Anaheim High’s Connection to Jerry Lewis

A bit of fun trivia has come to light with the recent death of Jerry Lewis. Did you know that Anaheim High has a connection to this comedy great through Class of 1933 graduate Marie Wilson?

Katherine Elizabeth “Maybelle” Wilson – a.k.a. Marie Wilson –grew up in Anaheim. An inheritance helped her fullfill her dream of becoming a Hollywood starlit. Maybelle dropped her family nickname and transformed herself into radio, TV and film star Marie Wilson, a voluptuous blonde bombshell who earned three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marie earned national recognition for her role in “My Friend Irma,” the title role of a radio series that became one of the most popular shows of the late 1940s. The radio show evolved into a TV series from 1952 to 1954, which then led to two movies titled, “My Friend Irma” and “My Friend Irma Goes West” featuring the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

More about this famous Anaheim High graduate is available via this link.

A History of Anaheim Principals

The first regular high school classes were held on the second floor of Central School beginning in 1898.

The appointment of Anaheim High’s first alumnus principal has inspired the Alumni Association to take a closer look at the men and women who have filled this top position going back to 1869.

Robert Saldivar, a Class of ’96 graduate, is Anaheim High’s newest principal and its first alumnus to fill that position.

He follows in the footsteps of 23 other men and woman who have led the high school, starting with James Miller Guinn in 1869.

Click here to see a complete list of Anaheim principals and view available photos and bios.

Click below to see a gallery of available photos:

Gallery of AHS Principals

Sources: AHSAA Archives, Anaheim Library Heritage Center, “One To Twenty-Eight – A History of the Anaheim Union High School District” by Louise Booth, Natural History Museum Foundation, Los Angeles County, WorldCat record id: 23250333, and the description of Papers of James Miller Guinn, 1824-1918 (bulk 1870-1918),Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, WorldCat record id: 299167713.

Class of ’57 Bill Otta Inducted in Tennis Hall of Fame

Former Saddleback College tennis coach Bill Otta, an Anaheim High Class of ’57 graduate, has been inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame during an enshrinement banquet held May 25, at the  University of Georgia campus during the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships.

Otta, who spent 25 years coaching tennis at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, was one of the original staff members at Saddleback when the college opened its doors in 1968, being hired as the first athletic trainer while also teaching classes in first aid, health, sports medicine, and tennis.

The college started its tennis program prior to the 1975 season with Otta being hired as the first tennis coach.  He spent 22 years as the men’s tennis coach, capturing 17 conference titles, 10 Southern California regional titles, and eight state championships.  He also spent three seasons as the women’s tennis coach, winning two more conference titles.

During a 34-year career at Saddleback College he spent 25 years coaching tennis where he amassed an overall record of 447-87 (.837 winning percentage) with 19 conference titles.  In addition to numerous conference Coach of the Year awards, he was named the ITA Community College Coach of the Year in 1990 and the California Community College Coaches Association Coach of the Year in both 1991 and 1996.

He has previously been inducted into the Cal State L.A. Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and the California Community College Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.

Of course, Bill was a standout tennis player at Anaheim, lettering four years. He went on to play for Fullerton College, where he was a conference champion of the FC championship teams in 1957 and 1958. He also played on the conference championship teams at CSU Los Angeles during 1960-62. His first coaching job was with AUHSD Magnolia High School from 1963 to 1967.

In addition, Bill co-authored a book on tennis with UCLA Coach Glenn Bassett entitled “Tennis Today,” a textbook for tennis classes at the college level.

Congratulations Bill!

2017 Member Mixer “A Family Affair”

Thanks to the support of the Anaheim Hofstetter Family, the AHS Alumni Association 2017 Membership Mixer was a resounding success. Fun, as well as financial rewarding, the June 9 event was enjoyed by a crowd of Colonists who filled the backyard of Barry and Cathi (Soden) Hofstetter’s Anaheim estate home.

The Americana-themed party was also an opportunity for a pre-Flag Day “Salute to Anaheim High Fallen Heroes and Colonist Veterans.”

It’s not too late to join the AHSAA for the 2017-2018 membership year. A Legacy (Lifetime) membership is also available.  Click here for the AHSAA Donor Form.

