Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Jack Hayford ’52
Memories of sack-lunch at noontime on the front lawn of the school; of the 1951 football season, and the dramatic win that brought the league championship to our school! Memories of serving on the Student Council my senior year, of sports rallies, of assemblies, of Senior Plays, of working on The Talisman. Memories of relationships with guy-buddies like Bill Walton, Gordon Wright and Sheldon Rothblatt, and girl-buddies like Peggy Woodward and Nancy Elliott. Memories of teachers who influenced me: Miss Jessie Smith, who taught English, and whose trust enabled my role when I served as Editor of The Scribe in my Senior year; Miss Ruth Forsyth, who taught Chemistry, and cultivated my interest in the broad arena of earth and biological sciences; Al Kyte, Sr., who engendered a self-confidence in my own athletic abilities as a member of the basketball team. Mr. Kyte, with Frank Johns, were men who shaped young men of capacity and accomplishment. With those and other teachers, my gratitude turns to my mention of Helen Vockel, my counselor during my senior year.
Helen Vockel’s discerning and understanding assistance is unforgettably etched in my mind. As I discussed with her my plans beyond graduation, her manner tastefully and graciously expressed the feeling she and other faculty had concerning my tests and classroom work, especially reflecting the feelings of Mrs. Smith and Miss Forsyth. Their collective thoughts were, frankly, honoring and encouraging to me, as a young man who, in turn, respected these two teachers. The recommendations they had were that I apply to the University of California at Berkeley and pursue either journalism or science. However, I had come to that decisive counseling session with a sense of “calling” that would not necessarily be readily understood or could seem fanatical.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Vockel discerned a young man who was being drawn by a grace and power which, in fact, did indeed issue into a fruitful academic future in both college (Azusa Pacific) and seminary (LIFE College). As well, my years have been blessed with favor in my pursuit of ministering the truth of God’s love, wisdom of His Word and redemptive power through His Son, Jesus Christ. Today, as I “gather memories,” perhaps the greatest at Tech was one at the finality; when Mrs. Vockel confirmed my decision to pursue Christian ministry, rather than journalism or science. While the affirmation of the others was greatly valued, and their instruction and inspiration in the other fields contributed to my future, my time at Oakland Tech High concluded with Mrs. Vockel’s unforgettable sensitivity which I so greatly treasure to this day.
(NOTE: Hayford is a Pentecostal minister, founder and chancellor of The King’s University (a Pentecostal/Charismatic Bible college and seminary in Van Nuys, California), and founding and long-serving (1969-1999) pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, CA, one of the largest churches in the US with a membership of over 10,000. He is also a prolific author and songwriter with over 600 songs to his credit.)