The A Cappella Choir Emblem

By Robert Graeff (Class of ’71)

During the 1964-65 school year, the traditional maroon choir robes of the A Cappella Choir received an enhancement which established a new tradition of pride and excellence.  Fusing his music background with his educational background, Choir Director Richard Zaloudek worked with a designer to create a “choir emblem” (pictured here). 

The emblem was then placed on the choir stoles which adorned the top of every maroon choirrobe.  Measuring roughly 3” X 5”, the emblems were set on white cloth and included two music symbols (sixteenth note and harp) set inside a shield often associated with University of Southern California – the college where Mr. Z had earned his Masters Degree years earlier.  Above the shield were a Trojan helmet and the hilts (or handles) from two swords.  Below the shield was the single word: Kearny.  Besides the white background and delicate black trim, the basic colors of the emblem were gold punctuated with maroon – the school’s primary spirit color.  

A choir emblem was affixed to every choir stole as part of the performance outfit.  While most choir members were provided silver stoles to complete the “maroon and white” look, each of the choir’s four major officers were provided gold stoles, signifying their leadership position within the group.  For any student ever to wear a gold stole, the tremendous honor and associated responsibility of “role model” were unmistakable.  Over the years, the school district replaced the choir robes on a number of occasions usually through a 7-year cycle.  Although the robes would often appear in new styles and formats, the stoles and emblems remained constant – surviving two additional choir directors through the 1985-86 school year.

Worth mentioning is one other use of the emblem which was fairly important.  Mr. Z often directed the choir during formal concerts wearing one of two dinner jackets – one maroon and one white.  On the front left side of each jacket was the choir emblem – sewn to his coats.  The message was clear to every singer and audience member whenever the choir performed – in that nothing was more important than holding up the brand of excellence associated with the name: Kearny Senior High School A Cappella Choir!

Senior Class fundraiser

Support the 2020-2021 Senior Class by purchasing a Komet Mask. The fundraiser is going on now through Dec 13, 2020.

Click the link to see the mask options and support the Kearny Senior Class.

Kearny High School 2020 Face Masks

Choir Exhibit updated

The Kearny Online Museum A Cappella Choir exhibit has been expanded to include audio recordings

The exhibit honoring Kearny’s A Cappella Choir in the Alumni’s Online Museum has been expanded to include several of the record album recordings from 1957 to 1970 along with the album covers. The online exhibit also displays several collections of slides and prints belonging to Mr. Zaloudek, Kearny’s choir director from 1945 through 1976. Additional photographs, historical documents and concert recordings will be added to the online collection.

The Kearny High Alumni Association’s Online Museum is currently available to all members. In the future Kearny Alumni Online Museum access will become a special benefit for Contributing Members.

2020 Alumni Scholarship Recipients Announced

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 Tom Barnett Alumni Scholarship!!  And, thank you to all the Kearny alumni who have contributed to this fund, which has enabled us to donate nearly $120,000 to 120 students since its’ inception in 1996!! As you begin to read a little about each of the winners, you’ll see all of the recipients, as well as those that did not receive the scholarship, are highly gifted and we are proud they are part of the Komet family!  Once a Komet always a Komet!!

Carla Alarcio (EID) has been on the principal’s honor roll all four years and graduated with a 4.37 GPA. She was recognized for “Excellence in Chemistry” in her Junior year.  For her Senior Gala Project, Carla designed and machined attachable magnetic buttons for button-up shirts for a client diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.  In the summer of 2019, she worked at a summer internship program where she tutored middle-school aged students in the construction, wiring, and programming of VEX Robotics kits to compete in an obstacle challenge. Carla is also proud of her contributions to organizing and executing student events as the Kearny’s Associated Student Body Secretary in the 2019 Fall Semester.   Carla will be continuing her education at the University of California, San Diego where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  She also plans to educate herself in our history, our government, and our socioeconomic issues. As a citizen, she wants to be as informed as possible when making decisions, especially political ones. The knowledge she has obtained through her sociology and macroeconomics classes have shown her that the world is more complex than anticipated and sometimes even harder to comprehend. 

