Cheryl Ortega

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Name: Cheryl Sevold
AHS Name: Cheryl Ortega

I attended Fremont Elementary School. After high school I attended Pasadena City College and then went on to Cal State LA. There I obtained my BA in speech pathology and a special education credential to teach the deaf and hard of hearing. I taught in the Alhambra School District for 37 years in the DHH program teaching grades preschool to 8th grade I spent most of my teaching years in the classroom at Baldwin and Granada Elementary School. For several years as an itinerant teacher, I traveled to all the schools in Alhambra and throughout San Gabriel Valley. I retired in 2007.

While teaching at Granada School, I met my husband, Mark, who was teaching 7th and 8th grade language arts. He later transferred to Northup where he finished out his teaching years before taking on the position of the president of the Alhambra Teacher’s Association, which he held for two terms and then retired in 2010. We have been married for 35 years.

Our two children, Amanda and Jonathan, are our greatest accomplishment considering how long it took us. Amanda, 29, has a degree in theater and will be completing the credential program this year. She has one child—our beautiful little granddaughter Juliet. She will turn four in October. Our son, Jonathan is 26 and has a degree in film. About a year ago, he made the decision to step in a different arena and has recently been hired by a company as a junior software developer.

We have been living in San Dimas for 34 years with our many dogs, cats and other various critters. It took me until I was in my 30’s, but I finally got my horse, and what a joy she was. I enjoy my fish pond and spending time working in my butterfly/hummingbird garden. We have about 30 milkweed plants specifically for the Monarch Butterflies.

I split much of my time between caring for my granddaughter and tending to the needs of my parents. My mom is 93 and my dad is 98. He will be 99 in December, but if you ask him, he’ll tell you he is going to be 100. Yes, he is still driving—which drives us all crazy.

Special memories of my high school days include dancing in our school production of the musical Oklahoma, being a songleader, and my involvement with the Orchesis dance club. I still remain in contact with Miss Solomon (now Trudy Rogers) the PE Dance teacher.

Very special opportunities that occurred late in life for which I am very grateful are dancing in the movie Out To Sea, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and then getting selected to dance with Donald O’Connor in one of the scenes. What a thrill that was! I also competed in the US Open Swing Dance Competition, which I still attend every year. I was hired to choreograph productions of the musicals How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Carousel for the Shakespeare League of Pasadena. Performing the role of Solange in Sondheim’s Follies for Covina Valley Theater was a great experience. All these occurred from the age of 50 on—who’d a thought, huh? During this time, I was also the dance teacher/choreographer for the Alhambra School District’s Summer Arts Academy. How I wish we’d had something like that when we were in elementary school! We had art, music, dance and drama. The kids loved it! So did the parents. I am still teaching my ballroom, salsa, and east coast/west coast swing classes.

Every year in mid-June we always go to Yellowstone to observe and photograph the packs of wolves and other wildlife followed by a week and the very special Triangle X Ranch in the Grand Teton Nat. Park where we ride horses everyday and take in the spectacular scenery. Anybody seen the old movie Spencer’s Mountain? It was filmed there as well as several others.

The best thing about this reunion coming up is the opportunity to connect with old friends. A few years ago, Betty McClary and I reconnected wit Rosalie Nuzzo and Cheryl Vasque, and it has been great! We all went to Fremont together, and we picked up like no time had passed between us. We try to meet for lunch as often as we can, and one of the main topics of conversations has always been the upcoming reunion. I am looking forward to reconnecting with more old friends and keeping those friendships active. Can’t wait! Thanks to Kanta, Lorna and the committee for all the hard work they have done.

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