New Scholarship Fund Honors a Father’s Legacy

The 1918-19 Placer Union High School basketball team. L to R, standing: James Brennan, Merl Wilson, John Saladana, Harvey Slade. L to R, front: Tom Whittemore, Raymond Neves, Al Saladana.

Honoring his father’s legacy with a gift to support what he loved during his treasured years at Placer High School, A. Jerald Saladana established the Al Saladana Scholarship Fund at Placer Community Foundation. This fund will award an annual scholarship to a student who has played on the varsity boys’ basketball team at Placer High School to pursue higher education.

After serving in the United States Army during World War I, Al Saladana returned to his home in Newcastle and completed his years at Placer High School with his brother, John. During the 1918-19 school year Al Saladana played center position on the varsity basketball team. It was around this time the school brought on a new young coach, Earl Crabbe, enabling the basketball teams to achieve great success. Al and his teammates were nearly undefeated with only one loss.

After high school, Al partnered with Frank Dutra, his classmate during grammar school and operated the D & S Cash Grocery in downtown Newcastle. He and his basketball teammate, Tom Whittemore, had a fondness for the arts, and operated the first silent movie theatre at the Community Hall in Newcastle where they would show movies while Al’s wife, Margaret, played the piano.

After Al’s partnership in the grocery store ended, he became a civil servant for the federal government. He used his skills as a life-long manager of the family ranches to work for the Department of Agriculture.

Today Al’s son, Mr. A. Jerald Saladana, is helping to afford local students the opportunity for a rich and full life through education—a gift that honors his father’s deep roots in a community he held dear.

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