1962 - 2018

1962 to 2014

Nineteen Sixties

The 1960's experienced unprecedented growth throughout the school district. During the ten year period from 1956 to 1966, student enrollment, district wide, grew 67% from 5,438 students to 9,065, or 3,627 new students. This necessitated the rapid construction of new elementary and secondary schools throughout the county.[48] A modern Box Elder High School was constructed at 360 South 600 West and opened in the 1961-62 school year. The junior high school remained in the original facilities until 1965 when the new junior high building was constructed on the same site as the original building.

Construction on a new Box Elder High School began on June 1, 1960 on a 22½ acre campus located between Second and Fourth South and between Sixth and Eighth West. A successful bid in the amount of $2,240,000 was awarded which included architect and engineering fees.[49] This sum did not include campus or furnishing costs. Campus construction incurred further expenses to construct bleachers, track, lights on the football field along with the cost of sidewalks, curb and gutter, retaining walls, tennis courts, black top, and lawn seed, fertilizer, and peat moss. The purchase of he new site as well as the projects listed above made a total cost of $2,672,000.[50] In addition to classrooms and various facilities, a beautiful auditorium which accommodated 1,104, and a gymnasium with 2,830 seats made for a spacious, beautiful new facility. The student body had increased to such a size, after the ninth grade arrived in 1963, that a new classroom and a shop addition was added in 1965 at a cost of $793,000,to accommodate the enrollment of approximately 1,600 students.[51]

 

While many school traditions continued after the move, there were changes as well. The Boys’ and Girls’ Leagues became too cumbersome and were discontinued. With them went the circus and the revered school yell, “Yo Triumphe.” Several new organizations had appeared in the 50's and 60's; the girl Rockettes, a precision drill team; the Key Club for boys, a nationally affiliated organization sponsored by the Kiwanis Club; a Future Teachers organization; and the Safety Council. The counseling services were augmented and the number of seminaries increased to three.[52]

In 1968, the Brigham Civic Improvement Club established an award to recognize an outstanding female student, similar to the Tom Hardaway Award. Mona Sue Munns was the recipient of this first award which was entitled the "Civic Improvement Club Award," the following year, 1969, when this award was presented, it was referred to as "Gracious Womanhood." In 1997 the award title was changed to read "Civic Young Woman of the Year."[53]

 

After the transfer of Principal Payne to work in the district office, Carroll C. Nichols became principal of the high school in 1968. He graduated from South Cache High School in Hyrum, Utah, and Utah State Agriculture College and served as principal until 1984. Prior to coming to Box Elder High School, he had served as the principal at the San Bernardino Junior High School in California.[54]

Principal Nichols’ vision was a comprehensive high school where every student would find success in school life, whether in academics or through extra-curricular activities. Wanting all students to succeed, the administration embarked on offering classes to suit all abilities in all areas of education. It was opened up to students to help choose classes they wanted taught. If a petition was received with 20 or more signatures for a new class or club, it was offered and the administration would find a teacher for that subject or an advisor for that club. Examples in classes were Aviation, Heredity, Russian, Italian, etc. Examples of clubs included Indian Culture, Chess, Space, Bowling, and Rodeo.[55]

 

The new school year would always begin with many students and organizations participating in Peach Days. Floats were made in the Agriculture Department and many groups were in the parade. Peach Queens were chosen, usually a B.E.H.S. student being chosen as Queen.[56]

 

Homecoming was a favorite with a King and Queen being chosen and a formal dance held after the game. There was always a wonderful Homecoming assembly. In the evening, the night before the game, a bonfire was sponsored by the Freshmen class with the cheerleaders putting on a pep rally. The Marching Band, Majorettes Rockettes, and Cheerleaders put on a spectacular halftime Show culminating with the Sophomore class lighting the “B” with flares on the mountainside east of Brigham City, In 1976, a Homecoming Dedicatee was also added to the Homecoming festivities. Teacher John Wayman was honored as the first chosen dedicatee.

Nineteen Seventies

An Athletic Director was first appointed in 1972 to keep an expanded sports program due to Title IX from overlapping use of facilities. Women's athletics soon played a major role in the high school athletic programs. As soccer was becoming a popular sport, a soccer field was completed in 1977 and boys and girls teams were organized.[57]

 

The Richardson Memorial Invitational Wrestling Tournament was started in December 1973, to honor Coach Oscar Richardson who tragically drowned in Willard Bay attempting to save his young daughter. It was a sad evening in Brigham City, June 19, 1973, when the community learned of this tragic event. Thirty-seven year old Richardson was a popular teacher, a graduate of Box Elder High School, and successful wrestling coach. He along with his eleven year old daughter, Sherry, both drowned in the Willard Bay North Marina while on a family outing.[58] According to Brigham City resident Blaine Allen, the annual Richardson Memorial Invitational wrestling tournament has been one of the most successful tournaments for wrestlers in neighboring states and in-state competition.[59] The tournament has a reputation as a tough, well-run tournament. Initially 8 teams were involved, but it has grown to 16 varsity and 16 junior varsity teams.

 

During the 1970's, The Naval Junior ROTC program was implemented. It proved to be a popular program for several students. The cadets collected food, clothing, and money on a door-to-door drive for the needy. They also participated in parades, the Golden Spike Ceremony, funerals, camp outs, and field trips to military bases. Because of the unpatriotic atmosphere throughout the country, including the Vietnam War controversy, the program suffered somewhat with public adversity. On October 2, 1977, the ROTC classroom suffered minor fire damaged due to suspected arson. Principal Nichols was instrumental in finding the culprits of this deed.[60] As a result of some financial cutbacks during the early 1980's, the program was discontinued.

