Traveling through time at State High

Traveling+through+time+at+State+High

Becca Stroschein, Social Media Editor, Business Manager

It all started in 1901 when the fifth teacher was elected to teach for State College Area High School, marking the start of high school for the State College area. Only 17 students were enrolled that year, compared to our average of 570 enrolled now.

The first teacher made a salary of $800 for the eight months. According to the National Education Association, teachers made on average $49,901 in 2012-2013.

When having high school classes in one small room got to be too much, they officially opened the high school on Fraser street in 1914.

Although we now have 18 athletic teams at our school, most offered to both genders, in the beginning there were only two sports, basketball and football, only offered to males. During  football games, State High’s team would play against Penn State’s freshman football team.

What we know as Memorial Field, used to be called “The Hollow” and was renamed Memorial field in dedication to the State High Graduates who had lost their lives in World War I and II. Since then, turf has been added to Memorial field, and the State High football program has grown tremendously. Current State High football coach, Matt Lintal, said,I think my greatest memories of State College Football will always revolve around the people and the relationships that are made through competition and teamwork.  I had the opportunity to play with 3 kids who made it to the NFL (Larry Johnson, Tony Johnson, and David Kimball).  Watching them on the high school football field was amazing every week.  Our football tradition has continued and we have two more players currently in the NFL (Jordan Norwood and Nate Stupar).”

There was a growth of Penn State’s student body during World War 2 that caused more enrollment for the high school. Because of this, there was a substantial need for a new high school. In 1957, the new high school was built on Westerly Parkway and was used for grades 10, 11 and 12. There was only one school building, what now stands as the South Building.

In the 1960’s, during the Vietnam war a plan of action was needed for students and staff for their safety. It was then decided that students would be sent home, since the building was not equipped with fallout shelters.

Although we have a wide variety of computers, and other technology currently available to us now, that wasn’t always so. It was considered a big leap of progress when the high school added one IBM 1130 mainframe computer in 1964. The technology surrounding us today hadn’t always been there. “It was rare to have electronic devices because they were large and usually if found  were in labs and had limited uses. They were slow and had few applications, [some] even had no internet connectivity,” said Heasley, “Today every person in the school has a personal device, uses it constantly and has many applications and tasks on-going most of their time during a school day.” In 1999, SCASD adopted a program of 75 “technology competencies” which the teachers thought students should master in order to be “technologically competent” It was at this point that using computers had become more regular for State High.

 

The arts have always been something continuously growing and evolving at State High. “We are definitely seeing the effects of quality art and design education in our graduates who enter visual fields.  Three years ago we had a huge show and film festival with 30 years of State High graduates who are working in creative industry now,” said Art Department head Danielle Crowe. “We have some really impressive alumni out there building wave-making careers, but I’m even more excited about the more recent graduates.  I can feel some big things coming from the past ten or so years of graduates.”

From these arts we have developed great memories to share for years to come. “Years ago we used to host an event called Empty Bowls where 1,000 people would come to state high [sic] for a simple soup dinner and they could keep their handmade bowl as a souvenir. Well in order to get these 1,000 hand made [sic] bowls, we used to have an annual event called the All-Night-Throw-A-Thon,” said Crowe “Anytime you stay awake for too long with any group of people, the mild insanity tends to help the group bond.  Between small naps in the supply closet of my classroom, I think those weekend long events really helped me bond with the students and teachers at this place and now it’s hard for me to imagine myself anywhere else.”

Bytheway is another one of the teachers who has experienced the metamorphosis State High has gone through. Aside from the obvious physical changes, “The atmosphere is much more relaxed than when I started working here,” said Bytheway, “It used to be that kids were not allowed in classroom hallways before 8:00 in the morning. When I first started teaching, a teacher who didn’t know me stopped me in the hallway, telling me I couldn’t be in the hallway before 8 o’clock.”

Through the changes, came lots of memories for Bytheway, “We used to have a few teachers that were into having productions. Mr. Nixon, used to organize assemblies where students and teachers would perform goofy skits,” said Bytheway, “There was a principal who used to play accordion and sing.”

Overall though, one of her favorite memories is the Lip Dub for 2011, “The lip dub was one of the best things that ever happened . That probably, in my whole career, was the single most spirit filled event in terms of getting the most kids involved as possible.”

 

A common remembrance of teachers and students is the old oak tree that sat where the the pool is located today. “It was central to most of what we did, where we were picked up as students, and was extremely symbolic of the old State High before the renovations in the late 1980’s,” said teacher Paul Heasley. When it came to being cut down to build the pool, students weren’t happy. “The students had a sit in around the oak tree,” said Bytheway.

Heasley though has hope for the future, “One hope of mine is to re-establish a ‘tree’ that could convey a central theme for students. I feel we could plant a ‘Witness Tree’ on the new high school site that could provide the common bond that helps us with the changes yet to come.”

 

Through his experience as a CTC teacher, Heasley has seen that program develop and blossom. “Since the early 1990’s we established Career and Technical Programs, CTC Programs, in our school and now have 11 programs that have been approved by the Pennsylvania State Department of Education,” said Heasley. “There are over 1900 students engaged in one or more courses in these programs to help them integrate academic and technical skills into their career and post-secondary planning.” Before the CTC program was around, students went to Vo-Tech which was a high school that was designed to teach vocational and technical skills to its students. Since then, we have come along way with providing students the opportunity to learn skills they would like to pursue in the future.

Although for seniors, their experience at State High is coming to a, for many it is just beginning. Through the years, changes both big and small have shaped our school into the foundation it is now. “The changes are just changes, a different way of doing things in an organization and community. Traditions we had many years ago were based upon the values, attitudes and technology of that time or era. What we do now at State high are based upon the same parameters,” said Heasley.

For the future, Heasley hopes students develop bonds between each other. “Imagine when the current classes of today return for their 5th year reunion, little will be the same physically (facilities) for them, so my hope is that they develop their social bonds – as each class has in the past that has kept the ‘State High’ pride and traditions alive and evolving with our community.”

The past 115 years has provided growth and new beginnings for the classes of State High. Although students have parted ways, and the current building is parting ways, we all carry some little lion pride. As Meredith Grey has said, “The carousel never stops turning.”

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