2017 Spring Gold & Blue Newsletter

Click here to read the AHS Alumni Association 2017 Spring Gold & Blue newsletter packed with information about campus updates, alumni activities, outstanding Colonists and more.

Documentary of Historic ’56 Football Game Endorsed by AHS Hall of Famer, NFL Coach Jim Fassel ’67

With nearly half of the $24,000 goal realized for initial funding, Anaheim High’s Jim Fassel (’67) is working with film maker Paul Molina to push for the final amount needed to turn a documentary of  the historic 1956 CIF championship football game into a realty.

Click here to view Jim’s promo!

With hundreds of hours of research, filmed interviews and footage already in place, “A Last Hurrah” is closer to being realized. The documentary is aimed at PBS audiences, and a special Orange County premiere of the film is being planned for sometime in 2018.

All donations are tax deductible if made through the AHSAA. Mail to P.O. Box 389, Anaheim, CA 92815. Please write “A Last Hurrah” in the check memo line.

Let us know your donation is in the mail by dropping a note to

Depending on the donation amount, acknowledgment gifts are available, including premiere tickets, a copy of the game film and program, or even a film credit if you want to see your name in lights. Donations will also be acknowledged on the project website:

Questions may be addressed to Paul Molina at 651-492-2011 or

Click here to see photos from Anaheim High’s recent 60th anniversary celebration of the game with former players, cheer, yell leaders and fans.

Thanks for your support of a project that immortilizes Anaheim High’s football program led by Hall of Famers Clare Van Hoorebeke, Mikey Flynn and other legendary Colonist players.



Join the AHSAA for June 9 Membership Mixer

The Anaheim High School Alumni Association will celebrate its eighth anniversary with an Americana-themed membership mixer on Friday, June 9, at a private home in Anaheim. (Click here to see event flyer and donor sign-up form.)

The June 9 mixer will also be an opportunity to pay homage to Colonist veterans and fallen heroes, including 65 men and one female graduate who died while serving their country.

The event is open to all alumni, family and friends who renew their annual membership at the $25 level or above. The admission fee includes an Americana menu of BBQ pulled pork and beef sandwiches, coleslaw, mac and cheese, fruit salad and an assortment of desserts and beverages, including a no-host wine and beer bar.

Various incentives, including a Colonist tote bag, are available to those who join. In addition, a free Colonist collectible will be presented to all who attend. Music, entertainment, a silent auction and opportunity drawing will also be part of the evening activities.

To RSVP and be provided with the event address to the Anaheim home of Barry and Cathi (Soden) Hoffstetter ’67 (off Sunkist between Ball and Wagner) please send an email to or mail in your donor  sign-up form to the AHSAA, P.O. Box 389, Anaheim, CA  92815.

Questions? Call Membership Director Debbie Vidana at 714-883-2389.

Established as a non-profit corporation in February 2009, the mission of the AHSAA is to serve as an Association of active alumni who help, through donations, endowments, and as volunteers, to save and preserve AHS history and assist the Anaheim High Student Body by providing scholarships, supporting school programs and campus improvement projects, and by advancing Colonist Spirit, Pride & Tradition.

AHSAA Announces First Endowed Scholarship

Gania (Demaree) Trotter, an Anaheim Union High School Class of 1944 graduate, along with other alumni, has established an endowed scholarship through the AHS Alumni Association to honor her father, Dr. Paul H. Demaree, who served as a AUHS teacher and administrator from 1925 through 1958.

The income from the endowment will provide annual scholarships for Anaheim High graduates to further their educations and advancement to professional careers. All alumni are invited to contribute to this fund as a centerpiece of continuing care for their alma mater. Many former AUHS students may personally remember Dr. Demaree or may have parents who were students during his years at AUHS.

Demaree’s tenure at Anaheim High started when he joined the AUHS staff as a teacher of social studies and to coach football and baseball. In 1926, Demaree’s “B” team had the best record of all the AUHS teams. Upon the death of Joseph A. Clayes, who served as principal for nearly 22 years from 1919 to 1941, the School Board rehired Demaree, who had left Anaheim for three years to serve as principal of Capistrano High School.

