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April 26, 2011 > Former Principal Joseph Tranchina remembered

Former Principal Joseph Tranchina remembered

Story and photo submitted by Mark Taubman-Walker

It was a fitting memorial at American High School as Joseph Tranchina, Principal from 1972-1991, a Renaissance man and mentor, was eulogized by friends, co-workers, and family. Tranchina was a fixture at American from the time of its inception in 1972 and led the school in a revolutionary experiment of classrooms without walls, teacher collaboration, and team teaching. Reflecting the times of experimentation during the early 70's and 80's, American was an open classroom as students and teachers enjoyed a communal atmosphere. While the idea did not last to the present day, American still reflects that openness with its huge rotunda and soft walls between classrooms.

While over 300 people spoke of Tranchina, a future generation, mostly freshmen, planted a memorial garden in his honor. Using only "American" themed roses, the 60-foot Joseph Tranchina Memorial Garden was planted by the Eagle Leadership Academy. This group would have pleased Joe greatly as those involved either struggle with academics, socialization, or negative behaviors. They enjoy planting gardens at American High as well as volunteering twice a month at one of Fremont's kitchens that feed the poor. The students were exceptionally proud of this particular project as it is such an important part of the school's history. One student said, "I'm glad we are planting something that will be here after we graduate," and added, "It would be great if this grew bigger each year." Just as Joe's memory will live on at American, so will his garden.

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