Reflecting on a century

VVHS celebration a big hit with grads, visitors
Posted on 03/14/2016
VVHS 1962 grad Karen Newman and her brother Jess Newman (a 1962 graduate) check out memorabilia. Jess Newman is wearing his original varsity letterman’s sweater from his days as a Jackrabbits football player.

Hundreds gathered Saturday night to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the area’s first high school.

Victor Valley High School’s “Reflecting on a Century” centennial celebration was a resounding success, as nearly all of the 400 available tickets for the event were sold, organizers said. The crowd filled both gymnasiums at the VVHS campus, with the older gym hosting a slate of speakers while the newer gym housed extensive memorabilia displays from the school’s 100 years of history.

Many of the attendees were alumni, and event co-organizer Rani Walker said the grads told her they were “overwhelmed with how great both gyms looked and how great the memorabilia was.”

Walker joined VVHS Principal Chris Douglass, Assistant Principal Nancy Noyer, graphic arts teacher Rick Garcia and an army of staff members and volunteers in preparing for the event, which featured a slew of speakers from the school’s storied past. Among them were Ollie Butler, former longtime basketball coach and teacher; former teacher and coach Felix Diaz; former athletic director, teacher and coach Joe Vargas; former Victor Valley Union High School District Superintendent Julian Weaver; VVUHSD board member Barbara Dew; comedian and VVHS grad J.T. Turner; and former VVHS teacher George Struebing, who served as Master of Ceremonies.    

Current VVUHSD Superintendent Dr. Ron Williams provided the opening remarks and told the crowd how the history of VVHS “is the history of the Victor Valley itself.”

“Other high schools and districts have incorporated in our region, but the history of secondary education in the Victor Valley starts here at VVHS,” Williams said.

Victor Valley High School started in 1915 as a one-room schoolhouse in a private home and has since grown into the Victor Valley Union High School District, serving 9,600 students — 2,000 of whom attend Victor Valley High today.  

More than 30,000 students have graduated from the school over the past century, many of whom have gone on to become prominent citizens of their communities — including scores of local business owners and other grads who’ve achieved worldwide renown. Among them are John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, The Boston Globe newspaper and Liverpool Football Club; Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life at Princeton University; and former Olympic wrestler and mixed martial arts hall of famer Dan Henderson, just to name a few.

Some three decades before the battle for school integration made headlines, VVHS graduated its first African-American student in 1921.

Today, Victor Valley Union High School District boasts eight campuses in Victorville and neighboring Adelanto, serving students in grades 7-12. The district’s oldest school is still a focal point for the district, which recently approved funding for construction of a new multi-use facility that will serve as the campus’s new entrance at the corner of Mojave Drive and Sixth Street.

The presentation of colors and Pledge of Allegiance at Saturday’s event were led by the VVHS AFROTC and Cadet Corps programs. VVHS counselor and grad Andrea Porter led the singing of the school’s Alma Mater. Food was provided by the VVHS culinary arts program and 3rd Generation Tacos.

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