Gym & History


There are many that believe that no one individual has had a greater impact on El Dorado Athletics than Joe Raya... 


Joe Raya came to our school when it opened in 1966 as the Hawks' cage man, or "zoo keeper" as he called himself. For the next 10 years, Joe took care of the equipment for all boys' sports; washing, mending and repairing uniforms. He helped maintain swimming pools and athletic fields, and he also served as the athletic trainer for all of the teams. As if this were not enough, Joe would often be found as the assistant on the bench during various games, "working" the officials, and gaining an edge for the Hawks! Joe moved up to the position of Head Custodian in 1975. As such, he faithfully and heartily served the staff and students at El Dorado with dedication and caring. Joe continued to serve the athletic program also, by maintaining the gym, timing games and events, taping athletes, assisting coaches and so on. He always has been the team player. 

Born and raised in Placentia, Joe proved to be an outstanding high school athlete in his own right at Valencia High School - class of 1949. He was a four sport letterman and earned league and CIF honors in football, basketball, baseball and track. Joe went to Mt. SAC before being drafted into the Army and serving in Korea. When he returned home to Placentia in 1953, he married his high school sweetheart, Millie and they were blessed with seven children - Liane, James, Patick, Paul Gary, Jennifer and Matthew.  Family is an important part of Joe's life, as his own mom and dad are his heroes. 

Joe has many special El Dorado memories which include the back-to-back CIF basketball championships in 1974 and 1975, Janet Evans and John Mykkanen's Olympic medal races, and the unveiling of the JOE RAYA GYM! Although he officially retired from El Dorado in 1996, he will never "retire" from being the quintessential Golden Hawk.

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