The History of Grants Pass High School
By: Ella Hayes
What many current Grants Pass High School students do not realize is that they are living in history. Looking back at the years of Grants Pass High School, from 1885 to current day, it is profound to see the changes that have occured; GPHS went from from a simple wooden building on the corner of 4th and B Street, graduating only four people in 1888, to the sprawling multi-building campus, with over two-thousand students grades nine through twelve. Little pieces of history can be found around campus: the colorful mural of the Spalding Mill over the library windows, the display case of GP gear and caveman figurines at the library desk, the framed painting displaying the first Grants Pass High School building from the late eighteen hundreds, and the cheerleading uniform exhibit in the front halls of the school.
According to Joan Monsen, an author, teacher, and member of the historical society in Grants Pass, in 1888, Grants Pass High School graduated its first class of students--two girls and two boys. At this time, Grants Pass High was only a small wooden building on the corner of 4th and C Street. This was not where the building was originally built, however. It was built in Jerome Prairie and was being used as a community center before it was dismantled, brought to the Rogue Valley, and rebuilt. This was then known as the “Central School”. Parts of this building still stand today in the same location in a house that is still standing.
In 1891, the second Grants Pass High School was built, this time in brick, and it contained all grades in the Rogue Valley. The upstairs was for high school age students only, and was called the “Grants Pass Academy”. Student living far from the school in county districts had to find room and board during the week, as for some it was a long distance into town. Due to other commitments, many students did not receive their diplomas at a normal age; Lincoln Savage, who later became a county judge, did not receive his diploma until he was over twenty five years of age. Many students in this time had former commitments to their homes and farms, so education was not their families’ first priorities. For many years, students received eight grade diplomas, as opposed to twelfth grade diplomas, as it was the highest grade they could achieve.
In 1894, the Grants Pass Academy was renamed to its current name, Grants Pass High School. In 1908, the first Tokathe, the school yearbook, was released, . The Toka (pronounced toh-kay) is named after the Tokay grape, which used to grow in vineyards all around the valley, bringing in great business to Josephine county. The issues of the Toka were released every month and mailed to all subscribers for 75¢ a year, or 10¢ an issue. The yearbook, or more like the monthly newsletter, contained student written poems, stories, jokes, and ads for local businesses. It also included student photos for sports teams, clubs, and other school events. In April of 1910, an article was written in favor of building an “athletic field” for the school, that will benefit both boys, girls, and faculty. In June of 1910, another article was published in the Toka about the construction of a new school building. Ads for a cab service during the winter months appears in the 1911 Toka. The Toka, student written and maintained, became the central source for all school events and important information
Unlike modern day GPHS, where students have the privilege to choose electives custom to each semester, in 1912, students chose one of five courses of study: Latin, German, English, science, and commercial. These difference courses of study contained a set list of classes each student was required to take prior to graduating. For example, the Latin course required four years of Englsih, three years of math, physics, and many history classes. The commercial course contained classes such as spelling, penmanship, bookkeeping, geography, and other similar classes. However, no classes of art, music, or physical education were listed in the courses. There were still athletic teams, choir, and orchestra class offering, though these course offered very little or no credits towards graduation.
All sports teams offered at the high school in the early twentieth century had very few members, and not many places to practice. The “orchestra” was all instruments (string, brass, woodwind, and percussion alike) together in a small band of a dozen or so people. Because GPHS did not have a performing arts center at the time, sometimes music clubs, choir, and glee club had performances at the Grants Pass Opera House, built in 1891. This is where elementary and high school graduation ceremonies were held, as well. By 1916, according to a Toka article, the high school offered many varying activities to students: “Our High School is a standard school, teaching all the standard subjects, and graduation with certain specified subjects permits college entrance. Our organization are many; we have foot-ball, base-ball, basket-ball, track, tennis and debate teams, glee-clubs and quartets, orchestras and bands, and all the minor organizations found in any High School.” By 1916, thirty-two years after the opening of the school, GPHS had grown into a many-organization high school and included many students in extracurricular activities.
This is not all to be known about the history of Grants Pass High, or the town of Grants Pass. The GPHS library hold mounds of information about all the years of Grants Pass; in the back rooms, there is a collection of all yearbooks, Tokas, Scrolls, and more school documents dating back to almost year 1900. Books such as “Grants Pass - The Golden Years” by Percy T. Booth can be checked out from the nonfiction section. Inside contains the earliest photos taken of Grants Pass, and how the town has evolved over the last hundred years. The GPHS Centennial, a scrapbook celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the high school, contains hundreds of photographs, Toka articles, and class lists dating back to the school’s first days. While much has changed about Grants Pass High School, the true Caveman Spirit will always remain timeless.
