Although Castro Valley is a small town, it is filled with many people who have lived through exciting experiences and important historical moments. CVHS students have had the pleasure over the past few years to interview and capture the stories of many Castro Valleyans. From making it big in Hollywood to playing in the major leagues, CVHS students made the compilation of interviews come to life in Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times.
Broadcaster Rachel Maddow, mountain climber Marty Schmidt, Hollywood actress Anna Khaja, All Star baseball player Jason Castro and pioneer military pilots Hannah Sargent and Joellen Oslund are a few of the contributors. Not only did interviewees have a great time sharing their stories with the students, but it turned out to be a great learning experience for everyone.
“It’s really cool to know that there’s famous people from Castro Valley, and it was an honor to talk to someone so important,” said junior Anna Nguyen, who interviewed John McPartland, former Oakland Fire Department captain.
“My favorite part was learning about the evolution of technology and the values of older generations,” said junior Sally Liang, who interviewed scientist Howard Hornig.
It is shocking to learn about the secrets of Castro Valley in the 1900s and important people who contributed to historical events. One may even recognize a few hometown favorites that still live and work in town. It’s not hard to find a few words of wisdom or even advice in the unique book.
“It was an interesting experience interviewing someone famous from here, and I learned a lot,” said senior Anna Talajkowski, who interviewed former New York Yankee Kevin Maas.
Other people who contributed to the book include Emily Barbieri, Jot Brown, Bruno Buti, Jake Dalton, Randy Dutra, Richard Gillam, Caryl Goodale, Paul Gudiksen, Chuck Kadlecek, Lucile Lorge, Anthony Reyes, Mathilde Schmidt and Sal Tedesco.
Although it is a compilation of interviews, the students were creative and managed to make it versatile with the help of editors Gary Howard from the Castro Valley Education Foundation and Matt Johanson, CVHS history and journalism teacher. This book a must buy, not only for Castro Valley natives but also for anyone looking for an interesting read.
To purchase Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times, send $25 to The Olympian at Castro Valley High School, 19400 Santa Maria Ave, Castro Valley, CA 94546. Please include your mailing address. Copies are also available at the student web store.