The Ravenswood High School Alumni, including classes from 1960-1973, held a picnic on August 26, 2023, at Cuesta Park in Mountain View and the East Palo Alto Community Archive (EPACA) was there!
The well-attended event was a prime opportunity for EPACA which is continuously seeking potential interviewees to populate its video archive as well as memorabilia collections.
Sharifa Wilson, EPACA’s Executive Director, spent the afternoon meeting and persuading former students of the Ravenswood High School to tell the story of their experiences attending the only full-fledged public high school in the city’s history.
“EPACA intends to attend similar community events as part of our strategy to attract individuals and organizations with a history of living, working or operating in East Palo Alto,” said Ms. Wilson.
“The Ravesnwood Alumni event was particularly fruitful for us,” she noted, adding that she met quite a few alumni who, after learning about EPACA, showed great interest in being interviewed.
The school, which formally opened in 1957, lasted less than twenty years due to several reasons, especially an unwillingness on the part of parents from the rest of the Sequoia Union High School to enroll their children in a school that was located in the then still unincorporated East Palo Alto which demographically, in the late fifties and early sixties, was rapidly shifting from a White to a predominantly Black population.
Former students spanning all racial and ethnic affiliations have retained their pride for the school and have passionately continued to gather, sometimes several times annually, to keep their memories alive.
Ravenswood High School was the last full-fledged high school built in the Sequoia Union High School District.
The Sequoia Union High School District was formed in 1895 with the opening of the first high school. Named Sequoia, the high school had 10-12 grades. 9th grade was included until 1899.
The high school, according to historians, drew students from elementary districts of Redwood City, Menlo Park, Belmont, West Union, Belmont, Greersburg, Portola Valley and the Ravenswood City School District.