Colonist Pedal Power Raises Funds, Friends for AHS

Under cloudy skies but bright Colonist pride and spirit, more than 100 cyclists pedaled Saturday, April 8, on behalf of Anaheim High clubs and athletic programs to raise funds for campus clubs and athletic programs.

The 1st Colony Bike-A-Thon was sponsored by owner John Marconi, the City of Anaheim, Visit Anaheim and several other sponsors. Support was also provided by AHS BROS.

Cyclists were provided free helmets from the Anaheim Fire departments, and free bike tune-ups and bikes were provided by


Following the Bike-A-Thon, a Resource Fair was held in the campus central quad featuring numerous community organizations.

AHS On Honor Roll for Contribution to Super Bowl History

The 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl is providentially turning the spot light on Anaheim High for the role the school’s Drill Team played in the first Super Bowl, as well as for having three graduates who coached and played in five Super Bowls, placing AHS on the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll.

The award-winning Ana-Hi-Steppers carried state flags in Super Bowl 1 and placed them within the outline of the US by created by two university bands.

The Ana-Hi-Steppers carried flags representing all AFL and NFL teams in Super Bowl I. The U.S.A. outline map was created by two university bands. The team also performed in a pre-game show.

The award-winning 1967 Ana-Hi-Steppers Drill Team, wearing traditional blue and gold Colonial costumes complete with white wigs and tri-corner hats, performed along with the Grambling State University Marching Band and the University of Arizona Symphonic Band. Musician Al Hirt was the half-time headliner, along with two rocket men who were propelled over the field by jetpacks.

The Colonist Hi-Steppers shared the field that January day with such greats as Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and the colorful Hank Stram. The game was watched by 50 million TV viewers and football fans who packed the LA Memorial Coliseum. (Billed as the most watched event in television history, more than 10 million viewers are expected to watch Super Bowl 50, Feb. 7, at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.)

Ironically, the Class of 1967 produced two football greats who are connected to what has become sport’s greatest spectacle. Gerry “Moon” Mullins starred in all four of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first four Super Bowl championships (IX, X, XIII, XIV), and Jim Fassel was named NFAnaheim High School Super Bowl High School Honor Roll Golden FootballsL Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm in New York, when he led the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV.

A third Anaheim football star, perhaps the school’s greatest player, Reuben Droughns from Class of 1996, played on special teams for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

To honor Anaheim High’s contribution to Super Bowl history, the NFL gifted the school with a three commemorative Wilson Golden Football imprinted with the names of Mullins, Fassel and Droughns.

Footage of the half-time show is available at:

Community Celebrates Dia de los Muertos at AHS

wp_000942To raise funds for its February prodution of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” Anaheim High Performing Arts Conservatory (APAC) invited the community to a Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration held Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 on the AHS campus.

The school’s central courtyard was transformed into a “Book of Life Festival” featuring dancing, musical acts, art installations, decorated altars, traditional foods, face painting, theatrical performances, mariachi, ballet folklorico and more.

Participants also bid on the artwork of Peter Perez, a  1957 Anaheim High graduate who has created and curated Dia de los Muertos installations throughout California and around the globe.wp_000889

Anaheim High’s award-winning Performing Arts Department trains its students in multi-disciplines, including dance, drama, music and technical theater in preparation for college, trade school and the workplace.

APAC will present Disney’s “Little Mermaid” at Cook Auditorium, Feb.  16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10, age 10 and under. Here are more photos from the event:

Opposing Teams of Historic 1956 CIF Championship Game Unite to Kick Start Documentary

Football program cover

Football program cover

It is considered the biggest high school football game in California history – the legendary 1956 CIF championship game between Anaheim and Downey High Schools. The game has never been matched in terms of local interest, young idols, and a record-setting crowd. Sixty years later, the game that ended in a tie between the two undefeated teams is still being celebrated by historians, football fans, and alumni from both high schools.

In anticipation of an Oct. 21-23 60th anniversary celebration of the game, both Anaheim and Downey are planning reunions and commemorations to honor players from the 1956 teams.