Under the leadership of Fontell Messervy and her assistants, the drama department put on huge productions for the community. Some of the outstanding plays at that time were Oklahoma, Wizard of Oz, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, Big Fisherman, and Arsenic and Old Lace. Mrs. Messervy wanted to bring more culture to the community so she and Principal Nichols met with representatives of First Security Bank and asked permission to utilize the top floor of the bank building to put on plays. This request was granted and “Palace Playhouse” became a reality.[61] A stage was built and a small theater established to produce and present these plays for student and public entertainment. Some years later, much to the dismay of the students involved, First Security Bank found it necessary to cancel this arrangement due to possible liability and fire danger.

 

During the 1970's, the various girls athletic programs became more involved in region and state competitions. The girls won their first state championship in 1974, by the girls swim team. This was followed by the state volleyball championship in 1977 and girls basketball team won state in 1981.[62]

Nineteen Eighties

A Media Center addition was completed in 1980 at a cost of $324,324 followed by the Natatorium in 1981 at a cost of $2,081,436.[63] Both facilities added greatly to the educational and physical programs. With its modern, spacious, swimming pool, the boys and girls have been able to become more skilled and competitive in swimming. This new building included a full size gymnasium which provided public facilities for early morning exercise classes as well as being a great asset for the students.

Jay C. Stuart became principal of the high school in 1984 where he served until December 1996, when he accepted the position of Pupil Personnel Director in the school district administration. He graduated from Box Elder High School in 1961 where he was the student body president and was active in athletics. He provided the following information regarding school activities during his years as principal:

  • The State developed a program called “Academic Olympiad” and Box Elder excelled in this state-wide program, winning State in 1984.

  • The“Academic Excellence” program was developed at Box Elder High which rewarded academic improvement for individual students. This program became a success with all students, especially those who needed academic improvement.

  • Bridge building (physics department) in conjunction with Utah State University became very competitive for the students involved.

  • In the 1983-84 school year, the first female Student Body President, Cindy Hyde, was elected.

  • With the help of the Naval Reserves, the ROTC building was refinished and built into a weight training facility that greatly enhanced the athletic program.

  • During the school year of 1986, Box Elder High won its 14th consecutive Region wrestling championship and qualified all 12 varsity wrestlers for the State meet.

  • The football rivalry between Box Elder and Bear River continued into the 80's and the traveling trophy called the “Golden Spike Trophy” was awarded to the winning football team.

  • The 1989 Graduation Services were held outdoors on the Football Field. This was a first and was appreciated by all who attended. It was a beautiful evening and made for a much more comfortable atmosphere than the gymnasium.[64]

Nineteen Nineties

Earl B. Swenson, who taught instrumental music at the junior and senior high schools for 24 years, became the Box Elder High School principal in December 1996. In all he served 40 years in the school system.[65] Over the years, much effort and sometimes hundreds of dollars were spent on decorating for the Junior Prom. Attempts to recoup some of these costs included selling decorations afterwards or selling tickets to spectators.[66] With escalating costs of fears of the school being left paying excessive bills, Principal Swenson initiated a change to holding the dance elsewhere and did away with the "excessive decorating" that had been a hallmark of earlier times.[67]

Two Thousands

After serving as a teacher at Box Elder High School for several years, Darrell Eddington became principal of the high school in 2000 and served until June 30, 2013, when he accepted an administrative position at the school district office.[68]

The first annual yearbook – Volume 1, 1914, was entitled “The Boomerang.” It was numbered consecutively each year until the final Boomerang was published in 2000, Volume 87. Beginning with the 2000-2001 school year, the name of the annual yearbook was changed to “The Buzzer” commencing with a new Volume l. Currently the “Bee” newspaper is not published as a hard copy but is issued on the school’s website.[69]

 

Since the early 2000's, graduations have been held in Logan at the Utah State University Spectrum, or in Ogden at the Weber State University Dee Event Center.

 

The Box Elder High School classroom and auxiliary facilities served the students and community well for approximately 50 years. With the wear and tear on the buildings and to bring the classrooms and other facilities up to standard to serve computer systems, modern technology, and other education needs, a major remodeling and construction program took place at the high school. With the exception of the auditorium, gymnasium, shop facilities, and the natatorium, which were updated and retained, a complete new structure was completed in 2010 at a contracted construction cost of $34,132,884. In addition, new outdoor athletic fields for baseball, softball, and volleyball were provided in the area north of the natatorium.[70] The current football field was named in recognition of Coach Earl Ferguson, head coach of the football, basketball, and boys track teams from 1921 - 1960.

Gary Allen was appointed principal on July 1, 2013. In addition to graduating from Box Elder High School, he spent his career in education serving as a teacher and administrator in various schools throughout the district.

 

As we come to the end of a successful 2014 school year, the students have had another great year. Approximately 380 students graduated, and the commencement exercises were held at the Dee Event Center in Ogden. In athletics, the girls track team took state honors for the first time and the boys soccer team made it to the state semi-finals, another first. The school’s orchestra made it to the state competition for just the third time in school history and the drama team took their region title for an eighth consecutive year and were runners-up at state.[71]