February Newsletter | Issue 2
60 Years of Love: It All Started Here
By: Gene Tognetti
In 1951 I was a high school senior in Ely, Nevada and proud holder of the 440 state record. Coach Stan Pavko contacted me about attending MJC. I accepted and began running for MJC.
We had a good track season in 1952 and won the Big Seven Conference the following year. At MJC I roomed with fellow runner Jack Albiani with whom I’m still close and enjoy sharing memories of our track adventures.
One of the best things happened in the fall of 1952 when Jack introduced me to a freshman named Jo Ann. She and I became a serious couple and married in 1954. We will celebrate our 60th anniversary this year. Of course, Jack was the best man at our wedding.
After my time at MJC, I went on to compete at San Jose State and on the US Army Team in Europe. I began teaching and coaching in Millbrae in 1959 then moved to Citrus Heights in 1962. I had a wonderful, 32-year career teaching Industrial Arts and coaching.
A 40 Year Family Affair
By: Dean Jepson
Modesto Junior College is pretty much the center of my 63-years on this planet. My three brothers and I attended MJC, went on to graduate from four-year schools, and did post-graduate work.
I attended MJC on the advice of my high school coach, Lyle Iverson, for which I’m ever indebted. He felt my career opportunities would be better by staying in Modesto. While playing basketball at MJC I met my future wife, Laura (Brum). She was a cheerleader.
I transferred to Fresno State where I rekindled my acquaintance with Laura. I transferred to Stanislaus State, married Laura in 1973, and graduated in 1974.
That same year I became the Assistant Men’s Basketball coach at MJC. I also coached the boys’ JV basketball team at Beyer High for 2 years. In 1979 I returned to MJC as the Head Women’s Basketball coach.
Laura taught full-time and we raised four kids. I taught full-time in Delhi and coached full-time at MJC. Our kids helped me by working clocks, doors, or the snack bar. Each of them attended MJC before going on to graduate from four-year schools.
I retired in 2001 from MJC after setting the all-time mark for basketball victories. Coach Mike Girardi nominated me for the MJC Hall of Fame. One of the proudest days of my life was being inducted in 2009.
Laura and I celebrated our 40th anniversary this year. We enjoy spending time with our family, which now includes 3 grandkids. Modesto Junior College will always hold a very special place
in our hearts.
East Coast City Guy Meets West Coast Farm Girl
By: Vic & JoAnn DiGiovanni
Our love story began when we attended MJC from 1955-1957. We went on to graduate from Cal Poly but our best memories are from our time in Modesto. Vic was born and raised in New York City. His basketball coach encouraged him to go to MJC and play for Coach Leon Lafaille. (The coach had played for Leon). Vic had scholarship offers from some four years colleges but his coach thought MJC would be a better fit. Vic would play more and ease into college life. So off to the West Coast he went. In April, Vic will be inducted to the MJC Athletics Hall of Fame!
Our careers took us to the Bay Area and now in retirement we’re happy to be back in this area. We have always kept in touch with Coach Lafaille and now we see he and his wife each month.
Love Blooms at MJC
By: Esther Alcorn
Iattended MJC in 1945-46 and had the best teachers ever – better than any at U.C. or in medical school. I especially remember Mr. Kurtz who taught Zoology.
When I returned to MJC after the war I met Stan Alcorn – well actually he asked “who is that new girl, the one in the lab coat?” That was all it took. We were married in 1949. I became a physician and Stan went on to earn a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology.
We live in Tucson where Stan was a full professor for many years and I practiced medicine. We have four sons who have grown into fine men.
The Modesto peach farm was our summer quarters where our sons learned how to work a farm, appreciate the area and to know and understand people from everywhere.
What a tragedy if MJC hadn’t brought us together!
The love affair continues between MJC and the community we serve. You can read the evidence on the above articles. We’ve felt the love in more than 300 stories we’ve received from you, the alumni and friends of MJC. Thank you for your stories!
I invite you to join us as we build a deep and lasting foundation of alumni involvement at MJC. Call me at (209) 575-6714 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
George Boodrookas, Ed.D.