Mantle passes for 90th time

Redondo Union’s mantle passes to 90th Sea Hawk

by Jason Dietrich

In 1951, Janet Walden was the RUHS Mantle Bearer. In the past five years the robe has gotten 50 more additions.

For outgoing seniors, painting their class year and initials on the family car is a time-honored tradition. But only one Redondo Union High School Junior will get to stitch their mark on their graduation robe.

At tonight’s commencement, last year’s mantle bearer will pass on the robe covered with the markings of 90 of the most talented Sea Hawks to the Junior with the most "A" grades. And even Maria Castillas, last year’s mantle bearer, doesn’t know who that will be.

"Last year they told four of us to memorize the speech and come to the graduation ceremony," she said.

The tradition was started in 1911 by Annie Barret, a vice-principal of Redondo Union High School who donated the crimson gown she wore when receiving her degree from Stanford University. Every year since, the recipient’s initials, class number and colors are stitched onto the robe, which, after nine decades of additions is starting to take on the look of a technicolor dreamcoat.

In the past, students who simply took more classes had a better chance of coming up with more "A" grades. That’s changing this year, as administrators are weighting "A’s" in more difficult advanced placement courses higher than classes in the standard curriculum.

In passing on Redondo Union’s mantle, Castillas is following in the footsteps of her big sister, Alejandra who won the award in 1997. Castillas was the editor of the Redondo Union student newspaper, "The High Tide," president of the Cervantes service organization and the recipient of a legion of awards. She’s also received a total of $8,000 in scholarships to help her attend Harvard University in September.

"She was the first freshman I’ve let on the newspaper staff, and her dedication to both the newspaper and her studies are unparalleled," said Mitch Zeigler, Redondo Union’s journalism teacher. ER