Staff Report

Santa Ynez High School alumni are continuing their competitive tradition, this time to benefit the future Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Complex, scheduled for completion in 2020.

Pirate alumni are rekindling that class and community pride by holding the Santa Ynez Valley High School Alumni Class Challenge — a healthy and fun competition to benefit the future Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics & Sports Science Complex.

The Alumni Class Challenge is issued to every graduating class since 1965 (when the current 53 year-old pool was constructed) to raise at least the amount of their graduation year. Every class will rally their fellow alums to donate so the total  class contribution dollar amount equals their graduation year.

To kick off the competition, Linda Johansen, Class of ’67 organized her class to donate $1,967 to the SYV Aquatics Foundation.  Now ’67 has thrown down the gauntlet for all other classes to donate at least their year in dollars as well.

“The class of 1967 challenges all SYHS alum to step up!  We’ve donated $1,967 and challenge all classes to match us!” said alum Carol Paaske, who is helping to coordinate the competition.  “Go ahead, try and beat us, we are a tough group, even after 50 years of leaving SYHS.”

“The Alumni Class Challenge will help spread awareness that the current high school pool, built in 1965, has outlived its useful purpose,” said Kristen Thomsen (’87) the Foundation’s Executive Director who is also coordinating the competition.

“So many of us have fond memories of learning to swim, playing on an aquatics team or swimming for fun and health at the pool.  The next generations of alumni and everyone in our community – needs a safe place to swim for competition and recreation.  It would be kind of us to pass it on,” added Thomsen.

The Alumni Class Challenge will run from the end of June through the end of September.

The Alumni Class Challenge will support the expanded state-of-the-art Complex that will be a municipal multi-use aquatics facility for the entire Valley, open seven days a week, and accessible to the public during school hours.

“The high school is the largest community center in the Valley,” said Scott Cory, ’83 and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District Superintendent. “Right now, we have more than 30 organizations using our facilities in any given year.  The opportunity to bring on board the Community Aquatics & Sports Science Complex will expand our partnerships even more, so we can benefit everyone in the community from ages two to 92!”

Aquatics Foundation President Bruce Porter notes that “more than half of the complex funding has been raised so far, a significant achievement considering no Measure K bond money is going toward the Complex.”

Alumni interested in taking part should visit the Santa Ynez Valley Aquatics Foundation Facebook page ( to share pictures and stories about their experiences with the current pool.  Donations can be made on the website at or mailed to P.O. Box 1617 Santa Ynez.

The two-acre SYV Community Aquatics and Sports Science Complex will replace the nearly unusable 53-year old Santa Ynez High School pool and will include: an Olympic-sized 50-meter competitive pool, a 25-yard warm water therapy pool; an “In Memory of Those Who Serve” grand entry plaza; a sports medicine/science building; changing rooms/storage/lockers, a family play area.  It will all be affordable and accessible year-round with programs and activities for ALL Valley residents.

Any class that hasn’t been contacted but is interested in being part of the challenge may reach Executive Director, Kristen Thomsen at ,  805 680-7755 or 805 694-8232.

For more information:, #syvaquatics or email