As the year ticks on, we find more and more to be grateful for, including our amazing supporters and alumni. Thank you for everything you do! This issue of Memorial Connections is all about our alumni paying it forward and giving back the same care and dedication they were given at Memorial to their community.
A Lifestyle of Service: Memorial Alumnus Zack Darrah '01

Picture a winter night in November. It was a late night at work for Zack Darrah, who had just come on board as Chief Executive Officer of Fresno's Poverello House. As he emerged into the cold night, he noticed a few distant shapes in front of the gates of Poverello House. As Darrah walked closer to the shapes, he saw they were three children. They were roughly the same age as his children, sleeping comfortably at home. One had no shirt on, exposed to the winter air. The three surrounded a burning barrel, huddled around it for warmth.

"All I could think about was that I had to make sure this doesn't happen in our community anymore," Darrah said.

Darrah is currently serving as the CEO of Poverello House, a Fresno non-profit dedicated for the past several decades to providing the homeless population of Fresno with help, dignity and assistance getting off the streets.

According to Darrah, his dedication to what he calls a "lifestyle of service" was formed in the halls of San Joaquin Memorial High School. Darrah was involved in numerous service clubs at Memorial, including the S-Club and CSF. This experience coupled with Memorial's focus on service in general shaped Darrah.

"I would trace a lot of my desire to go into nonprofit work back to my time at Memorial," he said. "A lot of different components to the education at Memorial is about living a lifestyle of service. Having an education that was centered around the idea of a lifestyle of service made an impact on me."

Darrah graduated from Memorial in 2001, going on to earn a degree from Fresno Pacific University. Nonprofits were immediately of interest to him as a way to combine his faith with his career.

"Having the ability to potentially live out my life’s calling as a follower of Christ and also utilize my interest in business was key," he said. "A job with a purpose."

Darrah spent the years after college graduation working in nonprofits, everything from helping refugees to working with the formerly incarcerated. Then, a little over a year ago, Darrah came to work for Poverello House.

Darrah has been hard at work for the charity, which has served Fresno's homeless communities for decades. Recently, Poverello House even earned $2.5 million as part of Jeff Bezos' Day 1 Families Fund. The money will go toward a shelter for homeless and displaced families in Fresno.

Ultimately, Darrah said that Memorial changed the path of his life.

"Memorial had a huge impact on my life," he said. "I think a lot of people who went to Memorial have the same type of story as me. The spiritual component of my growth as a young person that happened at Memorial is definitely part of the pathway I'm on now. God has a plan for all of our lives and he works that out in different ways. Memorial was part of my plan."

Visit to learn more about Poverello House
Share Your Homecoming Memories With Us
What's your favorite Homecoming memory of your time at Memorial? Help us celebrate our 75th anniversary! Share your favorite memory with us! Your memory may be featured on our social media as part of our Homecoming celebration.

To share your memory, email [email protected]
Drive-through BBQ Fundraiser
Join us on March 20 for a Drive-through BBQ Fundraiser! Grab a tasty meal to go and support SJM Athletics! That day, we will also host a silent auction via Text2Bid. All proceeds go directly to SJM Athletics.

For $95 you can pick-up a dinner for four with your choice of two options:

Ranch Style Beans
Mac and Cheese
Crunchy Coleslaw
Dessert from the SJM Parent's Guild

Ranch Style Beans
Mac and Cheese
Crunchy Coleslaw
Dessert from the SJM Parent's Guild

Pick-up time for the drive-through will be from 3:30-5:00 PM. You will enter on Floradora St. to get your meal.

Questions or want to secure your order? Contact Shirley Boujikian at (559) 475-5831
Foundation Laid for SJM Walk of Fame
Work has been ongoing on campus around our new Walk of Fame project. The Walk of Fame is an ongoing project aimed at honoring Memorial's long history of talented alumni. The Walk of Fame will be a walkable pathway physically displaying the inductees of our Hall of Fame. The cement for the project has officially been poured.

"We have wanted a permanent home for our Hall of Fame for quite some time," said Pete Dalena, SJM's Special Assistant to the Head of School. "We want a permanent place to honor those talented individuals and teams who have made our school what it is today."

Memorial alumni have been honored through the Hall of Fame since the 1970s. This includes athletes and notable alumni.

"They are Memorial in so many ways," said Dalena. "They're a part of our history and we want to highlight that."

To contribute to the Walk of Fame project, email Pete Dalena at [email protected]
Annual Events Rescheduled

Due to COVID-19, several annual San Joaquin Memorial events have needed to be rescheduled.

Our SJM Baseball Texas Hold'em Tournament, typically held in January, will be held instead in January 2022.

"Our Texas Hold Em tournament has become a tradition and a huge part of the Memorial baseball program over the years," said JD Salles, Head Baseball Coach at SJM. "Not only does this event support our program, but it allows for our alumni to get together and celebrate the baseball program here at Memorial. The continued support of our athletic programs is highly important as we continue to grow as a school. Thank you for all of the support over the years. Go Panthers!"

Our Crab Feed, held each year in February, will be back on February 19, 2022.

SJM would like to thank all of our supporters of these events. We look forward to when we can all celebrate together again!
San Joaquin Memorial Alumnus Jalen Green in the News for Charitable Donation

SJM Alumnus Jalen Green was in the news this Christmas season for a charitable donation to Boys and Girls Club of Fresno. The NBA G League Ignite member donated new backpacks, headphones, shoes and clothes to the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County. Green mentioned that the service hours he did at Memorial led him to start volunteering for Boys and Girls Club of Fresno in high school.

May They Rest in Peace... with God Forever

Gerald (Jerry) Story passed away on November 17, 2020. He is the grandfather of Andrew Story ‘14 and Aaron Story ‘17.