Both sides are also teaming up to help kick start a documentary film project, “A Last Hurrah.” The fundraising effort is to provide film maker Paul Molina with an initial production budget to record and edit interviews with players, including Anaheim’s star running back Mickey Flynn, as well as fans who attended the game.

“There is a sense of urgency,” says Molina. “It’s almost certain that these reunions will not be formally arranged ever again.”

A 5-minute promo video of the project may be viewed via the project’s GoFundMe campaign. When achieved, the $24,000 goal will allow completion of a work-in-progress by November in order to obtain finishing funds from foundations and organizations dedicated to historical and cultural preservation.

Molina graduated as a football star from Katella High School in Anaheim. He went on to UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, spending the past 25 years producing and writing documentaries and news programming for PBS, The Learning Channel, E! Entertainment, NBC affiliates, Netflix and others. Now he’s ready to film a project that is much more personal to him.

56-article-2“As a native southern California, I am very passionate about this dream project,” Molina said. “In today’s digital world, it’s difficult to appreciate the amount of hype this game generated 60 years ago, but the media buzz was unprecedented. Each team had a superstar in the backfield, Anaheim’s Mickey Flynn and Downey’s Randy Meadows. Each guy averaged over 16 yards per carry!”

The documentary will take viewers back to when Anaheim and Downey were still considered small towns that were truly represented by their high schools teams, each a football powerhouse with legendary coaches who would achieve hall of fame status: Anaheim’s Clare Van Hoorebeke and Downey’s Dick Hill. Businesses closed early, and opposing schools brought busloads of fans to watch the teams clash in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

But it’s also the aftermath of the gridiron match that proved a game of such magnitude could not – and would not – ever happen again.

“Although the game is what drives this story forward, this documentary is about much more – a social and cultural transformation of an entire region, when all eyes of the nation were on California,” says Molina.  “This documentary would appeal to all persons interested in American history in the 1950s.”

Molina is collaborating with Art Hansen, a CSUF professor emeritus who is writing a book entitled “The Golden Kingdom: Prep Football and Early Cold War Society and Culture in Southern California.”  The book, once published, will provide a social and cultural “context” to help readers fathom why the fortunes of high school football programs, as embodied and symbolized by the 1956 Anaheim Colonists and the Downey Vikings, assumed such potent significance, meaning, and value within early Cold War Southern California.

Molina adds: “The landscape of southern California was changing so rapidly that if we look back at that period from afar, perhaps we can also reflect on how we sometimes treat our heroes, and what that says about us,” he explained.  “Most importantly, this film will allow the men and women interviewed to tell their stories – which will make us all richer by reflecting upon their experiences, and ours.”

Click here to donate via the GoFundMe campaign.  Any amount is welcome, but incentives are being offered as follows:

$25 – A digital download of the finished documentary “A Last Hurrah.”

$50 – Digital downloads of “A Last Hurrah” and the 1956 Anaheim vs. Downey title game preserved by the OC Sports Hall of Fame and the Anaheim and Downey alumni associations.

$100 – Digital downloads of “A Last Hurrah,” the 1956 Anaheim vs. Downey title game, and the game program.

$250 – All of the above, plus a hard copy replica program signed by Mickey Flynn.

$500 – All of the above, plus an Anaheim High Mickey Flynn #25 jersey.

$1000 – All of the above, including a signed #25 Mickey Flynn jersey and a collectible OC Sports Hall of Fame book and poster featuring Anaheim High memorabilia from the 1956 game.

$5000 – All of the above, and screen credit as an executive producer

More information about the Anaheim celebration on Oct. 21 is available at For those who wish to make a donation by check, donations may be mailed to the AHSAA, P.O. Box 389, Anaheim, CA, 92805. Please write “A Last Hurrah” on the check’s memo line. Questions may be directed to or to Paul Molina via

Carl’s Drive-In A Popular Hang Out for Anaheim High Students

carls-drive-in_newkarchersWhen Anaheim High students take a trip down memory lane, they often cruise to a Carl’s Jr. and remember the days when the Carl’s Drive-In Barbeque opened on November 1944 at 1108 N. Palm St. (now Harbor). The restaurant featured curb, counter and table service. Carl cooked and his wife Margaret (Heinz) Karcher served the counter customers and cashiered.

