HOME OF THE HILLMEN

OUR ALUMNI

IMPACTING OUR COMMUNITY AND WORLD FOR MORE THAN 125 YEARS

1897

Our Alumni

In 1897, the year Placer High School was established with only 17 students, William McKinley was inaugurated as the 25th president of the United States. Fifteen men competed in the first Boston Marathon. The Library of Congress Building opened in Washington, DC. The Klondike gold rush began. And several renowned Americans were born, including aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner, and baseball player Lefty O’Doul.

For more than 125 years, Placer High has stood on the hill as witness to modern history. From the horrors of war to the promise of peace…economic depressions to dot-com booms… horse drawn carriages to space travel… and everything in between, Placer

graduates have been an integral part of local and world history. Graduates have gone on to serve in congress, as WWII aces, cutting-edge scientists, distinguished judges, professional athletes, media stars, business leaders, and so much more.

1930-1936

The Engle Era

Dr. John F. Engle became principal of Placer High School in 1906 and began a long and illustrious 30-year career in which the school expanded from five teachers in one rickety wooden building to an 800-student faculty boasting five buildings and the creation of a junior college. At the same time the high school developed a reputation throughout the state as one of the finest secondary institutions of the Placer High School District which extended from Loomis to Lake Tahoe.

Several landmark buildings were added during Engle’s stay as principal. During the 1906-07 school years the original Sierra College wooden building was torn down and replaced

1906 Upper Campus Building

by a $40,000 building. The new building was a substantial brick structure consisting of 22 rooms on four levels, including a basement, and a large tin dome. Heating was by an automatic system which regulated both temperature and ventilation in every room. Within a few years statuary, pictures, and potted plants were added to beatify the interior of the school. The library was considered one of the finest in Northern California and the collection of American history in the History department was the best in Northern California.

In 1909 shower baths and lockers for the Athletes were installed downstairs in the new building. In the next few years tennis courts were finished on the site of the old wooden building and a football field and track were installed. By 1918 the school showcased a large wooden gymnasium with sideline seating and a stage. The year 1926, however marked the beginning of a new era for Placer when the music/auditorium and science wings were added and the brick building was plastered over to match the architectural style of the two new wings. The auto shop and bus shed building along Agard Street were also constructed at this time. Ten years later, building began on Placer Junior College buildings, gym and athletic field during the final year of Engle’s administration, 1936.

Athletics began to have an impact on the school during Engle’s tenure as well. In addition of a young coach from the University of California, Earl Crabbe, enabled the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams to create a dynasties of legendary significance. Between 1916 and 1920 his girls’ basketball team went 41-1 winning 37 games in succession at one point, compiling four straight undefeated seasons. Beginning in 1923 his boys’ basket ball teams won 16 out of 17 league championships, including 12 in a row. Crabbe also coached his men to eight Central California titles in 13 appearances.

Engle was at the helm as a student endured the tragedy of World War I when a junior Red Cross Club was organized on campus with girls learning to make surgical dressings and the entire school donating over $500 to a war drive. The Engle years also saw the formation of the first high school cadet corps in the State of California under the direction of Captain Fred S. Roumage, a National Guard officer and later captain in France in World War I.

The year 1914 marked the birth of the Placer High School district, thus again changing the names of the school to Placer High School. That same year college level classes were revived after having disappeared several years earlier. However, due to the enrollment drain caused by World War I, the junior college was abandoned by 1920.

Certain ceremonies were now becoming traditional such as the Freshman Reception, the Christmas Jinx, the Junior Prom, the Senior Ball, Senior Picnic, and the Graduation and Alumni Dance. Participation in clubs and organization also grew, beginning with the Agricultural Science Organization which became the Future Farmers of America, the oldest club in existence. During the period of time the Placer Band came into prominence under the guidance of Otto Fox, entertaining the school and the community at various concerts and public performances.

Academics also took on prominence during the Engle principalship. A four year curriculum became the norm with students tracked into Classical, Scientific, or Commercial fields of study. All paths were stiffly challenging with semester finals a dreaded period of time for the students. Miscreant students were dealt with severely and Detention became an unwelcome punishment. Still, Engle and his vice-Principal E.F. Waldo were highly respected by the students and could be seen attending various cultural, social and Athletic events at the school.

OUR FOCUS

FOUNDATION FOUCS: OUR IMPACT AREAS

ACADEMICS

We empower students, faculty, and staff for enhanced learning through grants, tech initiatives, and scholarships, propelling them into a successful future beyond high school.

ATHLETICS

Hillmen Foundation fuels athletic achievements through grants, enhancing safety, facilities, and community fitness.

ACTIVITIES

We foster holistic education by supporting diverse activities through grants, enriching students' experiences beyond the classroom.

ALUMNI

Placer High's rich history shines through alumni activities, fostering a strong network connecting generations and the community.

