Clackamas High School Alumni

Clackamas, Oregon (OR)

Alumni Stories

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Thomas Rich

Class of 1957

When the Soviet Sputnik went up on Oct. 4, 1957, hundreds of amateur telescopes across America in the hands of school students were a part of Operation Moonwatch. The students were viewing meteors and comets during the International Geophysical Year (July 1957-December 1958). These student amateurs participated alongside "tens of thousands of professional scientists from sixty-seven nations staffing hundreds of stations around the globe."

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Tom Rich, of Alamogordo, NM participated in Moonwatch while at Clackamas High School, Oregon. He said each scope covered a 15-degree area of the sky, and that they had enough viewing instruments to watch the entire night sky.

"When Sputnik went by," Rich said, "whoever had it in their telescopes knew the stars there and drew it on their map. At dusk, we saw it going over the far horizon. We did catch it at four consecutive revolutions around the Earth."

As the satellite moved between known stars, Rich said a stopwatch helped them calculate the satellite's speed. He and his fellow amateurs, from schools throughout the area, persevered in the "chilly nights" of northern Oregon in October. Their work earned them national attention: Life magazine published their pictures. They were recognized on Russian radio and were awarded a
free trip to a space symposium in San Francisco.

See the documentation for this information at

Military Alumni

Military High School Alumni

Honoring Our Heroes

This area is dedicated to our alumni that have served or are serving in our armed forces!

Lost Class Rings

Have you lost your Clackamas High School class ring? Have you found someone's class ring? Visit our Cavaliers lost class ring page to search for your class ring or post information about a found ring.

Do you have a fun holiday story or a great family tradition? Share them with our fellow Clackamas High School alumni! Submit your own stories, achievements and photos in our Alumni Stories section. Read other classmate’s stories and see what they have been up to over the years.

Happy Holidays!