If Foothill were a night sky, Dana Eaton, Foothill’s long-time campus supervisor, would be the North Star. Since the establishment of Foothill in 2000, and up until his retirement in Dec. 2017, Eaton has been brightening students’ days with his charisma, humor and presence on campus.
On Thursday, Feb. 22, students, teachers and alumni gathered to honor Eaton and his legacy at Foothill. Students and teachers alike have many stories about Eaton and his impact on campus.
Travis Dabbous ‘18 recalled walking up to the crosswalk in front of the campus every morning and how “[Dana] would always be standing there and I would always say ‘morning Dana’ and he would whip me with his lanyard and that’s starting the day off right, with a good laugh.”
These moments with Eaton “can change your mood for the entire day,” Dabbous said. “He had a charisma that you wanted to be around, and I think that is something that I will always remember from him, and that other students will too,” he concluded.
When on campus, Eaton was well-known for making students laugh. Spanish teacher and alumnus, Josiah Guzik ‘07, recollected on how Eaton would say “hi” to students by “walking through the hall and kind of like, jokingly whipping kids with his lanyard all the time.”
From a teacher’s perspective, Guzik said, “I understand how important it is to have people that circulate the campus and connect with students. It was probably a big reason—at least subconsciously—as to why I do that a lot during lunch and break and like to sit and talk with students because it was a big part of my high school career.”
Principal Joe Bova mentioned how “messing around on campus and goofing around with kids,” are some of his favorite memories with Eaton. “We pranked some kids one time: we brought them in and made them think that they were getting expelled or something,” he said.
Eaton’s jokes lifted the spirits of students all across Foothill. “If you couldn’t laugh because you were depressed, or because you have a bad home life, or because you have no friends, Dana was pretty much the guy who could make anybody laugh,” alumnus Zach Casto ‘17 said.
As a 16-year-old going through a tough time with the baseball team and “a combination of things,” Castro was in a dark place. “Out of everybody, Dana was the one who could pick out the one kid in the crowd who is really in a bad place,” Castro said.
Castro explained that “[Dana] helped me ultimately decide what to do about [my problems].”
“He pushed me in the right direction and he was there for me when I was enduring something that was really tough,” he said.
When talking about Eaton’s impact on Foothill, Alumna Morgan Castro ‘15 says that “[Dana] never wanted anybody to feel alone or like there wasn’t anybody who wasn’t there for them or couldn’t protect them. But he definitely brought a unique level of comfort to this campus.”
“He was always the rock, that is for sure,” Morgan Castro said.
For alumna Sobeida Curiel ’12, coming to Foothill was “very hard […] because we were a minority compared to everybody else.”
“We felt like we always had to work hard to be seen. Dana never saw us for our ethnicity or race. He saw us for just doing things,” Curiel said. Dana made Curiel’s transition to Foothill “very easy.”
“I always loved coming to school because I looked forward to seeing Dana and hanging out with him,” Curiel expressed.
Teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey mentioned that her and Eaton “have always been super, super close. I have always had a big brother on campus from day one. We just had fun together, we love each other, we protect each other.” Eaton even baptized her daughter at the beach when she was 6 months old.
Not only does Eaton have the ability to baptize people, but he can also officiate weddings and sing. “[Dana] sang the national anthem at graduation one year because we didn’t have a senior that was capable of doing it,” Lindsey said.
At graduation, Lindsey explained, Eaton would also read the names of students because he knew the kids.
“I mean, what other school does the campus supervisor read the names at graduation? It just doesn’t happen,” Lindsey said.
“He was ‘D-dog’ and came out on his motorcycle,” Bova said.
What made Eaton so special on campus was that “he is out there all the time, outside with them. He has the time to connect with students and really get to know them on an intimate level,” Bova said. On many accounts, his enthusiasm for his job has helped students through tough times.
Alumnus Dwight Beaver ‘08 mentioned how “Dana did a lot for everybody.”
“He was everybody’s dad, big brother, uncle,” he said. “He filled the position that anybody needed him to be.”
In Bova’s opinion, people like Eaton make campuses safe because he makes “students feel safe.”
“They will go to him and tell him stuff that they wouldn’t go and tell somebody else because they trust him. And they also feel safe because they know that he is looking out for them,” Bova said.
Eaton’s legacy will not only linger on the Foothill campus through the new school motto—“The choice is yours”—but also through the many stories that students will hold tight to for the rest of their lives.
Reporting credit: Jill Vallance assisted in the reporting of this article.