At the first assembly of the 1941 school year, Demaree reminded the student body that “principal” ended in “pal,” a word he hoped would describe his relationship with the students. Not only was he a friend and father figure to Anaheim pupils and teachers, four of his students were his own children, including daughters Kathleen (’38), Gania (’44), Ruth (’45) and and son Dan (’50).

It was most definitely a family affair for Demaree and his wife, Mary, who often entertained students and teachers at their home and, for many years, prepared and served a turkey dinner to the faculty and staff as a prelude to the school holiday break.

He was also a beloved figure in the community and gave leadership to the Rotary Club, his church and the YMCA. Mr. and Mrs. Demaree worked each summer at the YMCA’s Camp Osceola in the San Bernardino Mountains, where they would cook elaborate meals for camp’s teenage occupants. Memorable to many from that era were the hot caramel yeast rolls the Demarees baked each morning for the hungry campers.

An active board member of the local YMCA, he also found time to be counselor for the Blue and Gold Hi-Y Club of more than 100 members. Six of them jointly shared valedictorian honors at graduation in 1950.

Demaree also organized a Toastmaster’s program to encourage public speaking skills in the community. He is credited with being one of the original founders of Toastmasters International. He also founded a Junior Toastmasters program at the high school.

The start of World War II dramatically changed the atmosphere of AUHS when 50 students of Japanese descent were forced to relocate with their families to concentration camps. Demaree was vocal in speaking out against the discrimination towards Japanese-Americans, a very courageous position to take considering the war fervor at the time. Demaree kept in touch with many Japanese-American students who were interred during the war and encouraged them to continue their studies.

Life at the high school was further affected as students left for jobs in the defense industry and to serve in the military. Demaree asked all his students to carry identification cards in case of bombings. On the first day of school in 1942, Principal Demaree called the student body together with all of them being sworn in the Victory Corps. Students participated in scrap metal drives and held contests to sell the most war bonds and stamps. All teachers were required to take a 10-week course in first aid.

When a manpower shortage affected the 1943 harvest, Demaree responded to pleas for student volunteers from local farmers by declaring half day schedules (called the Victory Schedule)  from the beginning of school in September through mid-October.

The popular Nutrition Period of today originated in 1943, when Demaree introduced a 10-minute “relaxation period” because too many students were coming to school without eating until noon. He felt their health and learning efficiency were impaired.

The war in Europe was over just as the Class of 1945 was getting ready to graduate. The Japanese surrendered in August, leaving a sense of freedom in the United States that had not been felt for years. Demaree held the first assembly on Sept. 24 at which he introduced the new student body president who read the list of AUHS students who had died in the war.

The next 10 years saw the City of Anaheim evolve from a sleepy farm community to a post-war boom town. Change was inevitable for the school as well. For the first time since the District’s establishment, Anaheim High’s principal vacated his post to become the full-time superintendent. Demaree and his staff kept up a frantic pace of buying land and building schools to keep ahead of the educational needs of the children moving into Anaheim. The District asked Anaheim residents to approve a bond measure for $6 million to help accomplish this monumental task.

Demaree retired in 1958 when the building program was in full swing. Yet even after retirement, Demaree continued to be involved in the dedication of new schools in the AUHSD. Throughout his time as Anaheim’s principal and the District superintendent, Demaree provided steady leadership and support to the students and teachers, continually espousing the “one family” concept for the faculties of schools as new ones opened.

Demaree left behind a legacy as one of Anaheim High’s most beloved principals, serving during a time of amazing transformation of the school system and its students. He will continue to serve as a benefactor to the students of Anaheim High School through the newly established “Dr. Paul Demaree Endowed Scholarship.”

To donate to this fund, which will be managed by the Scholarship Committee of the AHSAA, a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation, please send a donation to the AHSAA, P.O. Box 389, Anaheim, CA, 92815, with the notation that the donation is to be placed in the Paul H. Demaree Endowment fund. Questions may be address to Reon Howard, AHSAA Scholarship Chairperson, or emailed to For more information on the AHSAA, visit