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Part 3 — The Age of the Vikings: To these local families, La Jolla High isn’t just a school, it’s a tradition

Sylvia Busby (bottom left) is seen in 1990 with the first La Jolla High School girls lacrosse team. She graduated in 1991.
Sylvia Busby (bottom left) is pictured in 1990 with the first La Jolla High School girls lacrosse team. She graduated in 1991 and eventually married another LJHS alumnus, and their children will graduate from the school.
(Courtesy of Sylvia Busby)

La Jolla High School has had tens of thousands of students graduate in its 100-year history. They’ve gone on to many different things, though some La Jollans have kept Vikings pride in the family for generations.

La Jolla High School, part of the San Diego Unified School District, opened in September 1922 and has remained an educational fixture in the community. This is the third part of a La Jolla Light series marking the school’s 100th anniversary.

La Jolla High School has had tens of thousands of students walk across its field in the past century to accept diplomas upon graduation.

Some alumni — among them actresses Raquel Welch and Robin Wright and former major-league pitcher Kyle Zimmer — have made it to the big stage, while others have made their mark locally and beyond and continue to do so.

Some La Jollans have kept Vikings pride in the family for generations:

The Marquardt family

Brothers Griffin and Lucas Marquardt attend Griffin's 1999 graduation from La Jolla High School.
Brothers Griffin and Lucas Marquardt, pictured at Griffin’s 1999 graduation from La Jolla High School, are the third generation of Vikings alumni in their family.
(Courtesy of Lucas Marquardt)

Lucas Marquardt, class of 1997, is a third-generation alumnus of La Jolla High. His father, Michael Marquardt, is class of 1970 and Michael’s father, Wendell, was class of 1939.

At least 20 other members of the Marquardt family, including siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, have attended LJHS over the decades.

Lucas said playing football for the Vikings was one of his better memories, though the teachers also stand out for him.

“You never realize how lucky you are to be able to … see the ocean from the campus and feel the ocean breeze come into the classrooms,” he said.

Michael said the period when he attended (1967-70) marked the “end of an era,” as the administration building, auditorium and other structures were torn down a few years later.

When he went to Lucas’ football games a generation later, “it was just like going home,” Michael said.

He and Lucas even had the same math teacher, he said, and Lucas found Michael’s name at the top of a math textbook, indicating the elder Marquardt was the first to use it.

“That was pretty nostalgic,” Michael said.

Lucas, who lives in La Jolla after 20 years in Colorado, is the father of a baby boy.

“The goal is for him to go to La Jolla High,” Lucas said, which would continue the Marquardts’ Vikings legacy for a fourth generation.

The Dewhurst family

George, Walter and Pancho Dewhurst (from left) are three generations of La Jolla High School alumni in their family.
George, Walter and Pancho Dewhurst (from left) are three generations of La Jolla High School alumni in their family. Pancho’s children will be the fourth.
(Courtesy of Pancho Dewhurst)

The Dewhurst family also is planning for four generations of LJHS alumni.

Pancho Dewhurst, class of 1993 and a resident of Bird Rock, said he had “some of the best years of my life” at the school because of the camaraderie of his peers and the lasting friendships he made.

His father, George Dewhurst, is a 1962 graduate and the son of Walter Dewhurst, class of 1933.

Walter was the first Dewhurst to graduate from La Jolla High but was a second-generation La Jollan as the son of Ernie Dewhurst, who immigrated to La Jolla in the 1920s from England.

Pancho continues to stay involved with his alma mater. He donated the flagpole for the school and his GDC Construction company’s dump truck has been used in LJHS homecoming floats.

Pancho’s son Austin, a sixth-grader at La Jolla’s Muirlands Middle School, said he’s excited to carry on the family tradition as a future Viking.

Pancho’s daughter Ava, in fourth grade at Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla, said she’s proud to be able to attend LJHS in a few years.

The Stone/Busby Family

Sylvia Busby (born Sylvia Stone) graduated from La Jolla High School in 1991. Her husband, Bruce Busby, did so a year earlier.

The two met in an LJHS art class in fall 1989 and became good friends. They began dating in 2004 and were married in 2006.

They have two daughters: Aiko, already a sophomore at LJHS, and Torrey, who is in eighth grade at Muirlands.

The Busbys moved back to La Jolla from Oakland when Torrey was an infant.

“We wanted to raise our kids in a community where they could grow up with our family,” Sylvia said.

Attending La Jolla High “was quite transformational,” said Sylvia, who moved to the area in the middle of high school from Pennsylvania. “I was captivated by the change.”

The “teachers treated us more like mini adults,” she said.

“The framework of the school, while it has modernized, is so familiar” now, Sylvia said. She added that her sense of community pride has heightened with Aiko’s enrollment there.

Bruce said picking up Aiko from field hockey practice or hearing how seagulls try to steal students’ lunches, as they did a generation ago, brings back memories.

Aiko said she’s been amazed to realize the CIF sports banners in the school’s gym go back nearly 100 years.

The Kirsch/Joyce family

From left: Robert and Jena Joyce, Nora Joyce and Jena's parents, Joy and Jeff Kirsch, attend Nora's 2018 LJHS graduation.
From left: Robert Joyce, Jena Joyce (La Jolla High School class of 1981), their daughter Nora Joyce (LJHS class of 2018) and Jena’s parents, Joy and Jeff Kirsch, attend Nora’s graduation.
(Courtesy of Jena Joyce)

Jena Joyce (born Jena Kirsch) graduated as a Viking in 1981. Her brother Scott Kirsch is class of 1985 and her daughter Nora Joyce is class of 2018.

Nora attending the same high school was “very cool because it looks so much the same and yet so different,” Jena said.

“While Nora was there, I helped with all the fundraising for athletics,” she said. “We were very involved in the lacrosse program and the field hockey program. … [I] never missed a game.”

Jena said she loved being able to wear red and black in the stands again. (The school’s colors changed from green and white to red and black in the 1940s when San Diego State University donated old football uniforms).

She said she appreciated being able to guide Nora through her LJHS experience based on her own understanding of the school’s classes and social order.

Nora now lives in New York with another LJHS alumna for a roommate. She said it was great to go to La Jolla High as the second generation in her family to do so.

“It was cool … to follow her lead,” Nora said of her mother.

“The community is particularly special at La Jolla High,” she said. “I think it’s somewhere that you always want to go back to.”

The Friberg family

Rudy Friberg (left) is a member of the LJHS class of 1947. His son, Zane (right), teaches there now.
(Courtesy of Zane Friberg)

Some families carried on the Vikings tradition a bit differently.

Rudy Friberg, 94, a member of the LJHS class of 1947, became a professor at San Diego State. The university’s College of Arts and Letters named him Professor of the Year in 1989.

Friberg’s son, Zane Friberg, has taught media and photography at LJHS since 2003.

Rudy said Zane influenced him to return to La Jolla High as a substitute teacher for a few years, and the two had lunch together there frequently.

Zane, who plans to retire at the end of this school year, said he enjoys teaching at his father’s alma mater and added that it’s helped him realize the strength and importance of the school’s alumni community. ◆