Daniel Chrisopher Grady '55 passed away November 9, 2022. SJM ran through his veins. He is the spouse of Emily Papageorge Grady '55; father of Kelly Grady '77, Jacqueline Grady '79, Daniel Grady '83, Christie Grady '85 and Ann Marie Grady-Gocke 89. He is the grandfather of Kelly Gocke '20 and Isabella Gocke '22; brother of Don Grady '52 and brother-in-law of Joan Grady '52. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Cheryl Rowland Tikanen '63 passed away. She is the sister of Cindy Rowland Brockmeyer '67, Charles Rowland '74 and Claire Rowland Mendonca '81.

Alfred James La Torraca '54 passed away November 4, 2020. He is the brother of Michaela La Torraca-Lane '55 and Carol La Torraca Savell '58. Al loved to keep in touch with all his classmates. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Merwyn "Corky" Schafer passed away November 19, 2020. He is the grandfather of James Schafer '08 and Ketelyn Schafer '10. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Sylvia Gomes passed away November 27, 2020. She is the grandmother of Phillip Iverson '94. Read more about her life by clicking here.

Edward Harkness Thorp '84 passed away January 4, 2021. He lettered in Tennis and golf in high school. Edward was best known for playing scratch golf, fishing and his love of his dogs. He is the brother of David Thorp '88 and the uncle of Caroline Herling '19 and Elizabeth Herling '19.   

Jesus Flores '86 passed away December 6, 2020.

Tom Lucas '71 passed away December 17, 2020. He is the brother of Raymond Lucas '70, Thomas Lucas '71, Catherine Lucas Booey '73, Greg Lucas '76, Christine Lucas '81 and Matthew Lucas '84; he is the brother-in-law of Kathleen Mackley Lucas '77 and the uncle of Matthew Lucas '99, Clinton Lucas '02 and Mary Lucas '10. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Christopher Machado passed away December 24, 2020. He is the uncle of Jason Harris '06, Alexandra Harris Brunner '09, Elizabeth Keenan '13 and John Keenan '15. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Edna Wiedenfeld passed away January 1, 2021. She is the mother of Thomas Wiedenfeld '70, Sue Wiedenfeld Hillel '72, Katherine Wiedenfeld-Smith '72, Anna Wiedenfeld Buckner '80, Margaret Wiedenfeld '82 and Rita Wiedenfeld Chastain '84. Read more about her life by clicking here.

Kenneth Hatch passed away January 6, 2021. He is the father of Kenneth Hatch '82, Judith Hatch Bremer '84 and Bryce Hatch '88; he is the grandfather of Allison Moore '07, Kristi Moore '10 and Valerie Moore '14; he is the brother of Virginia Hatch Jernigan '51 and Esther Hatch Caiazza '54. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Gloria Smith passed away January 10, 2021 and Noel Smith passed away January 18, 2021. They are the parents of Noel Smith, Jr. '70, Robert Smith '70, John Meyers '72, Jennifer Smith '75, Anthony Smith '82 (SJM Golf Coach), Ronald Smith '86, and Sybil Smith '84 (Hall of Fame member). They are the grandparents of Danique Smith Mwakatobe '95, Peyton (Ayianna) Smith and Brielle Smith; they are the aunt and uncle of David Smith '71. Read more about their lives by clicking here.

Remedios Munoz passed away January 15, 2021. He is the brother of Lucina Myers, Advancement Office Coordinator, and the uncle of Sophia Myers Wright '06. read more about his life by clicking here.

Charles G. Erickson passed away November 8, 2020. He is the husband of Tanna Lee Franchi Erickson '60, the father of Christopher Erickson '80, brother-in-law of Barbara Jeanne Franchi Lutz '51 and father-in-law of Kathleen DuRand Erickson '80.

Mario Joseph Isnardi passed away December 31, 2020. He is the father of Jackie Isnardi Billingsley '65. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Barbara Worsley '66 passed away January 15, 2021. She is the wife of William Worsley '66; the sister of Eleanor Brennan Beil '54 and Patricia Brennan Taylor '67; the sister-in-law of Alice Worsley Schmitz '57, Paul Worsley '58, Carol Worsley Wright '60, Terri Worsley Hollender '63 and Kathleen Worsley Sweeney '69; and the aunt of Mary Worsley Melchert '84 and James Wright '87.

Daniel Hinojosa '73 passed away January 20, 2021. He is the brother of Noe Hinojosa '69, Clara Hinojosa Pacheco '70 and Julie Hinojosa '84. Both he and his wife, Deborah, passed away within minutes of each other. Inseparable since the day they met, they passed away one month shy of their 40th wedding anniversary. Read more about his life by clicking here.

Mari A. Helvey passed away September 15, 2020.  She is the mother of Susan Helvey Fritz ’63, Mark Helvey ’67, Gregg Helvey ’68, and Joan Helvey Hughes, 74’. Read more about her life by clicking here.

Dr. Dorothy Ann Tully '56 passed away January 16, 2021. Read more about her life by clicking here.
Call for Class Notes

Have you recently gotten married, had a baby or experienced a big life moment that you want to share with your fellow Memorial alumni? Have updates about your reunion? Share them with us! Submit announcements to [email protected].
Alumni Contact Update
Panther Alums, even though your time here at Memorial has passed, this is still your home! Please stay connected with us so that you can be part of our exciting engagement opportunities such as our sporting event pre-game dinners, alumni mixers and so much more! To stay connected, please fill out this form.

Call for SJM Memorabilia

Do you have SJM memorabilia from the past 75 years? If you have items you would like to share with us for our 75th anniversary, please contact Shirley Boujikian at [email protected]
San Joaquin Memorial High School |