Storycorps Interview with Rylin Gigstad
By: Anna Lute
Storycorps is an NPR-inspired interview medium which serves the purpose of giving voice to individuals in order to spread empathy, understanding, and culture. In this column, GPHS Scroll students will interview different members of the GPHS community in an effort to show the true face of GP. This month’s feature student is Rylin Gigstad, a Senior at GPHS. Click on Rylin's picture below to listen to his story.
GPHS Club Column: Speech & Debate
By: Milan Geurin
Chances are you’ve heard of the vast amount of clubs here at Grants Pass High School but, for those of you who are interested, it’s a challenge to put yourself out there to learn more information. Through these columns, I hope to educate students further on the variety of clubs to be apart of here at GPHS, and give some clubs the recognition they deserve.
Speech & Debate is a club many take at face-value. It’s an intimidating title, seems like serious stuff, and a majority of it is serious… but don’t lose interest just yet! As someone in Speech & Debate, I can rightfully say I was as intimidated as the next person upon first impressions but, upon only a few meetings, I found that it was a very open, exciting activity. It builds a lot of confidence, too. Not to mention, being able to write or construct a piece based on your own passions is very refreshing. Hoorah for creative liberty!
There are actually a wide arrange of events that you can compete in as a member of the team. If you’re not too into the super-serious events, there are actually more light-hearted, silly events available. Before we begin, let’s clear up some misconceptions that people I’ve talked to had going into this club. When presenting your event, you probably present in front of around 10 people max. Not an entire auditorium of people. Plus, did you really think putting a bunch of teenagers in fancy, formal clothes and having them talk about world issues would deter their shenanigans? Answer: absolutely not. Especially within the humorous and theatrical events. Shenanigans are constant. Speaking of events, there’s so many I couldn’t possibly get into all of them now, but to not-so-subtly appeal to any your possible interests, there’s basically an event for almost any area of expertise.
Always found that you rock at school research projects? Informative speaking is for you. Are you confident and have a passion for theater? There are acting events! Love making people laugh? There are events specifically for making people laugh! Or are you just wanting to feel the satisfaction of crushing your opponent in a debate? You can do that too. From anything to impassioned poetry or rigourous policy debate, you’ll find this club can improve your public-speaking in a variety of ways. If you feel nervous performing or debating in front of people alone, there are actually events you can do with a partner. It’s also great for anyone super into world-issues. Duh. There’s such a large variety of ways to communicate the topic or theme in Speech & Debate. I’ve seen event topics ranging anywhere from people’s individual battles with mental illness to two guys acting out a summary retelling of Beauty and The Beast, which was pretty amusing, to be honest. Also, for everyone looking into some more higher-level colleges, Speech and Debate looks pretty rocking on your college applications and can help polish it up nicely.
Moving on to the specifics of the club. If you find that you’re not ready to fully commit to a competitive team, then GPHS offers Speech classes taught by The Scroll’s very own Advisor, Mrs. Tyrrell. If you have a year experience on the team, or go through the Speech I class, then you can earn college elective credit in the Speech II class. Through this class, you’ll learn some beginner-level events and further develop your public-speaking, speech writing, and debate abilities. Also, watch plenty of either live or recorded examples of what an event looks like to begin with. If you’re wanting to commit to the team, then the meetings are after school every Monday and Wednesday from 3:30-4:30 pm. Meetings take place in room 233 with Mr.Kellogg. You can always talk to Tyrrell of Kellogg prior to any meetings, though, just to ask any questions you may have.
What clubs should I report on next? Let me know!
Getting Around GPHS
By: Anthony Tenace Jr
"Tenace Times" is a column in the school’s Scroll that talks about the funny and random things Anthony Tenace Jr said in class. It brings special attention to crazy, hypthetical ideas that would change the school in many ways--both serious and satirical.
Grants Pass High needs a lane for people who want to go to their classes faster. This lane could be called the express lane and would be for skateboards, scooters, hoverboards and people who run. This would make the kids that are late for classes have a better chance of not being late. If they could ride their skateboards or hoverboard, in the express lane, they could get to class faster. If Administration adds the lane, they could add a class for skateboarding or a skateboarding club. Students also could start making skateboards in the manufacturing class for kids who want to skate, but can’t afford it.