The drive-in became an instant popular hang-out for Anaheim High students. With WWII coming to an end, Anaheim’s young vets were returning home. Carl’s Drive-In was the place to meet up with old friends and to be seen, especially if you drove a hopped-up Chevy or Ford. Of course, the best way to be found would be in a convertible “top down” munching on a hamburger, drinking a shake or a cherry Coke. Those inside plugged the juke box with nickels to listen to their favorite tunes while enjoying a Carl’s burger.

Interesting trivia for Anaheim history buffs: Before it became Carl’s, the building at 1108 N. Palm was a Tommy’s Drive-In, then it became Scotties, then Lucky’s, all offering drive-in curb service. The building has since been torn down.

carls-grand-openingThe first local Carl’s Jr. was built in 1956 on the former Janss Street next to St. Boniface Catholic Church. That former Carl’s Jr. is now the church’s Bethany Hall. The current flagship Carl’s Jr. is located at 1200 N. Harbor Blvd. Another favorite Carl’s at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Broadway has been torn down and is being rebuilt with a drive-thru lane. The grand-opening date is April 2012.

“Never to be Forgotten”

Anaheim High School’s relationship with Carl and Margaret went beyond kids visiting their drive-in and many Anaheim restaurants. Throughout the decades, the Karcher Family supported Anaheim and many of the Karcher children attended the city’s first high school.

Devout Catholics, the Karchers were life-time members of St. Boniface Church. Carl and Margaret were married Nov. 30, 1939, at St. Boniface and brought 12 children into the world.  Carl had several audiences with Pope John Paul II and was knighted into the order of Malta, one of the highest honors a lay person can attain.

The community truly adored Carl, who is considered an Anaheim legend. He was the honorary Grand Marshall of the 2006 Halloween Parade. Also, on Jan. 16, 2007, Carl and Margaret received the second star on the Anaheim/Orange County Walk of Stars at the entrance to Disneyland on Harbor Boulevard. At the City’s 150th anniversary sesquicentennial, a specially engraved brick honoring the late Carl and Margaret was laid in front of the Pearson Park Theater surrounding the rose garden honoring Sarah Fay Pearson.

Their dedication and service to the City of Anaheim and its youth will always be appreciated, as well as the memories they provided through their family-friendly restaurants.

Carl, Margaret and their family truly enjoyed the lovely home they purchased in 1949 at 700 N. Clementine Street until their passing. Both Carl and Margaret were laid to rest in the family plot at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Orange, but their legacy continues, as there are more than 3,000 Carl’s Jr. locations in 43 states and 13 countries, proudly offering menu items of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito and Red Burrito.



Generations of Colonists Unite for Membership Mixer

Good friends, fond memories and a love for “Old AU” were all part of the mix at the AHS Alumni Association Membership Drive Mixer held June 14 (Flag Day) at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim.

Thanks to the generosity of AHS alumni, family and friends, the AHSAA has donated more than $100,000 to Anaheim High and its students, including $15,000 in Spirit Awards for the 2015-16 school year!

For those who are unable to attend, please  click here to download the 2016-17 AHSAA DONOR FORM to mail in your donation or join via this website by clicking on the following link: BECOME A MEMBER

Questions may be directed to or call AHSAA Membership Director Debbie Vidana at 714-883-2389.

Colony-Inspired Literature

One to Twenty EightAnaheim High, the third oldest high school in Orange County, has a rich history that inspired writers to include “Old AU” in their books, including Tom Zaradich’s book Anaheim’s Dead – Ghostly Encounters With the Passed, which includes a chapter on Anaheim High and interviews with several AHS graduates and staff members.

The history of the Anaheim Union High School District and Anaheim High, established in 1898, is documented in Louise Booth’s book One to Twenty-Eight. Booth is a member of the Anaheim High Hall of Fame for her dedication as a teacher and her literary legacy.

