Leigh High (LHS) Class of 1980 Alumni List

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Class Memories From 1980

TODAY, Friday November 9, 2012 the Campus of Green & Gold LEIGH “LONGHORNS” HIGH SCHOOL in San Jose, California – CELEBRATES its 50TH HOMECOMING ANNIVERSARY
Alumni and Staff of years-past will be walking down Memory Lane at a TAILGATE CELEBRATION at Leigh High School. The tailgate party will be in the Parking Lot above the Football Bowl. LHS Marching Band will perform at 6:20PM (this makes me want to dig out my regular and Fire Baton’s and join them on the football field and start twirling). The Varsity Football Team Kickoff for a game at 7PM.
I’m excited to see this event going down at the campus and grounds of Leigh High School.
My high school years at Leigh High School were a pivotal time in my life. Often emotion, isolation, and a sense that I was lost would vanish over the years.
Here’s a Story I have never shared:
My sophomore year, in December of 1977 I accompanied LHS Marching Band to Phoenix Arizona to march in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. After leaving Arizona we stopped to stay overnight in Las Vegas and take in a show at Circus Circus. After the show we went back to our hotel. The plan was for us to leave in the morning after breakfast so that we would arrive back at Leigh the following evening.
In my room shared with other girls from the band we were giggling and carrying on like teenage girls do, eventually, we fell asleep. I woke the girls to my screaming out, “I need to go home my mother just died!” I was crying out of control and trying to put on my clothes. A few of the girls jumped up and told me my mother was fine and that I was just having a nightmare. I attempted to persuade them that they were wrong but then all the girls now were assuring me that I was just having an awful nightmare. I wanted to believe them, I had to believe them there was no way that my fear was true. My tears began to subside and I got back into bed and fell back asleep. In the morning when we woke up to go have breakfast I was still feeling a little solemn and I was embarrassed and felt bad for the drama I brought to everyone’s sleep.
On the bus ride back to San Jose I was cool I pretty much acted as if the nightmare never happened. My girlfriend Shelly Stokes and I were so excited to be going home. We knew when we arrived back at Leigh our boyfriends Kevin Carlee “Red” and Greg Ford (Shelly’s boyfriend) were going to be there waiting for us. We made plans that when we got home we would go to Shelly’s house first because it was the just around the corner from the school. We planned she would check in with her mother and let her know that she was going to stay the night at my place and then the four of us would hang out and party all night at my house. I knew that my mom was still probably in the hospital as she was when I left San Jose to go to Phoenix Arizona to march in the Fiesta Parade. We were so excited the plans were made and we could not wait until we arrived at Leigh.
It was December 19 1977, the buses arrived later than expected but those who were picking us up we could see that they were still waiting patiently for our arrival. The parking lot was full of cars. Immediately, we saw Kevin “Red” and Greg waiting in the car. Shelly and I flew off the bus got our luggage and the guys were right there to help us out. We told them about the plans but they did not seem to be fazed at all with what we were saying to them. Something in my gut told me they were acting pretty peculiar. When we arrived at Shelly’s, she and Greg grabbed her luggage; as they were walking towards the house I yelled out, “Red and I are going to wait for you guys so hurry up”.
Shelly and Greg never came back outside. I sensed that our plans were not going to happen. Red then drove away and, I was taken back by surprise and shock. I was like, what the hell? Why did you leave? While I was carrying on in disbelief- Red was talking gibberish over me, and really, whatever he was saying -- I was not buying in to it. Now I am feeling more irritated and I started in on him asking why he was being so strange, and why did he not stay and wait for Shelly and Greg? He tried to tell me that Shelly had some things she needed to do so our plans were not going to happen. I was not buying it! Furthermore, how is that he knew anything Shelly needed to do? There was no conversation that took place indicating what Red was talking about. As a matter of fact, there was no conversation going to Shelly’s at all. All of a sudden no one had anything to talk about? I mean really, please, we were gone for a week, and the guys must have missed us as we did them. Why were they not letting on how excited they were Shelly and I were home? I remember I kept thinking something is wrong, these guys were not the same guys we left a week ago. What the FUCK is really going on here? I did not let up on the barrage of questioning until he answered back.
He was asked to make a promise that he would not to say anything to me about what was going on until I was home. Well, I can say that this was not going to happen. I did not let up asking what the hell was going on. Kevin (Red) pulled the car over a few blocks from my home. I sat there in the passenger’s seat anxious and anticipating what he was going to say. I could see whatever it was he was becoming more distraught and choked up I could see him scrambling in his mind to find the right words and then his tears started rolling down his face, he said there was no easy way so say what I needed to hear.