SPECIAL PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

Placer High's prime Auburn location fuels community growth, enhancing facilities and programs through strategic grants.

GET INVOLVED

Grants

Students, faculty and staff apply for and receive educational grants for a wide range of needs that are typically not covered by state funding. Every year, thousands of dollars are granted to enrich academics, athletics and activities that directly benefit students, our feeder schools, and community. Examples of these grants include support for:

ACADEMICS

Art Equipment and Materials

3-D Printers

Math Materials, including Specialized Calculators

Band Instruments & Uniforms

Programs for At-Risk Students

DNA Lab Materials

Science Equipment

Field Trips

Microprocessor Kits

Music & Drama Materials

Performing Arts Sound & Lighting Equipment

Journalism Dept. Materials

Special Education Enterprise Programs

Photo Lab Equipment, including Cameras, Lenses, and Filters

AVID Program

Special Curriculum & Materials for Every Department

Career Tech Equipment, including Welding Machines

World (Foreign) Language Programs

Peer Counseling Program

VAULT Program

Faculty Continuing Education


ATHLETICS

General / Multi Athletic Teams

Soccer

Basketball

Tennis

Track & Field

Wrestling

Football

Cross Country

Ski / Snowboard

Volleyball

ACTIVITIES

Assemblies

Grad Night

Enrichment Events

Dance Team

Campus Clubs

Special Programs for Middle & Elementary School Students

Eagle Scout Projects

Community Service Endeavors

Career Day Projects

ALUMNI

​Grants for alumni programs help highlight distinguished graduates and their impact in the community and world, as well as connect Hillmen of all ages to their alma mater. These grants include:

- Alumni Bricks Courtyard

​ - Alumni Center

- All Class Reunion

- Centennial Celebration

- Placer Hall of Fame

- Athletic Hall of Fame

- Central Square Tiles in Memory of our Founder Jug Covich and Long-time Board member/Distinguished Alumni Ty Rowe

SPECIAL CAPITAL PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

Special grants for capital improvements or other major initiatives that enhance both the school and community are a significant hallmark of the Foundation’s work over the past three decades. Here are examples:

- Campus Gateway Centennial Arch

- Iron Hillmen Sculpture Base

- Athletic Complex Campaign

- All Weather Track

- Stadium Scoreboard

- Stadium Sound System & Speakers

- Stadium Lights

- Stadium Snack bar Roof

- Sherbina Water Fountain Restoration

- Press Box Renovation

- Track Walkway

​ - Earl Crabbe Gym Snack Shack

The Hillmen Foundation strives to connect our alumni with their classmates and the school that launched the lives of generations of Auburn teens.

● The new Alumni Center in the Earl Crabbe Gym reminds visitors of the Hillmen legacy of achievement in our community and world.


● We are proud supporters of the Placer Hall of Fame and the Placer Athletic Hall of Fame, honoring distinguished graduates, faculty, staff, and coaches.


● Grants to the widely-attended All-Class Reunions and Centennial Celebration united Hillmen of all ages and brought economic benefit to the entire community.

Clarence "Bud" Anderson and Dean "Diz" Laird

​● Our special events, such as the popular Hillmen Tailgater in Central Square, have honored Hillmen Heroes like WWII fighter aces Clarence “Bud” Anderson and Dean “Diz” Laird (both class of 1939), and served as a mini-reunion for graduates and friends.

● Individual class reunions are also supported by The Hillmen Foundation, including maintaining a master list of graduates by class.

WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

YOUR FINANCIAL IMPACT

Every donation, regardless of size, will positively impact Placer High students, our community, and life on the Hill. All contributions to

the Hillmen Foundation are tax deductible in accordance with state and federal tax laws.

$900,312

TOTAL IMPACT AS OF JUNE 30, 2023, INCLUDING...

$639,587

GRANTS PROGRAMS, INCLUDING...

$180,386

ACADEMICS

$83,105

ATHLETICS

$46,551

ACTIVITIES

$24,736

ALUMNI

$304,809

SPECIAL PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM*

$260,725

TOTAL AWARDED

23

CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

$30,000

FOR 2023 GRADS

*Scholarships include Foundation-sponsored and Endowments with the Hillmen Foundation

In the best of times, in the worst of times, at all times… It’s great to be a Hillman!

OUR MISSION

The purpose of the Hillmen Foundation is to support Placer High School in the areas of academics, student activities, and athletics, including the staff, students, and alumni endeavors of the school; to stimulate gifts of service, endowments, and bequests; and to maintain an association of persons interested in Placer High School.

FOCUS

Academics

Athletics

Activities

Alumni

Special Projects & Initiatives

HAVE A QUESTIONS?

