Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Robert K. Byers ’49
I moved to California from Indiana in 1919 and then to Oakland when my dad was transferred there in 1930. I grew up in the Temescal District of Oakland, a great place to grow up! I thought I would go to University High School where my four siblings went, but that school closed in 1946 so I enrolled at Oakland Tech.
Tech was a fun and friendly place to be at; my very best memory was taking Peg Miller (also a Tech alum) to my Senior Ball. We married in June 1951 and were delightfully married for 53 years before her death. I don’t have any bad memories of Tech, other than the occasional losses of our sports teams! I played some intramural sports but was mainly involved in academic and social activities.
Two people who influenced me were Mr. Fred Boettler from Study Hall who would gladly discuss and educate us on a wide range of topics and was always friendly and helpful. The other was Virginia Jones, my counselor who gave me a lot of help and encouragement for my enrollment to the University of California. My wife’s favorite teacher was Peter Cuttitta. At Tech, I learned a lot about building solid work habits and the importance of friendships, along with the value of preparation and presentation.
Aside from my wonderful wife, I had and still have between 30-40 friends from Tech. Many of us live close by and remain close. In fact, my golf foursome for more than 30 years has consisted of friends from Class of 1949. I’ve always been proud of attending Tech, although still a little frustrated by not being able to go to University High, Tech’s archrival.
I am thankful for what Tech has done for so many people for so many years. My advice to students would be to devote sufficient time to your studies. You will be extremely happy that you did so in the future. I cherish the many friends I made at Tech– you can’t beat those old, sweet memories!