Class of 1968 reunion committee member Vince Citrano places the black plaque to glue on the center of the bench by the Lyceum Thursday, March 9. (Summer Sueki)
Class of 1968 reunion committee member Vince Citrano places the black plaque to glue on the center of the bench by the Lyceum Thursday, March 9.

Summer Sueki

SH Class of ’68 reunites to view the $10,000 furnishings added on campus

March 13, 2023


Sheila Neri

One of the six new benches on campus funded by the Class of 1968 reunion committee. All have school colors of yellow and black with the Lancer knight logo next to “Class of 1968” in the center back section of the bench.

Class of ’68 reunion group to visit campus Thursday, March 9, to unveil special plaques for benches, tables it funded

After donating nearly $10,000 toward its alma mater for new outdoor furniture last summer, the Sunny Hills Class of 1968 reunion committee plans on visiting the campus on Thursday, March 9 to view the new benches and tables as well as unveil special plaques for them. 

The alumni dedicated the check for the installment of benches and tables in student-concentrated areas after a group of graduates had toured the campus with the school’s former principal, Allen Whitten, on Oct. 6, 2022.

The new additions to campus radiate the black and yellow school colors; featured prominently on each bench and table are a black engraving of the Lancer knight with the phrase, “Class of 1968,” in recognition of the reunion committee’s efforts in raising the funds needed to purchase the outdoor furniture.

Besides the informal inspection, those from the committee who are able to come to campus on Thursday, March 9, will unveil a small black plaque with a famous, inspirational saying in white lettering to be attached to each new bench and table.

The committee still awaits the attachment of nine black plaques containing inspirational messages in white lettering on the furnishings located around campus, which is set to take place March 9.

“The new tables are a great addition to the school because there were a lot of people who were in need of them,” said junior Ryan Mesnik, who first noticed them near the 30s building in February. “It’s kind that the Class of 1968 donated the tables and chairs, and I think the messages will be an interesting inclusion to them.”

Class of ’68 reunion committee chairman Brad Rawlins scheduled a visit to Sunny Hills to tour the campus once more to see the new fixtures.  

Rawlins sent the following schedule through an email response for The Accolade and principal Craig Weinreich:

  • Noon: Brad and Susan Rawlins and Pat Hartunian Simonian will meet up at Weinreich’s office, where he will show them the location of the new tables and benches.
  • 12:06 p.m.: Commence securing inspirational messages. 
  • 12:45 p.m.: We will have some of our Class of 68’ Reunion team arrive at this time for a brief celebration.
  • 1 p.m.: Depart for Taps [restaurant in] Brea for no host casual bite for those interested.

“We will forever be thankful for our days at [Sunny Hills] and are proud to be part of such a great school,” Brad Rawlins said in an August article.  “Our fundraiser was a small way to acknowledge our appreciation, and we look forward to seeing our donation go to needed improvements on campus on behalf of the Class of 1968.”


Rebekah Kim

Principal Craig Weinreich (left) receives a plaque with an engraved inspirational quote from Sunny Hills Class of 1968 reunion committee co-chairman Brad Rawlins as a gift Thursday, March 9, during fourth period by the 30s wing. The quote reads, “Education Is The Passport To The Future Tomorrow Belongs To Those Who Prepare For Today.” Rawlins and nine other graduates from the Class of 1968 reunion committee met on the SH campus to glue nine inspirational quotes on the new benches and tables school officials had purchased through the group’s $10,000 donation last summer.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Class of ‘68 reunion committee returns to campus to see new outdoor furniture funded from nearly $10,000 in donations

More than a year and two months.

That’s how long the Sunny Hills Class of 1968 spent fundraising and initiating campus improvements for its alma mater.

Raising over $9,500 in eight months, the 12-member reunion committee dedicated all proceedings toward the addition of six benches in front of the Lyceum and three tables near the 30s, 50s and 70s wings — all of which have been installed and ready for student use since early February.

Upon learning of the completion of this venture, committee members arranged with principal Craig Weinreich to take a look at the outdoor furniture on Thursday, March 9, during Period 4. 

At the informal gathering, the committee members met Weinreich in Room 4, who then toured the graduates to each new seating area. 

“Giving back is always good,” said Brad Rawlins, one of the 10 to visit the campus. “We will forever be grateful for the administration of both the past and current for steering us through life the way they did.”

Inspirational messages on the 6-inch-by-4-inch “plaques” were unveiled Thursday for the alumni to hand glue each one to the center area of the furniture. The cost to produce them was also funded by the ‘68 class donation. 

“We worked at this project really diligently so we knew it would be successful,” said Pat Simonian, a co-chairwoman of the reunion committee with Rawlins. “We didn’t think it would take so long for it to come to a culmination, but I think all of our efforts were well worth it.”

We worked at this project really diligently so we knew it would be successful. We didn’t think it would take so long for it to come to a culmination, but I think all of our efforts were well worth it.

— co-chairwoman of the reunion committee Pat Simonian

Simonian said she hoped to provide a gift more meaningful than just outdoor seating areas through the addition of education-related quotes from significant figures such as Dr. Seuss, Abraham Lincoln and John Dewey.

“I just felt that we needed something more than the bench to give students some food for thought,” she said. “So I suggested this idea to Brad, and we narrowed it down to the nine we used.”

After integrating each message sign onto the seats and tables, Rawlins spoke on behalf of the remaining ‘68 classmates and reflected on the memories shared at Sunny Hills.

Weinreich, who attended the alumni’s reunion event on Saturday, July 9, 2022, kept in contact with the reunion committee and former principal Allen Whitten as they planned for the fundraiser.

“I think their intentions on trying to inspire students because they had a great experience here is great,” Weinreich said. “The longer you get away, the more you can kind of think back to these experiences and see a different perspective.”

At the moment, Rawlins and Simonian have not planned a future long-term project for the school but look forward to keeping the opportunity open.

“My understanding is that this kind of effort in fundraising doesn’t take place very often,” Rawlins said. “In fact, we may be the only class that’s done anything like this, and it’s pretty special so we might do it again.”

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Henry Lee, Web Editor-in-Chief
After serving as the assistant sports editor during the 2021-2022 school year, senior Henry Lee looks forward to starting his fourth year serving as the Web Editor-in-Chief for The Accolade. While Lee focused on writing articles for the sports section the previous year, he hopes to cover a wider range of stories to capture the multiple aspects of the Sunny Hills student body.

When Lee isn't working for The Accolade, you can find him working with school clubs, playing volleyball or attempting to take a nap.
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Entering her final year on staff, senior Susie Kim looks forward to continuing The Accolade's online legacy as the web editor-in-chief. Kim plans on focusing on the frequency of online posting and incorporating more multimedia into stories across each section. After concluding her junior year as the news editor, Kim feels confident in reporting timely news both on and off campus. She is excited to work with this year's staff to continue producing The Accolade's print products.

Outside of spending time in the journalism room, Kim likes competing with her Science Olympiad teammates and listening to music.

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