Lien Duong (BST) believes very strongly in this quote from John Kennedy: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction”.  Lien migrated to the United States with her father from Vietnam, when she was only 9 years old.  She went from barely speaking English to graduating with a GPA of 4.24!  Besides school, Lien volunteers at a local Buddhist group teaching kids the basics of the Vietnamese language so they don’t lose knowledge of their birthright language.  She also volunteers her time at Sharp Mary Birch as a desk concierge as well as assisting the nurses.  It is this work that has motivated her to major in Nursing at Grand Canyon University.  Lien said, “I don’t want a job, I desire for a career where I can make a difference in someone’s life and pass on my knowledge. Relating back to President Kennedy, I can have all the effort but without a purpose, my actions mean nothing. I am well aware of my abilities and realized that experiences do not shape who you are as a person, it’s what you learned and how you worked through it”. 

Jaime Cabrera Guzman (SCC) would like to pursue a career as a Software Engineer and has been accepted to the University of California, Berkeley!  Jaime was a member of 6 clubs at Kearny including the California Scholarship Federation (CSF), the Flower & Crafts club where he’s the historian and public relations officer, the Multicultural Film Club, the Hispanic and Latino Student Union (HLSU) and the Circle of Friends, where he worked with students with disabilities.  Jaime is also the 2020 Senior Class Vice-President!  Jaime has maintained excellent grades, graduating in the top 5% of his class with a 4.44 GPA and has been on the Principals Honor roll all four years at Kearny!  According to his Honors English teacher, Beth Smith, “His maturity, thoughtfulness, determination, and generosity are qualities that aren’t visible on his outstanding transcript or in his excellent test scores, yet these are the qualities that make Jaime an exceptional young man”.  

Wilmer Cabrera Guzman (DMD) is the elected ASB Vice President and has taken advantage of every opportunity to make a difference, not just on campus but within his community, including organizing blood drives and their annual Pasta for Patients fundraiser.  Wilmer was also a Student Ambassador on campus and the Yearbook Editor-in-Chief.  Wilmer graduated with a 4.34 GPA.  During the summer of 2019, Wilmer was given the opportunity to participate in the Law for Youth program at USD School of Law.  As attorneys and law students shared their experiences, he was given a unique view of the legal field, which was instrumental in affirming his desire to attend law school.  As an aspiring lawyer, he feels inclined to use his voice to fight for social justice and lead the lives of marginalized communities in San Diego towards legal and social equality.  Like his twin brother, Jaime, Wilmer plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Political Science before moving on to earn his Juris Doctorate.

James Nguyen (BST) has been an honors student all four years at Kearny.  He has been actively engaged in various school clubs oriented towards academics, community service, leadership development and service.  These included Circle of Friends, Colorguard Team, Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), Class Cabinet of 2020, Keyclub and more! James was selected as the Kearny JROTC’s Battalion Commander, where he used his knowledge and expertise to make a difference in each cadet’s lives.  James graduated 8th in his class with a 4.15 GPA and plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley.

Christina Tran (BST) has a GPA of 4.32, which includes thirty-two college units, and is the valedictorian of her class!  She volunteered at the Serra Mesa library as a tutor and was a member of the CSF and the secretary of Kearny’s Key Club.  She was the Battalion S-1 Personnel Officer and Interim Battalion S-5 Public Affairs Officer during her junior year and the Battalion Executive Officer for the JROTC in her senior year.  Christina was part of the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Pathway and was able to expand her horizons and develop a background in biological sciences and patient care.  This also led her to participate in the FACES for the Future Coalition internship at Rady Children’s Hospital.  Christina was involved in two major automobile collisions at the age of five and nine which gave her firsthand experience with healthcare providers.  It was thru these experiences that she discovered she wanted to provide high-quality, compassionate care that saves lives!  Christina’s ultimate goal is to become a physician and will begin her undergraduate career in Human Biology at the University of California, San Diego.  

Iris Zamora (DMD) graduated from Kearny with a GPA of 4.29 and eventually plans to attend medical school to receive her Doctor of Medicine degree, specializing in Dermatology as she is most fascinated by the largest organ in the human body, skin!  In her sophomore year, due to health reasons, she was forced to leave school for several months.  Once back at school, she worked hard, demonstrating a great deal of courage and willingness to get back on track and maintain straight A’s!!  Iris participated in a research study at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the effects of climate change on the health of coral reefs.  She created print media and crafted a PSA about the damaging effect of CO2 levels, which were showcased at the Birch Aquarium and at a multi-cultural fair she volunteers at thru her church, which is a second home for her, in Linda Vista.  Her dream school is the University of California, Davis and hopes to get there soon! 

