March 16, 2023 – The newest of elementary schools for CUSD that will be located on Fowler and McKinley Avenues will be named after a Clovis Unified legend in Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama.
Hirayama was a long time Clovis Unified teacher and administrator after his career in Major League Baseball, and the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan, in addition to being drafted by the U.S. Army and serving in the Korean War.
“Fibber” was named Nisei Player of the Year in 1951 while playing for Fresno State and was the eleventh player to have his number, #3, retired by the Fresno State Baseball program.
Hirayama was interned during WWII at the Poston War Relocation Center after the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. That order would intern over 127,000 Japanese-Americans during the war. Hirayama’s internment came to be a testament of his perseverance and fortitude according to board member Dr. Stephen Fogg.
“This young man who has everything against him, went through great learning loss, yet somehow he rose above it.”
Fogg explained that Hirayama is the type of person he believes should be exemplified throughout Clovis Unified.
“He got drafted back into the Army to serve for three years in Korea after being a professional, again trying to stop him from progressing. But his persistence-that’s what I like about this man.”
The school to be named after “Fibber” also had a site engineering plan approved at the school board meeting. This engineering plan, conducted by QK engineering, will be a design with plans to build CUSD’s own water and septic site on location. These plan will be enforced if CUSD cannot connect to water and sewage leading from either the City of Clovis or the City of Fresno.
The school plans to open in 2025. The name “Fibber” came from his father’s inability to pronounce Hirayama’s birth month of February, and stuck as a nickname for the Exeter native. In addition to his other accomplishments, Hirayama taught at Clovis High School and was the first principal of Gateway High School. He retired in 1991 and passed away at the age of 91 in September of 2021.
Board member Clint Olivier, and strong advocate for the naming of the new elementary school after Hirayama stated, “It would be an outstanding legacy for our Valley to acknowledge this person’s contributions to our district and to our Valley in athletics and academics.”
According to CUSD, the naming of the school after Hirayama also celebrates the role the Japanese community has played in the Central Valley. The board voted unanimously to name the school after Hirayama.
More information can be learned about Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama through this link on CUSD’s Hall of fame archives.