P.O. Box 6115 Auburn, CA 95604

Tax ID #68-0168995

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved

NEWS AND EVENTS

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Explore Placer High School's vibrant academics, activities, and athletics, keeping you connected to the staff, students, and valued alumni, uniting a passionate community supporting the school.

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The Hillmen Foundation: Enriching Placer High School and our Community for 35 Years.

November 22, 20234 min read

Introduction:

Placer High School stands as both a vital landmark and essential part of our community history, boasting a rich legacy spanning 126 years. Since its founding, the school has been a cornerstone of the Greater Auburn community, shaping the lives of countless students who have passed through its halls. Yet, it’s the unique bond between school, community, and its residents that has helped Placer thrive for generations. The Hillmen Foundation is the catalyst founded to unite our alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and community around the singular goal of making Placer High strong.

In 1989, a dedicated group of individuals led by Jug Covich and Tom Johnson came together to establish the Hillmen Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the academic, athletic, and extracurricular experiences of Placer High School students. As we reflect on its impact, it is clear that the Hillmen Foundation has become an integral part of the school's journey, leaving an indelible mark on generations of students and contributing to the quality of life in our community and beyond. Each year, the foundation endeavors to give back at least $70,000 per year, including $40,000 through the grants program and $30,000 in scholarships. Here’s a look at how we steward donor gifts to impact Placer High and our community.

Supporting Academic Excellence

One of the primary pillars of the Hillmen Foundation's mission is to foster academic excellence at Placer High School. Through a robust grants program, the foundation channels resources directly into initiatives that enhance student learning. From funding innovative classroom projects to providing essential educational resources, the foundation plays a pivotal role in creating an environment where students can thrive academically.

The Hillmen Foundation recognizes the importance of adapting to the evolving landscape of education. By staying attuned to the needs of the school and its students, the foundation ensures that its contributions have a meaningful and lasting impact. As a result, Placer High School remains a hub of intellectual curiosity and a place where students are empowered to reach their full academic potential.

Investing in Athletic Achievements and Community Health

Athletics hold a special place in the heart of Placer High School and the Auburn community. The Hillmen Foundation understands the transformative power of sports and life-long health in a student's life. The foundation actively supports the school's athletic programs, providing funding for equipment, facilities, and opportunities that allow student athletes to excel. Improvements to the Athletic Complex, such as the all-weather track, stadium lighting, tennis courts, and gymnasium, not only benefit the students but also contribute to the overall well-being of the community. The state-of-the-art facilities have become a hub for community health and athletic endeavors, fostering a sense of unity, fitness and pride among residents.

Empowering Student Activities:

BBeyond the classroom and the sports field, the Hillmen Foundation extends its support to a myriad of student activities. From performing arts to leadership development programs, a host of clubs to student orientation and grad night, the foundation recognizes the importance of a holistic educational experience. By fostering a diverse range of extracurricular activities, the foundation ensures that every student has the opportunity to explore their passions and develop essential life skills.

Scholarships: A Pathway to Future Success

As a testament to its commitment to student success, the Hillmen Foundation has established a scholarship program for graduating seniors. The program includes both endowed or community-sponsored scholarships, as well as three scholarships directly supported by the foundation. These scholarships provide a pathway for students to pursue higher education, empowering them to reach for their full potential.

Generosity in Action

The remarkable impact of the Hillmen Foundation is made possible by the generosity of its donors. Individuals, alumni, and businesses within the Auburn community have rallied behind the foundation, recognizing the importance of investing in the future leaders emerging from Placer High School. Through their contributions, donors become partners in the foundation's mission, helping to create a brighter future for the students of today and tomorrow.

Impact beyond the Classroom

As Placer High School continues to evolve, the Hillmen Foundation remains a steadfast force, weaving a tapestry of support that enriches the academic, athletic, and extracurricular experiences of its students. With over $900,000 given back to the school to date through its grants and scholarship programs, the foundation stands as a beacon of community collaboration and commitment to education. The impact of Placer High School extends beyond the classroom or sports field, influencing the economic, cultural, and quality of life in the Greater Auburn community and wherever Hillmen call home.

As we celebrate the foundation's legacy in 2024, we also look to the future, confident that the Hillmen Foundation will continue to play an essential role in shaping the next chapter of Placer High School's storied history and the vitality of our region.

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Shana Fain McDonald

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$825,375

TOTAL IMPACT TO DATE, INCLUDING...

$594,650

GRANTS PROGRAMS, INCLUJDING...

$160,469

ACADEMICS

$70,105

ATHLETICS

$34,531

ACTIVITES

$24,736

ALUMNI

$304,809

SPECIAL PROJECTS & INITIATIVES

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM*

$230,725

TOTAL AWARDED

17

CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

$29,750

FOR 2022 GRADS

*Scholarships include Foundation-sponsored and Endowments with the Hillmen Foundation