Valley High School Celebrates Its Past and Present with an Alumni BBQ
When one associates a sun-drenched afternoon and a BBQ, you might immediately think about family. On Friday, this was accurate description of what occurred at VHS. Valley High School is the continuation school for the Dublin Unified School District. It exists as an option for students who need an alternative to the comprehensive high school. Valley provides a complete educational program for a variety of students with a wide range of skills, interests and needs. There are approximately 90 students currently enrolled at VHS. Last year, Valley High School was recognized as a Model Continuation School by the California Department of Education (read more…).
Valley High School’s Alumni BBQ event kicked off at 12:45PM and went on into the afternoon. Current and former students were welcomed with a large assortment of lunch offerings and sweets. Former staff members are also invited to join in the festivities. The air was filled with music and an overall positive vibe. To understand how all of this came about and what it meant to the site, OneDublin.org reached out to the organizer of this event, Stephanie Sbranti.
Stephanie has been a Certificated Staff Member at Valley High for eight years. She earned her B.A. in History from the University of California, Davis and attained her Teaching Credential from St. Mary’s College. She currently teaches courses in Civics, Economics, Leadership and Culinary Arts. If the last name sounds familiar, yes, she is married to City of Dublin Mayor and Dublin High School Alumni, Tim Sbranti.
OneDublin.org: What was the genesis of the VHS Alumni BBQ and how has it been organized?
Stephanie Sbranti: “The Alumni BBQ was started three years ago when our former Secretary Karen Miller returned for a visit after moving to Idaho. BBQ’s have always been a part of the Valley High culture and I knew that many of our former students would want to see her. It was a huge success with many former students in attendance. From the beginning, this event has been planned and executed by my Leadership class with support from the entire site staff.”
OneDublin.org: Why is it important to conduct and to continue this event?
Sbranti: “There are several reasons. Valley High has always had the motto of “We are family” and we want to maintain that bond between the alumni and the school. Many alumni return over the course of the year and this is an event that provides them with the opportunity to reunite with former classmates and teachers. I love the idea of connecting alumni with current students so that they can share their experiences and advice.”
OneDublin.org: How have you promoted this event and what are your aspirations for future reunions?
Sbranti: “Initially, we simply used word of mouth communications and we tried using Facebook this year. We also installed a large sign in front of the site weeks prior to the event. Interestingly, we have found that word of mouth has been very successful. Moving forward, we are building an Alumni contact binder that we hope will facilitate an even better turnout.”
The event was a success as evidenced by the images. The luncheon served was provided by a combination of the Culinary Arts program, some food purchased through year-long fundraisers as well as dishes that were donated by families and staff.
During the event, OneDublin.org had the unique opportunity to meet with some real pioneers at VHS. Also in attendance were two former staff members that were largely responsible for making Valley High School what it is today. Linda Flanagan joined Valley High in 1975 and still occasionally contributes as a substitute teacher to this day. She resides in Oakland. Tom Simonds is the first teacher that was employed to work at Valley High in 1967. The original campus was located in Pleasanton and then was established in Dublin on York Drive. When asked what subjects he taught back then, he responded “Back at that time, I taught everything!” Tom is 84 years old. With apologies to Jack LaLanne, Mr. Simonds is the fittest octogenarian that we have ever met. He developed his passion for weight lifting when he was an enlisted serviceman in the Army and was stationed in Japan. He presently resides in Livermore but he would not have missed this event for anything.
A sunny afternoon combined with BBQ? It sounds like a family affair to us.