At Sunnyvale’s The King’s Academy, students are taught to respect their elders; to honor those who have come before them.
It just so happens that what came before King’s Academy was Sunnyvale High School.
So, in a case of practicing what they preach, administrators at the private, Christian, college preparatory school have gone to great lengths to preserve the history of the long-ago-closed public high school.
“It’s still someone’s history,” says Matt Nisbet, King’s Academy’s Director of Operations. “It’s still someone’s legacy that is part of this site.”
It is more than just a legacy, though, that Matt has been concerning himself with lately. When the Fremont Union School District closed Sunnyvale High School in the early 1980’s and transferred the students to the district’s two other high schools, they left behind two dozen bronze plaques representing each of the school’s graduating classes from 1958 through 1980.
The plaques, bordering one edge of the “senior lawn” in the school’s quad were still there when The King’s Academy moved into a few of the school’s old buildings in the early 2000’s. TKA, as it is known, has grown dramatically since then, occupying more and more of the old campus and expanding to 900 students.
Upon signing a long-term lease with the school district a few years ago, TKA administrators thought it was time to renovate their quad. The plaques would have to be dug as part of the process.
“We could have just handed them over to the school district and said ‘Thank you,’ these are yours,” Matt says.
But they didn’t.
The school not only resolved to re-install the plaques on the new quad, they were given and even more prominent and visible place than they previously had.
“We wanted to make sure the plaques were displayed in a more honorable way,” Matt says. The plaques, which used to be flush with the ground and were often covered in dirt and mud, are now displayed vertically, ringing a raised planter in the center of the quad.
They didn’t have to preserve the plaques, but they did. Just like they didn’t have to declare last Friday’s home football game the Sunnyvale High School Alumni Game.
Hundreds of SHS alumni came, many in old school shirts and jackets, were on-hand to watch TKA take on Soquel High. The Sunnyvale High School Alumni Band played in the stands. Throughout the game, members of each graduating SHS class were asked to stand and be recognized.
“God bless them,” Betty Zaleski, SHS Class of 1979, said of The King’s Academy. “All of us Jets are touched."