Members of the Big Bear community gathered in Long Beach this past weekend, to celebrate the life of Bear Valley Unified’s first principal, Tom Sanchez, who passed away on July 24. Tom Sanchez and wife Jean were both teachers in Big Bear and, in fact, Tom began teaching at Big Bear High School when it was still part of the Victor Valley Union High School District. Sanchez taught science, math and band, while also coaching baseball, at BBHS from 1950 through 1958. When BVUSD was first established in 1958, he was named principal; from 1964 to 1978, he assumed an administrative role with the district, ultimately serving as Assistant Superintendent during his 28 years in Big Bear education. Science facilities at the new Big Bear High School, which opened on Maple Lane in 1985, were dedicated to Sanchez whose four children, Tommy, Diane, Craig and Sandie, all graduated from BBHS.