By Ken Epstein and Ashley Chambers
McClymonds High School, the school of champions and home of the original Warriors, is celebrating its 100th anniversary next week with a series of events that honors generations of graduates and recognizes the continuing importance of the school in the West Oakland community.
The celebration will feature Joe Ellis, who played in the NBA for the Warriors, who will be master of ceremonies; and keynote speaker Ben Tapscott, former McClymonds coach and teacher.
A special honoree will be Inez Gray-Harvey, 100 years old, who graduated from the school in 1933.
The Oakland Post will be honored at the celebration for its long-term commitment to the Oakland community.
A free meet and greet for members of the extended McClymonds family will be held Friday evening, July 24, at 6 p.m. at the E-One Entertainment Club at 200 Hegenberger Road in Oakland.
A free memory tour of McClymonds High School, including the gym, library and cafeteria, will be held Saturday morning, July 25, 10 a.m., at McClymonds High, 2607 Myrtle St.
The main event, which is already sold out, will feature dinner, live music and a program at the Sequoyah Country Club on Saturday, July 25. A souvenir book, “McClymonds High School’s First 50 Years,” will be distributed to guests.
The “School of Champions,” started in 1915 as a summer school, was named after former OUSD Superintendent J.W. McClymonds. In 1927, McClymonds transitioned into a standard school for both junior high and high school students.
It was first located at 14th and Myrtle, now the site of West Oakland Middle School. The school moved to its current building on 26th and Myrtle in 1957.
Initially, student enrollment at McClymonds was predominantly white, according to George Randolph, class of 1960, and Tina “Teague” Dright, class of 1961. Students of color began to attend the school in the 40s and 50s during the Great Migration of African Americans to the area after World War II.
“A lot of people that came through those doors have gone on and done great things in the world,” said alumnus George Randolph. “The spirit that came out of those people, we see it in what they’re doing now.”
McClymonds has a long list of notable graduates, including:
Lionel Wilson, a superior court judge and Oakland’s first African American mayor;
Ron Dellums, former U.S. Congressman and mayor of Oakland;
Nicholas Petris, State Senator;
School board members James Norwood, Sylvester Hodges, Lucella Harrison and David Anderson;
Many professional athletes, among whom are Bill Russell, NBA Hall of Fame; Frank Robinson, MLB player, Hall of Fame; Curt Flood, MLB player; Vada Pinson, MLB player; and Jim Hines, Olympic Gold medalist, 100-meter dash record holder.
In the field of music, graduates include jazz musician Pete Escovedo, MC Hammer, Grammy award-winning rapper, and musician Yancie Taylor.
“The events will be fast paced, but there will be plenty of time to talk and reconnect,” said Sylvester Hodges, class of 1960, who is part of the group that has been organizing the celebration for the past year.
Also at the Saturday night celebration, guests will be asked for a resolution calling on the Oakland Unified School District to promise to never change the name of McClymonds High School, no matter what reforms or redesigns the district adopts in the future, said Hodges.
Courtesy of the Oakland Post, July 18, 2015 (postnewsgroup.com)