First, here is an update on cancellations, followed by stories of our famous Supergrads.

For the first time since it began in 1987, our wonderful Strauss Festival of Elk Grove has been canceled. The festival is what we look forward to in the last week of July, but it will not be held in 2020!

Graduation and promotion ceremonies for our schools have also been canceled, but various forms of “virtual” or online ceremonies will take place. Then, we will have to wait and see what the new school year will bring us.

Now, on with our Supergrads!

Every year since 2012, I have written about graduates of our high schools who have done amazing and remarkable things since they left our schools. I put them in four groups: world, nation, state, and local. I want everyone to know how much our former students have accomplished since their school days with us. These are the ones I wrote about in previous HHH stories from 2012 to 2019:

World: Brian Detrick, General Terry Wolff, Mark Strege, General Don Ralph, Jacob Howard, Bob Lent, Stephanie Lopez Cox, and Joey Hand.

Nation: Kayla Gillan, Bill Cartwright, Scott Boras, Lance Briggs, Jo Gusman, Spencer Levin,  Yvonne Buscher Bonacci, and Michelle Lema.

State: Dr. Ramin Manshadi, Deb Sigman, Marielle Tsukamoto, Kay Albiani, Tom Nakashima, Susan Westerberg Prager, Lorene Oneto Eurle, and Karen Leeders Schaur.

Local: Gerald Derr, Paula and Frank Maita, Robert Pierce, David Herburger, Arlene Hein, Christopher Hoffman, Crystal Martinez Alire, and Anna Clare, and Jim Entrican.

Today, readers will learn about more famous men and women who went to our schools. They are Ryan Dinwiddie, Margaret Van Steyn Duarte, Arik Armstead, and Dennis Buscher.

World - Ryan Dinwiddie – Ryan graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1999. He is a highly recognized as the Head Coach of the Toronto Argonauts in Canada. He was a star football player for Elk Grove High and at Boise State in Idaho.He played with the Chicago Bears and with several Canadian teams and was also coach at some of them.

Ryan’s parents are Wayne and Sandy (Yount) Dinwiddie, and both are Elk Grove High School Supergrads of 1974.

Nation - Margaret Van Steyn Duarte – Margaret graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1967. She is a nationally recognized author of several books and continues her writing career here in Elk Grove. Check out, “Enter the Between – Visionary Fiction Series,” and you will see all that she has accomplished.

The Van Steyn family came to the Franklin area from the Netherlands in 1956 and had a dairy. Margaret has fond memories of her high school teachers. After high school and college she became a teacher at Joseph Kerr Middle School. The Van Steyn family members continue to be involved with community activities.

State - Arik Armstead  - Arik graduated in 2011 from Pleasant Grove High School where he played basketball and football. He is very well-known as a football player with the San Francisco 49ers where he still is today. Arik was our star in the 2019-2020 Super Bowl with the 49ers.

After high school, Arik attended the University of Oregon and played football there.

He is a defensive lineman and was recently signed to play with the San Francisco 49ers through in future years.

I do not know much about the Armstead family, but hopefully, Arik or a family member will read this and send me a message.

Local - Dennis Buscher – This well-known Elk Grove and Franklin resident graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1962. Dennis continues to be involved in many local groups, and he has been a consistent contributor to the Elk Grove Historical Society since its origin in the 1970s.  He assisted with the moving of the Rhoads School to Elk Grove Regional Park and the reconstruction of the Elk Grove Stage Stop that is now the headquarters of the Historical Society. Dennis has served as president of the Society and continues to be very involved in other offices

Prior to high school, Dennis attended Franklin Grammar School. He graduated from Sacramento State College with a major in Business Administration. He was in the military during the Vietnam Conflict. He joined the Franchise Tax Board as a tax auditor where he worked for 34 years

In addition to local history, Dennis is very involved with antiques and our local cemetery district. Dennis and his sister Yvonne Bonacci were inducted into the Elk Grove Hall of Fame in 2002.

We congratulate the 2020 Supergrads, as well as those from previous years. We would enjoy hearing from them so that readers will know what they are doing in 2020!

Note: this is a follow-up from last week’s HHH about the Miss Elk Grove pageant. Gary Withrow informed me that his daughter, Julie Idella Withrow, was our Miss Elk Grove of 1987.   Thank you, Gary for letting us know. And, we would enjoy hearing from all of our long-ago Western Festival royalty and the Miss Elk Groves so that we know what they are doing in 2020!

Another note: I hope that everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day last week! Let’s celebrate our mothers all year and remember all that they taught us!


History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold

History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools

We the People, a Story of Internment in America

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 80 scholarships with each one $1,000  – make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove, CA 95624.  Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one or two books; $5 for 3-6 books. Call me at (916) 685-0606 or email me at elizabethpink@gmail.com.