for her collection of poems, “Life on Mars.”
• Class of 2006 grad Keshia Baker winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 4×400 relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
• Class of 1975 grad Gen. John Campbell being sworn in as the U.S. Army’s 34th vice chief of staff in March.
That is an impressive run and also, beyond the headlines, there are numerous other FHS alums who have made significant achievements, whether it be in their professional lives or by becoming productive citizens and raising families.
Armijo High was founded in 1891 and graduated its first class in 1893. The Armijo Alumni Association has its genesis in a gathering of alumni at the Farm Bureau Hall in Suisun City in 1956. Attendees included members going back to the Class of 1895.
A committee was formed to help plan the school’s centennial celebration in 1991 and at the last meeting of that committee, Class of 1936’s Harry Chadbourne, who attended the 1956 gathering, gave a tearful plea to keep it going. The Armijo Alumni Association was born.
I joined the association this year. At first I thought it was about simply helping with class reunions, but actually the cornerstone of the association is raising money for scholarships or improvements to our alma mater. Including the $9,600 awarded in 2013, the total given out since 1991 is $111,985.
Fairfield High was built to accommodate the exponential growth Fairfield experienced in the 1950s and 1960s. The school started receiving some students in 1964 and the first graduating class was in 1968. (Although class of 1969 grads are quick to point out that they were the first class to go all four years at Fairfield and not split time at Armijo while the school was being completed).
It took 100 years for Armijo to get an alumni association, but Fairfield High can get one in half that time as they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Armijo Alumni Association members are more than willing to put aside any residual cross-town rivalry (for a while) to help.
In fact, general scholarships (not earmarked for a specific purpose) are open to qualifying seniors from Armijo, Rodriguez and, yes, Fairfield high schools.
Another reason for Fairfield High to start its own alumni association is that there are numerous for-profit companies posing as such that charge memberships basically to do what a search on Facebook could do for free. Their fees do not help Fairfield High School.
The Armijo Alumni Association has had to threaten legal action against one such organization, but with the development of our own website, we can offer members exclusive content, plus they know their $10 annual membership is going directly to aid Armijo.
To get started, the most important thing is having dedicated people who can give of their time. Money is needed, too, of course, but people power – Falcon power, if you must, is what is needed.
Obviously everyone can’t be that deeply invested in such an enterprise, but if you are feeling even a twinge of interest, then consider yourself officially called out.
Maybe one day the cross-town rivalry could be about which alumni association awarded the most scholarships. Go Indians! Go . . . F-F-Falcons! Man, that was still hard to say.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Armijo Alumni Association at 426-1900.