In June of 1964, I graduated from Sacramento High School – in what seemed like a momentous accomplishment at the time.
During the last week of school, I carried my yearbook around with me and solicited signatures and comments from my friends and fellow alumni.
When he signed the book, my friend Jim Edwards scrawled, “See you over at Freeport U.”
Yes, that was my plan.
During high school, other kids planned for college, earned top notch grades, took the SAT and applied to attend the best universities.
I hadn’t done that, so Sacramento City College (SCC), also called “Freeport U.,” and also called a “high school with ash trays” was my only option for higher education.
I decided to make the best of it. I enrolled in two classes that summer and earned B grades in both.
When I showed up for fall classes, my friend Mark Lazarotto collared me saying, “I am starting a new political club on campus, want to join?”
I reluctantly agreed.
The club was an ultra-conservative organization: The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). This was definitely not my politics, but – Mark insisted – so I joined.
The club’s tenure at City College lasted one year. But joining the YAF had a good outcome for me personally. The small membership (five students) voted me vice president of the club. That qualified me to represent our organization on the Inter Club Council, the group of students which acts as a liaison between the entire student body and the administration.
Participating on the ICC affected me in ways I could not imagine at the time. It gave me the opportunity to work with the “best and the brightest” at SCC and to learn the dynamics of working on an important school organization. This experience benefited me immensely later in life.
The ICC met monthly. In addition to planning school events such as dances and the annual Pioneer Day celebration, the organization presented student’s concerns and needs to the administration. To this day, I am thankful for having that experience.
In addition to my participation on the ICC, City College had another benefit for me. I reconnected with a group of kids I knew from Christian Brothers School: Henry Aguire, Joe Cisneros, Pete Sartlidge, Michael McDermott and others such as Jim Hansen (police officer Tiny Hansen’s son) also attended SCC at the time. We hung out together at school.
We formed a bond which lasted well after college. We met in the cafeteria for lunch, had parties, went to dances, and joined in extra-curricular activities such hunting. We were a “band of brothers.” Sadly, I subsequently lost touch with most of these guys, including Mark Lazarotto, the President and founder of the YAF, but the memories of our time together at SCC remain strong.
In the fall of 1966, I transferred to Sacramento State College. My time at SCC had come to an end. It was time to take on more serious educational challenges.
Sac State would prove to be a much greater challenge than City College. Ultimately, it took me another nine years to earn my Bachelor of Arts Degree, counting a two year tour of duty in the U.S. Army.
Now my time at Freeport U. is another unforgettable Janey Way Memory.