Alice Shaw's life in Orcutt - as told by Linda Bonetto, Alice Shaw's daughter
She came to Santa Maria in the early 1930's to work at the old County Hospital as a nurse. She worked there until 1943.
Mom married my dad in 1938. They bought property in Orcutt in 1939 and then bought a warehouse and tin shop form Union Oil and moved them down onto the property from Orcutt Hill. My dad built a wonderful three bedroom and three bath home for us and used the old tin shop as the garage. They paid $300 for the property and $30 for the warehouse and $15 for the tin garage.
During the 1950's, my mother was very active in PTA. She became president of the Orcutt School District PTA from 1953-1954 and later was vice president of the district and president of the Santa Maria Valley PTA Council.
Mom went back to work in 1962 to become the first school nurse for the new Ernest Righetti High School. She retired from there in 1976. During her years there, she directed a Future Nurses Club.
She was a member of the Santa Maria Mental Health Association for more than 20 years.
Mom also served on the advisory board for the homemaker program of the Visiting Nurse Service of Northern Santa Barbara County.
She was also very active in Hospice and was president of the Child Protection Council in Santa Maria. Mental health was important to her and Hancock's Lifelong Learning Institute was an important project for her as well as the Oasis Center. Her motto was "Stay Involved." People and their needs were her passion - from children to the elderly.
With all that she did, her own family and friends were never neglected. Many times, I can remember her being called in the middle of the night because someone was sick or dying. She was always there to hold their hand and give them medical advice. She never missed any of my brother's swim meets or my dance recitals. She was a great mom and a great friend.
(Composed in September of 2004)
Alice M. Shaw, Orcutt School Named for Her - from the Santa Maria Times (article written shortly after she passed away in 1987)
Alice M. Shaw dedicated her services to the Santa Maria Valley earned her numerous honors - including an Orcutt elementary school that bears her name.
Mrs. Shaw had lived in the Santa Maria Valley for more than 50 years and in Santa Barbara County for more than 75 years.
She was the first school nurse at Righetti High School in Orcutt, and held the same post at Santa Maria High School for more than a decade until her retirement in 1976.
She was a founder and a past president of the Child Protection Council and of Hancock College's Lifelong Learning Institute. In 1986, she was one of five women from throughout the county honored by the Board of Supervisors during National Women's History Week.
Mrs. Shaw was a project chairman for the Santa Maria Mental health Association for 10 years and was a director and member of the group for more than 20 years. She also was instrumental in developing the Orcutt Senior Citizen Center, which will be dedicated Sunday.
She had been president of the tricounties PTA and was active with Hospice of Santa Maria. Alice Shaw School at Hillview Road and Dahlia Place in Orcutt was named in her honor.
She and her family moved in 1911 to Santa Barbara, where she graduated from Santa Barbara High School. She became a registered nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara in 1928.
She moved to Santa Maria in the 1930's and was a nurse at the county hospital until 1943. She was school nurse at Righetti High School from 1961 to 1963 and then was school nurse at Santa Maria High School for 13 years until she retired.
She was married to Charles R. Shaw of Orcutt. Charles R. Shaw is her son and Linda Bonetto is her daughter. There are six grandchildren.
The following is a press release dated March 25, 1987, shortly after she passed away:
Bill Cirone (Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools)
"I always considered Alice Shaw a giant in education and her contributions in this county ar too numerous to try to list. She was a real inspiration for me, and basically, everyone with whom she came in contact. Her support for my campaign in 1982 was a real source of pride. I still remember the great feeling, like it was yesterday, when we went to the radio station and she recorded commercials for me. Her caring for people and things - just her energy - was s source of encouragement."
Ernest Righetti (Former Board President. Santa Maria High School District)
Note: Mr. Righetti was president of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Maria Union High School District when Alice Shaw was hired as the first school nurse when the school opened in September of 1962. Although the facility was not completed until the spring, the new school operated on double sessions with Santa Maria High School on the same campus with Alice Shaw as nurse. Mr. Righetti states: "I was always very fond of Alice. She was very efficient and did a real good job. Whatever she undertook, the project was successful, because she was behind it. Alice always supported me fully on school matters while I served as trustee for both Orcutt Elementary and the high school district."
Larry Ruttan (Superintendent Santa Maria Union High School District"
"Santa Maria has lost a great lady. I did not know Mrs. Shaw very well, but her reputation in the high school district tremendously impressed me when I became superintendent. Her community involvement in these years since continued what I understand was a life-time of service to others."
Jack Garvin (Superintendent, Orcutt Union School District)
"Alice dedicated herself to community service. The Oasis Senior Center was one of many in a series of dreams that Alice saw through to completion. This weekend, the Orcutt Area Seniors in Service (OASIS) will dedicate its senior facility. Alice Shaw was project director and a prime fundraiser for OASIS. She will always serve as an inspiration to me for her personal vitality and driving energy. We have lost a very special person that can never really be replaced. On October 29, 1986, Alice was honored on her 80th birthday by students, civic representatives, and neighbors at special ceremonies held at her namesake, Alice Shaw School in Orcutt. On her birthday, she gave this advice to the 440 students at ‘her school," "Stay involved." She really did, and set an example for all of us."
Clark Miller (Assistant Superintendent of Personnel, Santa Maria High School District)
Note: Mr. Miller was the first principal for Righetti High School, which opened in 1962, when Alice Shaw was the first school nurse. He states: "The contributions Alice has made to the community, students, parents, faculty members and administrators defies description because a major portion of the contributions relates to feelings. How little did I realize how prophetic my words were in my letter to her upon her retirement, ‘You will continue to make major contributions in whatever manner you choose to spend your energies.' Alice lives in the minds and hearts of those who knew her."
Dean Reece (Past Principal of Santa Maria High School; however, he was principal of Righetti High School when Alice Shaw retired)
"Always first in her mind was the welfare of the kids, thinking about others rather than herself. She saw a problem and found a solution; she just didn't talk about it. She always wanted to do something else rather than just being satisfied with the status quo. She was willing to spend time outside of her eight-hour day in order to help people in the community as was demonstrated by the thousands of hours she gave. When nobody in any other district thought of implementing a program for pregnant minors, Alice was instrumental in developing the high school district's Minor Parent Program."
Alice Shaw was employed as first school nurse for the new school, Ernest Righetti High School, in the 1962/63 school year. She retired 6/13/76.
Alice was involved in numerous activities including, but not limited to: Mental Health, Life Long Learning, Child Protective Services.