Sahuaro Alumnus: Neil Katz


Lia Ghirardi, Reporter

What is an alumnus? An alumnus (plural alumni) is someone who attended and graduated from a school. Neil Katz happened to be a student in the first graduating class at Sahuaro in 1970. He was of the first group of students to get to walk the halls of Sahuaro High School.

Mr.Katz attended Sahuaro when it first opened in 1968. Prior to attending Sahuaro, he went to Palo Verde High School. “It was a brand new school with freedom we had never had at Palo Verde,” says Katz when talking about his experience at Sahuaro. He was also very involved at the school. He participated in DECA club, Anytown, and Model United Nations.

Mr.Katz is still involved at Sahuaro. He is a high school basketball referee and will come every so often to ref a game. He also will come to Sahuaro to substitute teach. With the ability to be able to go to campus, Mr. Katz has seen a lot of changes in the school since he attended. “It’s just an old school now with no freedom that we had. Fences where we had no fences.”  Katz also helps plan reunions for graduates. “I help plan all our reunions and am the MC of the reunions. Sahuaro for my junior and senior years was a great experience.” His favorite memory was the 1970 basketball State Championship game.

Life after high school was eventful for Katz. He attended college at the U of A and says that it was a blast. “…it was more of a party school in the 70’s.” He then said that after college was “…normal life of work, marriage, kids, grandkids, and getting old…Life is good”

Mr. Katz is a fun guy with a bubbly up-beat personality. When asked some fun Q and A questions, he had nothing but fantastic answers.

Q: If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would they be?

A: Honest, caring, and nice.

Q: If you were told you were having your last meal, what would it be?

A: My wife’s breaded chicken, sweet potato fries, salad, and DQ ice cream.

Q: What is something you dream of having?

A: World peace and political parties getting along to do the right things for our country.

Q: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are the top 3 things you would want to have with you?

A: TV with cable, a nice recliner, and a shower with hot water.

Q: What is your favorite sport and team from that sport?

A: Basketball and I am a Wildcat for life. Bear Down.

Q: What is a piece of advice you would give to my generation?

A: Take school seriously. Be careful with social media, it can come back to haunt you. Treat people as you want to be treated. Hang with people that make you better.