Oakland Technical High School: 100 Years of Educating Oakland

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tech will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014-15. We are proud to highlight a Tech alum from each decade of Tech's history.

Class of 1918
Stephen David Bechtel, Sr., founder of the Bechtel Corporation, the largest construction and engineering company in the U.S. Bechtel studied engineering at Cal before joining the family business. His son created the S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and Tech is currently the beneficiary of a Bechtel grant.

Class of 1929
Daniel ("Bud") Hafey, Major League baseball player for five seasons. The son of a plasterer, Hafey played baseball for Tech and eventually for the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and Philadelphia Phillies. Bud Hafey was the first of three brothers to graduate from Tech and go on to play major league baseball.

Class of 1930
Tony Martin, born Alvin Morris, actor and pop singer. His career in music started at Tech where he formed his first band. After a few years at St. Mary's College in Moraga, he left the Bay Area and "Alvin Morris" behind and headed for Hollywood, where he changed his name to Tony Martin, appeared in over 35 films, had his own television variety show, and recorded over 50 singles.

Class of 1944
Ruth Beckford, dancer, educator, social activist, and author. While at Tech, Beckford toured with Katherine Dunham's company and after graduating, became the first African-American student at the Anna Halprin Dance Studio in San Francisco. She started the first city-funded modern dance program in the United States in Oakland. After running her own dance company in NYC for decades, she wrote a memoir: "Still Groovin': Affirmations for Women in the Second Half of Life."

Class of 1953
John Lawrence, natural scientist, known internationally for study of insects. After graduating from Tech, Lawrence earned a B.S. in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Entomology at Cal. He worked at Harvard before moving in 1977 to Australia to work as a scientist in the Division of Entomology of CSIRO. His research ranged from beetle fossils to beetle use as bio-indicators for the effects of humans on natural habitats.

Class of 1962
Patricia Polacco, internationally known author and illustrator of over 50 children's books. Unable to succeed in her early school years, Polacco immersed herself in art and developed a unique drawing style. When she was 14, a teacher realized that she had dyslexia and taught her to read and write. She went on to earn a Ph.D. and published her first book at age 41. Many of Polacco's books are set in Oakland and are tributes to her childhood in Rockridge.

Class of 1976
Wolfe Perry, basketball star, actor, and coach. Perry went from playing basketball at Tech to playing for Stanford and briefly for the Utah Jazz. Then his degree in theater from Stanford helped him land the role of Teddy Rutherford, a high school basketball player, in the TV series "The White Shadow" in 1980 and be cast in the series "Up and Coming." Later, Perry turned to high school basketball coaching, including at St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland.

Class of 1988
Terrell Lowery, professional baseball player. After starring at Tech in the 1980s, Lowery was recruited to play baseball at Loyola Marymount in LA. Three years later, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers and, five years after that, was traded to the New York Mets. He broke into the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 1997 and went on to play for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and for the San Francisco Giants.

Class of 1994
Anita Shontel Woodley, multi-award winning actress, radio producer, playwright, and journalist. While at Tech, Woodley developed a passion for drama. She graduated magna cum laude from SF State in Radio and Television, and worked in broadcast news in Atlanta, San Francisco, and North Carolina. Not only has Woodley received numerous journalism awards, but she has also earned international praise for her two one-woman plays, "Mama Juggs" and "The Men in Me."

Class of 2001
Gabriel Carroll, mathematician, winner of international math Olympics, Microsoft researcher, and Stanford assistant professor. While at Tech, Carroll won the USA Mathematical Talent Search grand prize and both silver and gold medals at international math olympiads. After graduating summa cum laude in Mathematics and Linguistics from Harvard, Carroll earned a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. He now works as a researcher at Microsoft and as an assistant professor of microeconomics at Stanford.

Oakland Tech's PTSA is creating a book of reminiscences by Tech alumni in honor of the Centennial. If you, or anyone you know, went to Tech and would like to participate in this project, please sign up here: http://oaklandtech.com/staff/centennial/interviews/ or email cathy@inventek.com. All interested alumni are invited to get involved in the Centennial..