Anaheim author and historian Stephen Faessel has included facts and photos about Anaheim High in his popular books documenting the history of the City of Anaheim. His wife Susan (Warden) Faessel from Class of 1967 is a major supporter of Anaheim organizations and service groups, including the Anaheim Public Library.

If you know of any other books featuring Anaheim High, please contact the AHSAA at

Anaheim High Self-Published Authors

Of the thousands of Anaheim High graduates who populate the world, there’s surely more alumni than listed here who have written books about their lives or on other subjects like Danny Dunton’s memoir of growing up in Anaheim. So far, we know of eight self-published Anaheim High authors and we’re proud to acknowledge:

Larry Macaray – Class of 1938

Margaret Peter Hein – Class of 1938

Robert Fischle – Class of 1941

Larry Zabel – Class of 1947

Ronald Muckenthaler – Class of 1948

Dave Bourne – Class of 1957

Danny Dunton – Class of 1959

Donald G. Zarlenga PhD – Class of 1960

Please let the AHSAA know of other alumni authors who are published authors by emailing

Monica Ortez

4j Monica OrtezA long-time Anaheim resident whose parents are both Anaheim High Class of 1937 graduates, Monica Ortez has been involved with the Mexican American Baseball book series since 2012, when her father was featured in Mexican American Baseball in Orange County.

A star athlete while at Anaheim High, Ray Ortez also is featured in three additional books in the Arcadia Publisher’s seven-book series, including the book Monica co-authored,  Mexican American Baseball in San Fernando Valley.

Ortez, Ray 1937

Ray Ortez – Class of 1937

She also writes for the Orange Countiana, a historical publication produced by the Orange County Historical Society.

Monica was born in Fullerton, raised in and currently resides in Anaheim. Her family, on her father’s side, has resided in Anaheim since the 1880s. Her mother was Florence Edith Spencer.

In 2013, Monica retired as an educator of 33 years, who managed a district-wide academic cultural-based American Indian Education Program for the Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach. She currently works for an educational enrichment program that teaches children academic and recreational activities after school at various school sites in north Orange County.

A board member of the Orange County Historical Society and former board member of the Anaheim Historical Society, Monica also volunteers her time as a docent at the Woelke-Stoffel House at Founder’s Park in Anaheim.

Stephen J. Faessel

Faessel, Stephen J.Author and historian Stephen J. Faessel has captured Anaheim’s history, including that of Anaheim Union High School, in his books Images of America: Early Anaheim and Remembering Anaheim.

Someone who’s truly earned the title of “Mr. Anaheim,” Faessel was born in 1950 of parents active in the local citrus industry. Faessel supported local history as past chairman OC Historical Commission and as a member of the Anaheim Museum Board of Directors and the Mother Colony Household.

Faessel served on the Commission’s Editorial Board for the republishing of the Orange County history, 100 Years of Yesterdays.  He has served as the Commission’s Chair for the 2000 and 2001 terms and chaired the County’s Historic Site Sub-Committee.

He is a longtime volunteer researcher for the Anaheim Public Library in the Elizabeth Schultz Local History Room.  In addition to being the Anaheim Public Utility Department’s unofficial Historian, he continues to write articles on Anaheim’s unique history, including his four recently published illustrated local history books, Early Anaheim and Anaheim 1940-2007 for Arcadia Publishing and Historic Photos of Anaheim and a coffee-table book, Remembering Anaheim both for Turner Publishing.

He has also crossed the division between historical preservation and civic growth as a member of the Anaheim Planning Commission and as past chairman of the Anaheim Public Utility Board, where he served as its unofficial historian.

In addition to his interest in local history, Faessel serves as vice-president of the Anaheim Community Foundation and as a board member of the Charitable Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West, which provides financial assistance to children with craniofacial birth defects.

Faessel lives in Anaheim with Susan (Warden), his wife of 35 years and an Anaheim High Class of 1967 graduate who has also tirelessly served the Anaheim Community. Stephan and Susan are being honored as the 2016 Cypress College Foundation American Citizens of the Year.