top of page

100 years of Garfield High School Memories

Lynn Jaffe
Class of 1958

Going to Garfield for four years left me with many memories. One of the best and most fun was Funfest. We took this very seriously and practiced continuously. A couple of the years my mom, Garfield ’28, taught us some dances which were just lots of fun. One being the black bottom which rivalled the Charleston.

Funfest was held in March and was Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances. Some of the groups were made up of classmates, some put on ethnic productions. The music was great, and the performances were wonderful to watch. The auditorium was packed all three nights.

One of the many great memories I had going to Garfield.

Carver Gayton
Class of 1956

My high school English literature teacher Miriam Eskenazi made a major impact on my life during my junior year at Garfield. Until I was enrolled in Mrs. Eskenazi's class, I tended be a fairly lackadaisical student during all the previous years I attended school. I was not a poor student academically, but I certainly was not a scholar. I tended to be primarily interested in sports and whether I would ever have a girlfriend.


One day in class Mrs. Eskenazi pulled me aside, looked me dead in the face—she was not smiling—and said in no uncertain words, "Carver, you are not working up to your potential. You are a smart young man and I am going to make sure that you stay on task with regard to your school work while you are in my class." I was in shock. Up to that point, no teacher had ever challenged me like that, nor showed that much interest in my work. From that point forward I was committed not to disappoint her.


The course focused on the plays of Shakespeare, with emphasis on "Hamlet," which initially were certainly not my cup of tea. I worked hard and learned a great deal from the course as a result of her tough love. I received an "A" in the class, my first ever in an English course. The residual effect was long lasting. I felt capable of doing well in any course if I simply made the effort.


Mrs. Eskenazi only taught one semester at Garfield. Having her as my teacher was serendipitous. She changed my life forever

Gayton '56.jpg
Barney Hilliard
Class of 1956

My favorite memories of Garfield are our students, sports, and spirit. We had the most diverse, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural student body. We embraced our differences of race, religion and economic status. From the low-income projects in Yesler Terrace, to the high-income gated community of Broadmoor. We had great pride in knowing that Garfield had the most diverse student body among all high schools in Seattle.

In sports, we enjoyed winning football and basketball championships in the mid-1950s. As a lifelong musician, I was proud to play my saxophone in the marching band. I gained first-hand knowledge of Garfield spirit during games, while playing for the boys and girls cheerleading teams.

I am particularly proud to be a member of the class of 1956. We have so much camaraderie and togetherness, that we organized class reunions every five years, from 1961 to 2016. Our 60th reunion was special because I brought my personal band members out of retirement for the event.

In 1953, Dave Lewis and I were playing music together at Meany Jr High School. When we entered Garfield in September, we added George Griffin on drums, John Gray on bass, and J.B. Allen as the second saxophone player. We five musicians became the Original Dave Lewis Combo. 

In the 1950s, R&B music was banned as “race” music by the mainstream radio and TV media nationwide, so we bought R&B records from two local record shops. We practiced the most popular R&B songs after school, and other students would come watch and listen. The word spread about our music, and soon we were asked to play our first teen dance at the East Madison YMCA on 23rd & East Olive. Eventually, we were playing teen dances for Garfield and every other high school in Seattle.

After all the racial harmony we experienced at Garfield, we were surprised to learn musicians’ unions were segregated in Seattle, and even nationwide. As we played R&B music for teen dances around the city, our teen audiences were always integrated.

We have such fond memories of our time at Garfield. We developed some lifelong friendships through the years. Now, many of us ’56 classmates volunteer to serve others. We like to give back, do some good, and make a difference. Bulldogs rock.

Alex Sytman
Class of 1956

The first day of school for me in 1953 I arrived early to an empty campus. I decided to wait but meanwhile slid down the front banister and ripped my pants. Dd not have time to walk home so I hid my problem as best as I could. The next three years were terrific. Later in life I changed my name from Shevalier to Sytman, my birth name. Its a long story.

Dave Altaras
Class of 1951

During my 3 yrs at Garfield, I was barely 5 ft tall....needless to say that football-basketball-baseball were out of the question. I was on the tennis team for 3 yrs and played trumpet in the marching band. I was fortunate to sit in the trumpet row with Quincy Jones. The musical talent was already showing...He was always pleasant, and very likeable..I cherish those years and think about them often. 

Jack Barouh
Class of 1957

The greatest time of my life. The school was amazing and I lived across the street which has been taken over by the school. I had Chinese friends, black friends, Japanese friends, native American friends, Hispanic friends, and Philipino friends. I was in band and marching in the parades was great as playing in the all city orchestra. I was in Mr Mount physics class and he brought out my love of science. I could go on all day about school but enough said.

Carolyn (Emmons) Carpp
Class of 1954

My memories of Garfield center on music and publications. Parker Cook came to Meany Junior High, where we first met, and encouraged me to pursue vocal lessons. He mentored me through college and 25 years singing with Seattle Opera, always sitting in the front row on Wednesday night performances. At Garfield, I was a sophomore feature editor on the Messenger, having already edited the Meany News and Views, Miss Saeman invited me to submit artwork for the Arrow. This resulted in me being Art Editor in1953 and Co-Editor of the 1954 Arrow with Roger Eng. Little did I know, that over fifty years later, all of this would prepare me to edit the GGG Gazette.                                                                                      

Gina Radke
Class of 1952

I graduated in 1952 and my best friend Shirley Pang (52) we met at Horace Mann school when we were 5 years old She was an adorable little girl who spoke very little English. At that time she was called Foon Woo. She must have found in me a kindred soul. She tapped me on the shoulder and said BOO!! We have been friends for over 80 some years and I cherish every day

Don Drury
Class of 1953

WOW! Seventy years ago as a Garfield Junior (Class of ’53 if you do the math), my interests revolved around all Bulldog teams, plus Math, Chemistry and Physics. Beyond academic progress at Garfield, I was prematurely blessed with my own Head Start and/or Advanced Placement in multi-cultural relationships through participation in our daily activities. In today’s social climate my great regret is that in this nation we didn’t all learn the blending, understanding, appreciation and the greater potential and offerings of our differing backgrounds and cultures that we enjoyed at Garfield.

Regina Barkey Amira
Class of 1951

I had the good fortune of spending 33 years at Garfield, 3 as a student and 30 as a staff member and truly loved my time there. I was so lucky to be a true Bulldog!!

Dorothea "Dot" (Deutsch) Gordon
Class of 1950

I have great memories of my time at Garfield and friends that I sadly miss like Betty Capeluto as well as Evelyn Ketzlach and Chickie Lawson who were my childhood friends from Madrona school. Annette Myers, Mickie Blumenfield, Barbara Posner and JoAnn Wener have been treasured life-long friends as well. I also remember Lily Endo who was a good friend, always smiling and so creative...I am the youngest of four Deutsch children, all of whom graduated from Garfield High School (Elsie - ’38; Helen - ’41; Allan - ’44; Dorothea "Dot" - ’50). At Garfield, I especially enjoyed the girls cabinet, working on the Messenger and Pen as well as attending sports events and dancing in the follies. I wish I had taken more Spanish classes and history classes, and that I had followed what my home economics teacher Miss Burns said to remember “a place for everything and everything in its place” as after living in the same house for over 60 years, we have accumulated lots of stuff…Also, Garfield grads, it seems, are everywhere! On a Columbia River boat cruise some years ago, my husband and I happily and unexpectedly met Junious Rochester, class of ’51, a renown historian and writer who lectured and led tours on our trip.

bottom of page