The last of the t-birds

Jonathan Petramala, Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter, jonathan.petramala@krdo.com
POSTED: 09:36 PM MDT May 21, 2013    UPDATED: 10:44 PM MDT May 21, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Dr. Roy J. Wasson told students at his namesake high school back in 1959 that, “The opportunity is yours to create a tradition and make a reputation for your school; it is yours to write on the blank pages of the future."

 In the 54 years the school has been open, Hall of Fame pitcher Rich Gossage, Super Bowl Champion Daniel Audick, and Olympic gold medalist Scott Johnson walked the stage for Wasson's graduation, establishing a special reputation.

 “Other schools have got a little bit to stand up too,” said the co-chair of the Wasson Alumni Association, Barry Reid.

 It’s up to the Class of 2013, the last class, to continue the Wasson legacy.  It’s something the final graduate, Ali Zangeneh, is proud of.

“I feel like I got lucky being the last person walking that stage as the last person ever to walk or graduate from Wasson,” Zangeneh said.

Emigrating from Iran when he was in middle school, Zangeneh was shy and used to hate his last name.

“I don’t think anybody said my last name right.  So when they messed up my name, I felt weird,” Zangeneh said.

But he says that all changed when he went to Wasson.  He made friends, had help from teachers and finally became comfortable.

“I was so worried because he would never talk to anybody in middle school, but in Wasson he finally came out of his shell,” said Fariba Nategh, Ali’s mother.

“It made me who I am today and I am proud of my school and who I am,” Zangeneh said.

At Wasson, Zangeneh starred on the soccer team and even was a kicker on the football team.  His jerseys hang proudly in his closet, where he says they will always stay.

“Once a T-bird, always a T-bird,” Zangeneh said.

From the first graduate, a girl named Ta Achard, in 1960, to Ali Zangeneh in 2013, the book may be closed on Wasson, but it’s an important chapter for the thousands who call themselves T-Birds.