Sep 1, 2009 10:58 PM by Andy Koen
Two Pueblo high schools are celebrating special anniversaries this week. On September 1, 1959 East High and South High opened their doors for the first time.
During in the 1950's, Pueblo was enjoying the same post war growth spurt that fueled much of America's baby boom era. Census data shows the population in Pueblo County grew by over 28,000 people during the decade. The school district soon realized that the city's only two high schools wouldn't be large enough to hold the growing number of boomers during their teen years.
Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner, a 1969 graduate of East High remembers how crowded the schools were prior to the expansion.
"If you looked at the schools, and not just the high schools but the elementary schools and junior high schools, they were just bursting at their seams."
The schools are identical in design were both named after the area's of town where they were built. School colors were decided with a coin toss; South receiving black and white, and East getting gold and white.
Dwight Hunter, a 1965 graduate and the vice president of the South High alumni association remembers the atmosphere of attending such a new school.
"You walked in the doors and were expected to be an adult, and we weren't,... but it was exciting."
David Robb was a new teacher at South High in 1962, Hunter's freshmen year. "Everything was still very new, very fresh," Robb says.
He remembers the hallways being lined with hanging loud speakers. Despite being a tempting target for He remembers going to an assembly and being told by another teacher to sit with the rest of the student
Sandy Harbert is president of the East High School Alumni Association. During her freshmen year in 1962 the school was the only building in its Belmont neighborhood. The student parking lot was located down a large embankment from the building.
"In those days all the girls had to wear dresses and heels and on snowy days the boys would have to pull us up the grade because there was no side walks or steps yet," Harbert remembers.
East High will celebrate it's golden anniversary with the dedication of the school's new Heritage Hall September 26. Chostner's class is hosting it's 40th reunion in conjunction with the 50th anniversary.
Principal Alan Nelms says there is a noticeable excitement among his staff and students as the celebration draws near.
"I was noticing one of our kids was writing down all our valedictorians and salutatorians, all these little details that are being taken care of now just make to it very special event for us as we celebrate the 50th year."
Hunter says the South Alumni Association is celebrating 50 years with 50 days of giveaways. Students will be selected to receive a high tech gadgets or gifts. The anniversary will also dominate homecoming week as each day will feature a different decade of the schools history.
A formal celebration of the South High School's 50th anniversary will take place in November at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. The school's first principal David Wilkerson, is scheduled to give the key note address.
"We have such great students and faculty to look back on what everybody did before us, the 50 years that got us to this point is really special," said South principal Patrick Krumholz
The Cannon Game, highlighting the annual football rivalry between the two schools, will takes place October 16th.