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Hello All!

The recent news of Keith's passing has brought back many memories.

Attached is a picture that I came across while reminiscing. This was one of the most fun events of my years at Masa High, (during which time I was most always seen as Keith's trusty passenger, either in his Dad's pickup or Keith's powder-blue and white baja bug)!

Here's the story:

It was the night or two before the Mesa/Westwood football game circa '76/'77. Our "gang" had gathered intelligence that Westwood was building a big papier-m?ch? Jackrabbit to burn at the stake for a pep rally the day of the game (the nerve of them)!

After dark, all 8 of us in the picture piled into Keith's Dad's blue shortbed pickup truck with a camper shell. We drove into Westwood territory and found the house at which the Conejo Grande was being built in the unfenced backyard. After a few covert drive-bys to "case the place", we came up with a plan and made our first attempt to rescue the famed Rabbit from it's planned demise.

With what we were sure was the finesse of a seasoned S.W.A.T Team, we made our first attempt at rescue. We were quickly discovered and chased away at least once. Finally, at what I remember to be 1 or 2 in the morning, we made the final rescue. In what I believe was less than 60 seconds, with the captors sound asleep in sleeping bags in the backyard, and Keith as the getaway driver, we rushed the yard, captured the frightened bunny and stuffed him through the door of the camper shell.

With at least 5 of us jumping onto the rear bumper of the truck, grasping to anything we could on the camper shell, the others jumping into the cab , Keith sped away at what seemed easily like 60 miles and hour in less than 60 seconds. (With a 3-speed column shifter no less). 

Still pumping with adrenaline, we gathered under the mulberry tree in Keith's backyard. I set the timer on my camera and balanced it on a step ladder and captured the event for history.

The night of the game at the old Jackrabbit stadium on Broadway, we took Jack to the top of the press box and displayed him proudly for all to see as we watched the game.

I choose to remember that Mesa won the game.

Posing from left to right in the photo are:

Brent Larson, Shannon Waite, Shawn Kellis, Harold Farnsworth, Barry Thomas, Craig LeSueur, Don Johnson and Keith Stoffel.

Carry On!

Shawn Kellis

 

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This story was emailed to me from one of our classmates, Micheal Green. The words are wonderful and really does depict us as classmates.
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Having been in the Marines for 25 years, the biggest "draw" if you will, to the Corps is that it offers and instills a strong sense of tradition and history within its members.  The saying "once a Marine always a Marine" is very true - I meet former Marines all the time and we're not strangers - common experience and sense of tradition that sets the Corps apart from the other branches makes it so.  Former Marines help each other all the time just because we were once "Marines."  Sounds a bit corny, but it is true. 

 All that said, I believe our school embodies a similar set of values and traditions - we all were fortunate (my view) to attend a high school that was frankly, more than just a public educational institution.  It has a genuine history and a number of traditions based on its history - which were taught to all of us and gave us all a sense of belonging to something good and meaningful (whether we actually recognized it at the time is a different issue - but, these things likely had an impact while we were there, and remain instilled in us today).  Additionally, good, solid values were emphasized in all manner of ways - things that likely influenced all of us to an appreciable degree to be good citizens.  While its true that the influences of the Mesa LDS community contributed in a large part to the "MHS experience," I and many of my closest friends were not LDS (I'm Catholic), and as you know, we had a pretty diverse student body - kids from all over the country whose families moved to AZ, different ethnic backgrounds, etc, yet we all shared the common bond of our school - I believe the traditions, history and values stressed during our time there contributed to that "common bond." 

The fact we all were members of an institution that went well beyond providing a basic education likely forged a common bond among us all, and that while we may not think of it much in our daily lives, does still tie us all together when the topic of Mesa High School comes up - and I'd venture to guess most, if not all of us, are proud to have been "Jackrabbits" - enjoyed a very enriching high school experience that made us all better adults because of it.  A number of public schools in other cities and states could learn a lot from how Mesa High goes beyond the basics of just meeting state requirements for a diploma and goes a long way to instill many intangibles in its students. 

 Ever take a moment to reflect that in spite of our huge stundent population and its diversity, we didn't have gangs, drugs, or other significant problems in our school?  I understand its still the same today.  I believe all of us "alumni" recognize we came from a genuinely good place that afforded us good experiences and a quality education to start our adult lives - stressed the importance of values and traditions, and we are all better for it. 

"Carry On"

Mike Green