Editor’s note: This is the first in a three part series looking at the 50 years of Meigs High School. While it will not be a comprehensive look at the history of the school (that would take many, many more articles), it will provide a look at some of the highlights, changes and happenings over the 50 year history of the school.
ROCKSPRINGS — Fifty years ago rivals became classmates, and enemies on the field and court became teammates.
On May 9, 1967, the Meigs Local Board of Education formally adopted the colors and name for the school as voted on by the students in a series of ballots.
Maroon and Gold became the school colors and Marauders became the school name/mascot.
At the beginning for the 1967-68 school year students from Middleport, Pomeroy and Rutland high schools officially became Meigs Marauders.
It would take a little longer for the students to be under one roof, but at least they were now Marauders.
Minutes of the May 22, 1967, Meigs Local Board of Education meeting show that the move to combine was not always an easy one and required much discussion.
“The Board moved from the Board of Education room to the auditorium where several residents of the district had met to question the advisability of combining three high schools into one location, beginning with the school year 1967-68,” the minutes stated.
Before hearing comments and questions, Supt. George Hargraves Jr. read a prepared statement read in part,
The chief responsibility of the Superintendent of schools is to provide the best educational program possible for the students of the district with the funds available for this purpose. In seeking to fulfill this responsibility the Superintendent must study every possible means of bringing about such improvements. He must then present his ideas and his findings to the Board of Education for their consideration and ultimate adoption or rejection.
A number of weeks ago the Superintendent presented to the Board of Education an idea for consideration which would have involved the transfer of all students in the district in grades 10, 11 and 12 in the Middleport High School and Middleport Central buildings, the transfer of all students in the district in grades 7, 8 and 9 into the present Pomeroy High School and Pomeroy Junior High buildings, and the closing of Rutland High School. The prime reason for such a proposal was that such an arrangement held promise of a considerable improved educational program for the students involved. More courses could be offered. Teachers could be scheduled into their area of strongest preparation. A program to greatly improve the teaching of composition could be offered. Expensive and wasteful small classes could be joined together in much more adequate and economically sound classes.
All students in the district would have the opportunity for exposure to the best teachers we have to offer in each subject area. Science equipment which is inadequate in all three locations could be concentrated and a much more adequate science program developed. The same would be true in the area of business education. These and many other benefits which would help considerably to improve the educational program would be possible under such an arrangement.
The important psychological advantage of bringing these students together was not overlooked. The sooner old hatreds and sources of misunderstanding are eliminated within the district, the better it will be in every way.
Hargraves noted that here were definite concerns with the delay in the building process at the new Meigs High School facility which would result in a delay of combining the schools.
Much time was lost during the lengthy period of debate over what geographic location would be acceptable to all portions of the district. More time was lost during the period of many weeks when there was further discussion about the possibility of additional consolidation in the county.
And of course the greatest amount of time has been lost in the actual acquisition of the desired land once a decision had been made as to the location. In order to have opened the new high school building in September of 1968, it was necessary for us to have the site selected and purchased in November of 1966. We are at least six months behind this schedule, so it has become quite obvious that this building will not open in September of 1968. Our best hope is that it will be ready for occupancy sometime late in the school year of 1968-69.
Consequently, we are not talking about students spending just one more year in the present high school facilities. It will be closer to two more years. This was another reason for considering means to improve the educational program of the students presently in high school.
Since we look optimistically toward entering the new high school building sometime during the 1968-69 school year, it will be highly advisable for us to shift the students into one central location at the beginning of the 1968-69 school year. The reason for this being that it would be physically and educationally impossible to move students from three different schools with three different schedules of classes for students and teachers into an entirely new physical and educational setting in a new building in the middle of the school year. If we don’t have them scheduled together at the beginning of the 1968-69 school year, then it would be practically impossible to move them into the new high school when it was finished later in that school year.
Earlier in 1967, the Meigs Local Board of Education had meet with Eastern Local Board of Education regarding the possibility of consolidation, something that did not end up happening.
So as Marauders, the students remained in their own schools for the 1967-68 school year, with one football team, one overall principal (assistants at each building) and one mascot. But there were three graduations and three homecoming queens.
It was the spring of 1968 that the Alma Mater was approved for the new Meigs High School. Co-authored by Jim Lohse and Jennifer Lohse (now Sheets), the Alma Mater was one of seven entries presented. With assistance from the high school band, these seven entries were narrowed to three, which were then voted on by the student body. Maroon and Gold, written by Jim Lohse and Jennifer Lohse Sheets, received 70 percent of the total vote and became the official Alma Mater of Meigs High School in May of 1968.
It was the 1968-69 school year when they moved from three separate buildings into one with James Diehl remaining as the principal of Meigs High School principal, a position he would hold for several years. Today, Diehl and his wife have the entry way at the Meigs football field. This was the first time for a single Meigs High School graduation.
The 1969 Marauder yearbook foreword acknowledges the first time being together.
“This being the first yearbook published by students of Meigs High School who have actually been under the same roof for the first time, we have worked hard to make it the best possible yearbook. Years from now when you sit down to glance at the dusty yearbook that has been hidden in your attic corner, we hope that you will be flooded with memories of your high school years. It is our belief that each student will, in his own way, use his education and experience gained at Meigs High School to make the world a little better,” wrote Editor Linda S. Hackett.
It was the 1969-70 school year when the students of Meigs High School moved into the current high school in Rocksprings.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.