05-13-2009 - She Gets A Diploma... Shiku Satow - Class of 1976
Shiku Satow - Class of 1976
She Gets A Diploma at Age 86
From The Los Angeles Times - June 18, 1976 Written by Charles Hillinger
Honor Marks Family's Ties to High School (25 Family Graduates)
As the elderly Japanese-American woman walked to the podium in white cap and gown, the 390 graduating seniors assembled on the Leuzinger High School football field jumped to their feet, clapped and cheered.
In the bleachers, hundreds of relatives and friends of the graduates rose at the same to give the woman a standing ovation. For 86 year old Shiku Satow, the event highlighted almost half a century of association with the high school from which 25 members of her family - seven children and 18 grandchildren - have graduated.
Mrs Satow was awarded an honorary diploma - the first ever given by Leuzinger - at graduation exercises Wednesday evening in Lawndale.
"This is one of the happiest moments of my life," she said after the ceremonies. "All these years I have sat out there in the audience watching my children and grandchildren graduate. I never expected to be up here with the graduates."
Seated besides Mrs Satow up on the podium was her eldest son Hideo, a member of Leuzinger's first graduating class in 1932.
Among the graduates this year was Gwyn Christine Satow whose father Kunio, 51 received his diploma in 1942.
Kunio was the only one of 25 Satows to graduate from Leuzinger who did not receive his diploma at regular graduation exercises. His diploma was presented in a special graduation ceremony for Japanese-Americans from high schools throughout Southern California assembled at The World War II internment camp at Santa Anita Race Track in June 1942.
Mrs Satow has lived in Hawthorne since she and her late husband Tomijiro first came to the United States in 1914.
She is still active in the floral business she and her husband established the year they arrived. Mrs Satow, six sons and one daughter grow carnations on 10 acres of land.
From the very beginning, her family has had close ties with Leuzinger.
In fact for Wednesday evening ceremonies, a special section in the audience was reserved for Mrs Satows seven children, twenty-two grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and other members of the family.
"Throughout the entire history of our school, except for the three war years, there has always been a member of Shiku Satow's family in attendance," said Principal Jim Crase. "The Satows have always been outstanding students - beginning with Hideo who won the Darsie Aware for service to Leuzinger. Satows have included a valedictorian, football players, and student class presidents. They have enriched the life of this campus immensely."
Then while the choir sang "This Is My Country" and a fireworks display ended the evening's ceremonies, Mrs Satow had a few words of her own.
"I am so happy this happened," she said softly. "America has been very good to my family."
Shiku Satow, 86 gets kiss from granddaughter Gwyn Satow, 18.