Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Kenneth Sanders ’24
After graduating from Tech in 1924, Ken went to work for US Steel in San Francisco as “hall boy” at $14 a week …progressing to “mail clerk” in 1925. He and a buddy commuted on the Key System Ferry across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco.
In April of 1925, while on the ferry, they saw the first of the Alaska Packers Star Fleet and decided to sign on with the fleet despite their mothers’ objections as they were both widows and wanted their boys home. But, various family members persuaded their mothers that it was OK. Three days later, they sailed on the Star of Falkland, boarding the ship at the lower end of California Street in San Francisco. Their salary was $50 per month. They sailed to Alaska, worked in the cannery for the summer, and returned home 3 months and 27 days later.
Upon returning, Ken worked for four years at the Lincoln Car Agency at 3737 Broadway and then spent four years with the Automatic Canteen Company of America. In October 1937, he began working for Shields Harper & Company which was located, until recently, a few blocks east of Oakland Tech at 5107 Broadway. He remained with them until his retirement in 1970. He married my mother in 1941 and I came along two and half years later.
He passed away in 1980. A side note, I donated a bench to the school back in 2005 on the 100th anniversary of my Dad’s birth. It sits outside what I would consider northwest doors off the main corridor of the school. There was a plaque when I went to see it, but it may be gone at this point. Unfortunately, I do not have any memories he shared with me about Oakland Tech, but he was proud he attended the school with his brother, Ralph.