L.A. High School Named After Distinguished Teacher

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Ted Tajima's lifelong dedication to education is recognized.

A ribbon-cutting was held Oct. 12 at Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School. Among those taking part were (holding scissors) Dale and Ayako Okuno, who were initiators of the naming honor, and Pam Tajima Praeger; Linda Tajima (wearing dark glasses), Wendy Tajima, Elaine Tajima, and Bill Ouchi. Dale Okuno and Ouchi are board members of Alliance College-Ready High Schools.

A ribbon-cutting was held Oct. 12 at Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School. Among those taking part were (holding scissors) Dale and Ayako Okuno, who were initiators of the naming honor, and Pam Tajima Praeger; Linda Tajima (wearing dark glasses), Wendy Tajima, Elaine Tajima, and Bill Ouchi. Dale Okuno and Ouchi are board members of Alliance College-Ready High Schools.

On Oct. 12, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools celebrated the naming one of its high schools as Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School to honor the memory of an inspirational and distinguished educator who taught at Alhambra High School for 35 years.

The school is located at 1552 Rockwood St. in Los Angeles.

Guests included Tajima’s four daughters, former students and members of his church community. Los Angeles Unified School District Associate Superintendent Dr. Earl Perkins, City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Frank Baxter, board chair of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools and former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, and Chief of Staff Lizette Patrón from the Office of Los Angeles Unified School District Board member Mónica García were among the speakers at the event.

With a warm welcome, Perkins congratulated the school community on its incredible achievements by saying, “At LAUSD we are a committed long-time partner to the families and students of this community and we congratulate you on achieving 100 percent graduation for both of your classes…We appreciate the opportunity to learn from your successes and particularly in your work that is preparing students for success in college and careers.”

From left: Dale and Ayako Okuno, Pam Tajima Praeger, Elaine Tajima, Ambassador Frank Baxter, Elaine Tajima, Linda Tajima.

From left: Dale and Ayako Okuno, Pam Tajima Praeger, Elaine Tajima, Ambassador Frank Baxter, Wendy Tajima, Linda Tajima.

Daughter Pam Tajima Praeger said, “On behalf of my sisters, Linda, Elaine, and Wendy, we are ver grateful for this honor to not only remember our father but to help provide excellent educational opportunities for so many. Our father supported a strong belief manifested in his actions that high-quality public education was essential and should be offered to all.

“He credited much of any successes he and his siblings and their families had on educational opportunities. He also showed the grit that he saw in his parents and his wife’s parents, all who were early immigrants from Japan. He was an extremely humble man and would have only accepted this honor because it represented excellent teaching and learning.”

The son a minister and his schoolteacher wife, Tajima was born in Salt Lake City, grew up in Pasadena, and enrolled at Occidental College. He dreamed of becoming a journalist but his college education was interrupted by the mandated uprooting of Japanese Americans from California during World War II, followed by his service in the U.S. Army.

LAUSD Associate Superintendent Dr. Earl Perkins

LAUSD Associate Superintendent Dr. Earl Perkins

After the war, he became a transformative teacher and inspirational leader who was known for his ability to help his students unlock their potential and fulfill their dreams. Under his guidance, Alhambra High School’s student newspaper, The Moor, won 26 All-American awards from the National Scholastic Press Association, which named The Moor one of the six best student newspapers in the country in 1968 and 1972. He was a mentor to many journalists, and his passion and commitment to his students embodies the mission shared today across all 28 Alliance schools.

Tajima passed away in 2011 at the age of 88.

Students from Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School performed during the ceremony.

Students from Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School performed during the ceremony.

Alliance Ted K. Tajima High School is an award-winning, high-performing free charter public school that is open to all students, including those with special needs. Located in the largely immigrant community just west of Downtown Los Angeles, the school scored in the top quartile of California schools on the 2016 state Common Core assessment, graduated 100 percent of its students last June, and has been named a California Gold Ribbon School in recognition for its exceptional work with English language learners.

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools is a network of 28 charter public schools serving 12,500 families in L.A.’s most underserved communities. In 2015, 14 Alliance high schools were recognized among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and three were ranked in the top 10 schools closing the achievement gap in Los Angeles by the Education Equality Index. Alliance is at the forefront of education innovation and uses blended learning techniques to help students learn at their own pace through highly personalized programs.

Photos by Mark Savage

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