Saturday, December 08, 2007

Racial Integration at Santa Ana Schools

Nearly a year ago, I received an e-mail from "Gramma Sue", whose maiden name was Susan Pulsipher. She was an alumni of my alma mater, Santa Ana Valley High School, but graduating way back in 1962.

The year was 1959, and she was attending Valley, and talked about one particular memory of hers that remained over the years, having to do with racial integration, Mater Dei High School, and it's unwillingness to move forward...

Hi Steve,

Well from what I saw on your website I may be the oldest Falcon on there. I graduated in 1962. Susan Pulsipher was my maiden name and I was the gossip columnist on the school newspaper.

Just a tidbit some of you younger Falcons might be interested in. Smedley Jr High in the year 1956 and Santa Ana Valley High in the year 1959 were the first two schools in Santa Ana to integrate whites, mexicans and blacks all together. We almost killed each other the first couple of years at Smedley, but by the time we hit 9th grade we had all grown to appreciate each others differences.

I can still remember one football game against Mater Dei. We had this absolutely gorgeous boy on our cheerleading squad. He was half black half white, and he was one of the most popular boys at school. When our squad went into the center of the field at half time to exchange with the other squad in cheers, their cheerleaders wouldn't shake hands with him.

You could have heard a pin drop. In a true united front, our cheerleaders turned back to our side of the field, and you could hear the cheers from our bleachers for miles.

Mater Dei was banned from playing for something like 5 years because of bad sportsmanship. I'd really like to have seen how the players dealt with those idiots in the locker room.

Anyway, on a more uplifting note, I was there when Lukens Dairy was still behind Smedley, and when you could smell the orange blossoms from the groves everywhere you went. The air was clean and the beaches were to die for, especially Balboa and the Newport Fun Arcade.

If anyone knows who handles the reunions for those early 60's, I'd sure like to get in touch with them. Haven't been since the 10 year. We're all looking pretty old about now, but still have some kick and play left in us.

If anyone would like to add their comments or memories of "integration" in Orange County, click on "Post a Comment" below.


  1. Regarding your reunion info; the following blog may have what you need (mainly for SA high school).

    I lived just down the road from Luken's dairy, and went to school with the Luken's girls.

  2. I remember losing "POCO", our high school mascot at rancho. then soon to follow was the frito bandito.

  3. This story of about Mater Dei is nonsense. The Monarchs were never banned for 5 years.
    Mater Dei has always been integrated.


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