Kearny Seniors honored with website

A special website has been created to honor Kearny’s graduating class of 2020. With the traditional end-of-year senior events cancelled this year, the website celebrates and honors all of this year’s graduates. You can visit the website here.

Postponed- Kearny Hall of Fame 2020

Due to the COVID-19 public health orders, we are postponing the Hall of Fame Event.  We will reschedule a new date with the school district once they are back in session. 
Once the new date is calendared with the district, we will notify all inductees,  members, and the general public. 

Please note that all ticket sales to date will be transferred to the new date. We are all looking forward to a truly wonderful event. Thank you for your understanding, we look forward to holding our celebration as soon as possible.

The Alumni Association Board of Directors

2020 Alumni Scholarship Application

The Kearny High School Alumni Association Tom Barnett Scholarship is available for any Senior graduating from Stephen Watts Kearny High School who plans to attend an accredited four-year institution, community college, trade or vocational institution. Applicants must have a 2.5 grade point average and a 3.0 citizenship average. The deadline for applying for this year’s scholarship is April 11, 2020.

Each Scholarship will be for $1000.00.

The scholarship application and the supporting documents must be received by the selection committee by April 11, 2020. Late applications will not be considered.

Download scholarship application

Kearny Scholarship Recipients


Among other goals, the focal point of the KHS Alumni Association’s fundraising efforts each year is to help provide scholarships to the next generation of up-and-coming Komets as they further their educations beyond the gates of Kearny High.  The KHSAA has been awarding scholarships to Kearny students for over 20 years.

In 2019, seven $1,000 scholarships were awarded to deserving seniors.  The recipients were Annabella Berry, Lien Hieu Man, Mary Agashua, Jennifer Garcia Hernandez, Alizeā Inez Reyes, Uriel Nathan Geronimo and Nihilo Ibarra.

On behalf of the Alumni Association, Laurie Quitugua and Mike George attended the Senior Dinners to present the scholarship checks to the students, and Ginger Chasteene recognized the DMD recipients at their assembly.

Congratulations to the scholarship winners!  Here’s hoping they succeed in their endeavors in their chosen fields.  Their work has just begun.


Kearny Pep Rally Honors Alan Trammell

After Alan Trammell’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2018, the Kearny baseball team wanted to rededicate the new Kearny baseball field in his honor. Spearheaded by senior baseball player Jacob Redondo, Kearny High School arranged a student pep rally to showcase Trammell’s accomplishments and his association with the school. Trammell’s varsity baseball coach, Jack Taylor, was also to be honored. Bronze plaques designating Kearny’s recently upgraded baseball facilities as Alan Trammell Field and Jack Taylor Diamond were created with donations from the Kearny High Alumni Association, the Kearny Community Foundation, and members of the greater Kearny community. The plaques were presented to Trammell and Rick Taylor, Jack Taylor’s son, at the event. The presentation to the students also included reflections and recollections about Trammell by Jacob Redondo, KHS class of 2019; Hugh McMillan, Trammell’s JV baseball coach; and Kearny alums Todd Villalobos and Robert Graef. The plaques will be mounted on the announcer’s/scorer’s building at the new field.

Rick Taylor, Mrs. Jack Taylor, Alan Trammell, and members of the Kearny baseball team at the February pep rally.

Kearny High School dedicates new gym scoreboard to former district employee Art Hanby

The following article was posted on the San Diego Unified Newscenter on Sept. 13, 2018.


On the surface, it was your standard dedication ceremony for a remodeled gym — a celebratory atmosphere with music, cheerleaders, and students.

But to those who knew Art Hanby, it was so much more. It was an opportunity to recognize his kindness and generosity, and honor his legacy.

Hanby, the district’s former Strategic Sourcing and Contracts Officer, passed away in December 2016. He had developed a special relationship with Kearny High School after supervising a Kearny student in a district internship program in 2007. He was still mentoring this student until his passing.

“He was such a kind, thoughtful and humble man that didn’t need to talk about what he did because his actions spoke for him,” said Kearny High Principal Ana Diaz-Booz.

For example, he and his wife donated money to a college scholarship at Kearny targeting seniors that had overcome adversity. He also visited Kearny often to speak directly with students and staff to ensure that district contracts were serving the school’s needs.


To read the rest of the San Diego Unified post click here.