Kevin “Red” went ahead and told me my Mother passed away sometime after one o’clock in the morning. He shared that he had been to the hospital to see my mom and that for a few days she was in a coma and then pulled out of it on the 17th. She appeared as though there was a chance she was going to beat her cancer. He went on to say that my mom was asking for me and wondered if I had returned back from Arizona. He told her that he had plans to pick me up from the school the evening of the 19th and that he made her a promise that he would bring me to see her. But, this did not happen either.
Eleven days after her Thirty-fifth Birthday, my Mother (my Shero! – my feminist word for Hero) could not hang on any longer, the cancer was just too widespread and took over her body. In shock and not wanting to hear what I was hearing… all I could do was drift back to the moment back in Las Vegas when I woke up crying about my mother’s death. She was not able to wait for me so she came to me in my sleep. Then reality sat in that it was true. I did not have a nightmare. Over five hundred miles away I experienced a spiritual phenomenon my Mother’s spirit came to say goodbye and tell me that she loved me and that she knew I had whatever it would take in this life for me to live successfully. Her words had left echoes in my soul in order that I would hear her wishes and hope for me.
I flipped out I could not stop screaming my sorrow was beyond horrific. For a very long time I suffered from a breakdown and depression. Later it was confirmed by my mother’s doctors that she passed away at 1:10AM and a couple of the girl band members whom were taken by the cries of girl-child who just lost her mommy confirmed that it was 1:11AM when we would be woken.
In January 1978 I filed a Petition at the Superior Family Court House for Emancipated Minor Status. My siblings and I had been separated after our mother’s death and it was the determined by the Lawyers since there was no adult family member to fulfill my mother’s wishes to keep us kids together that I would go into Foster Care and be made Ward of State. My audaciousness and deviance was not going to let this happen. I wanted the Judge to know I was out for my own best interest. I knew my being only 15 years old many had concern that I was just being rebellious and irrational. I wanted to prove them wrong and show the Judge that the lawyers thoughts were appropriate but nevertheless, unfounded and quite the opposite from their beliefs. My day in Court I showed up with my own Dream Team. My Godfather (my Padrino) Civil Rights and Labor Leader Cesar Chavez would be by my side, as well as, then California Congressman Norman Mineta, and then, California State Representative John Vasconcellos. These three men testified that my actions were courageous and rational and that I had a plan in place whereby I would graduate from High School with my Class of 1980 and I would continue twirling for my high school to honor of my mother. My Petition was approved with stipulations that I was to contact the Judge every six months with an update and I was to do the same for the three men in Court with me.
The last three years of high school would be bittersweet. I never shared this story with anyone. I never talked about my life or my challenges with any of the girls I followed around. Leigh High school was my only sense of family and human connection. There were many young ladies at Leigh that gave me the courage to aspire to a life lived with successes and accomplishments. I know that I was often the brunt of snubs and laughter because I was not pretty, I was not popular, and I did not possess their charisma and esteem; however, over the years -- just as with a fine wine I would get better with age.
Tonight I wish I could be there I’m not sure if I can make it. I was hoping to see the many faces that inspired me and encouraged me to keep hanging in there after the loss of my mother and siblings at the beginning of my sophomore year. They do not know who they are because I kept my emotions and loneliness a secret. Many of the girls that I was inspired by to hold onto life and not give into my emotions probably would never give me a second thought but I did not care. I refused to let them kick me to the curb. For many they probably thought of me as a fool because I would continue to hang out and act as if I was part of the crowd. It was vital that I be part of something, because I had nothing. I knew I had to keep making strides forward no matter what. I wish these women today knew exactly how much they played a part in my willingness to keep on living and keep on keeping on. Despite their thoughts of me, and whispers, and the fact I was not good enough for them to call me a friend. Nevertheless, I needed the lives of these young women to give me a sense of life because my life lain in crumbles for a very long time. I will never forget these young women, my peers for what they gave my spirit. I will never forget their names, their beauty and popularity that fed me when I was emotionally starving.
We are all mirrors for one another what we see in others we may or may not possess but if we want what it is that we see hard work and the belief that we are worthy we will see it manifested in our lives.
My Thought: “When Life Gives You Lemons . . .
Create a Quaint Lemonade Recipe ~
Be Sure to Make Plentiful . . .
Then Open a Lemonade Stand.
You Will Prosper & Quench the Thirst of Many!”
By Kimberly Drobot (Lovelace)
Other Posted: 11/10/2012

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