Call it The Forni Project — Part II.
Four graduating Casa Grande High School seniors have added an extra touch to the impressive memorial walkway and tribute to the former Casa coach and teacher James Forni.
Forni, one of Casa Grade’s most popular coaches and teachers, lost his fight against cancer in June 2015.
Last year, seven seniors combined to create the impressive tribute to the coach on a patch of barren adobe near the school gym. This year, four of their following graduates — Jeffrey Mondragon, Steve Aguilar, David Luis and Brandon Keefer — have taken the project a step further, adding benches to create what is now truly a Forni Plaza.
The seniors acknowledge that they had much assistance with their project. Certified welders from TC Steel helped the seniors with welding the metal legs for the wooden benches. Wood was donated by Boise Cascade. O’Hana Construction, a strong Casa Grande supporter, helped with the construction.
According to the students, one of the most difficult parts of the project was sanding and staining the benches. That they did themselves.
In addition to doing much of the work, the seniors collected more than $13,500 from fundraising efforts, including a popular volleyball game between the juniors and seniors.
The project developers are longtime friends who originally met in junior high schools. Now they are about to go their separate ways. Aguilar and Luis are headed to Santa Rosa Junior College. Mondragon will attend Sonoma State, and Keefer is bound for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
All agree with Keefer: “It was really cool how the project turned out.”