If kids were able to skate around the school or use these modes of transportation to get around, they would be more happy because it would give them freedom. Maddie Zechello, a Junior at Grants Pass High School, said that “Kids in Grants Pass High School Need more freedom.” One of the freedoms could be skateboarding at Grants Pass High. There could be a class or club to teach kids how to skate. This would make a new elective and opportunity to gain new skills to learn and try out. It would also cause people to be less hyper in class and would decrease obesity. A 2010 Gallup poll reported by Elizabeth Mendes shows that “Obese Americans also report less happiness and enjoyment versus those who are normal or overweight.” This demonstrates that, if people were not obese, they would be more happy.
If the students of GPHS had a class to learn how to skate, it could increase involvement in outside school activities. If the school were to make a new club for skateboarding, students could also make skateboards in the manufacturing class. Nathan Cox, A junior at Grants Pass High School said that “A class for skateboarding would be cool and being able to make skateboards in manufacturing would be savage.” This shows that kids at Grants Pass High School want new activities and would like skateboarding. A whopping 24 additional short interviews with people from Grants Pass High that said that a skateboarding class or club would be a good idea.
A GPHS skateboard lane would prevent students from being late to class because it would give the students at GPHS a faster way to get to school. This would give students the ability to wake up later because they could get to school faster. An article by the University of Washington that has researched sleeping for kids states that “teens at two Seattle high schools got more sleep on school nights -- a median increase of 34 minutes of sleep each night -- and showed improved attendance and grades.” This shows that if students wake up later, they will be better in school
The administration at Grants Pass High School should obviously create skateboard lanes in the school. Kids need more sleep and more freedom. Power to the students!
The Band Plays On
By: Liv Akers
Grants Pass is incredibly lucky to have a fantastic music program. From as young as fourth or fifth grade, students are encouraged to pick up an instrument and make magic happen. Many will continue honing this skill through middle school, and hopefully high school, as well. This past fall season, the Grants Pass High School Marching Band and Guard was about 170 strong, and each and every student was fortunate enough to have a great season to remember and reminisce upon for years to come.
The season kicked off with the first smoke-free band camp in years. Band members got to rehearse every day in their own home field, unlike previous years, where they would have to bus up to Ashland every day to escape smoke. This led to a better and more productive band camp than what the members had had for years. “The thing I liked most about this season had to be the practices. I was able to talk and connect more with my section and others,” said Chris Miramontes, sophomore cymbalist in the battery. On a similar note, Kiki Tinkham, a sophomore clarinet player, remarked, “Honestly, [the best part of the season was] the practices. Some were wet and cold, but it was always fun and I felt like I was being productive.”
From the first competition, the season was set up for success. The Pacific Coast Invitational, held in Salem, Oregon and hosted by Sprague High School was the first victory for the band. It was the first time in over four years that Grants Pass had learned the entire show in time for the first competition, due to a successful band camp; in fact, none of last year’s seniors have ever been able to boast such an accomplishment. They took away first place awards for both the preliminary and finals performances, as well as several caption awards. The band went on to have an undefeated season, which means they won first place in prelims and finals for every single competition they attended, including championships.
Last season was the first time in several years Grants Pass had won first place at championships, having been defeated by their main rivals, West Salem, every time. As defending champions, there was a lot of pressure on the band this year to have a flawless performance every time, but in the end, they took first place once again. They won by a margin of merely a tenth of a point, closely followed by West Salem. The week after championships in Eugene, the band embarked on another journey to Auburn, Washington, about an hour outside of Seattle, to compete in a completely different circuit. Grants Pass marched in their Veteran’s Day parade and took second place there, then competed with the fall show and took first place as well as all of the captions. What makes this even more impressive is that this was Washington’s circuit championships, and Grants Pass swooped in and won everything, having seen only one of those bands all season long. “The bands there were really cool. One of them lit up,” recalled junior section leader of the front ensemble, Emma Bernhart.
Since the Washington trip was in an entirely different circuit, there were a lot of things they did differently. For instance, they had a retreat at the end of the competition, where all of the bands came and stood on the field for the awards to be presented. In Oregon, drum majors and guard leaders represent their band, while the other members sit in the stands to watch and cheer during awards. They also had a completely new caption award to hand out that a lot of Grants Pass band members had never seen before: best drum major. “I thought it was surprising when they gave an award to the best drum major out of twenty bands,” said Miramontes. “And how ours rightfully won,” he added afterwards. “I think the drum major award is super neat,” agreed Tinkham. “I like how they recognize all of the classes, including open class, and how they include everyone, not only the band-- but the wait was pretty brutal before going onto the field.”
There was very little media coverage of this season in local news and such, so hopefully Scroll readers have a little more insight into how the fall season went for their school’s marching band. The band is incredibly proud of their accomplishments this year, and hope for an equally successful season next time around. In the meantime, we at the Scroll wish the band well during their off-season, and good luck in the future.