Class of 69’ to celebrate 50th reunion
The Highland School District has always prided itself on a tradition of excellence, but as with many things, traditions must come from somewhere.
On Sept. 14, the graduates of the 1968-1969 class of Highland High School will hold their 50th class reunion at Loberg Park in Hardy.
So just exactly what traditions for the Highland School District may be attributed to those Highland Rebels soon to meet? Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the then Rebel Rouser school newspaper staff who worked day after day to document the happenings of the time, one doesn't have to guess.
The bi-monthly publication was student run and created by the following: co-editors, Debi Wilson and Liz Davis; business manager, Debbie Lute; art editor, Floyd Casey; sports editor, Johnny Goodwin and Debbie Sellers; gossip editor, Pam Spurlock; Roving Reporter, Lonna Dunn and Lynda Mahaffey; Club class reporter, Marilyn James; fashion editor, Margie Anderson; song dedication, Carol Rollings; feature editor, Sharon Taylor and last but not least, each issue was typed by the office practice class. Each issue sold for 10 cents at the time.
The Highland Rebels were one step closer to having a football team in September of 1968 after acquiring uniforms and other needed equipment, however; no team is complete without a field to play on and thanks to John Cooper, a Cherokee Village Developer at the time, the field soon became a reality.
Weeks prior to the first game, school spirit was at an all time high, so much so, the cheerleading squad got the idea to hold a pep rally of sorts. The squad consisted of Marilyn Copus, Louann Carpenter, Liz Davis, Myra DePriest, Joy Tanner, Debi Wilson, Debbie Sanders, Linda Armstrong and Ann Peebles and they ran a pass the touch marathon of sorts.
Beginning at the Old Hardy Gym, the cheerleaders left running with a football and were followed by a parade of supporters, about 250 following behind in their vehicles. Taking turns along the way, each cheerleader too turns running the ball in relays. As they approached the school, Cheer Captain, Marilyn Copus snatched a torch and ran to the field to light the celebratory bonfire. At that time from grades seven to twelve, 369 students were enrolled in Highland.
More than 100 supporters of the team traveled over 60 miles to attend the first Highland Rebels football game. The first games was played at Clinton against the Mountain Home Bombers the 16th of that month with 34 players on the team. Although they lost 7 to 27, it did not discourage the newly formed team.
In a different time, with a different mindset, “There is one thing we should remember at games,. We can not all win, so we should try to accept defeat gracefully. If our team plays a hard and fair game we know who deserves to win why can we not, after we have lost a game, just be glad we were in competition and be proud our team tried. Honesty, fair play, cooperation, spirit, respect for rules and authority should be exercised buy the winning and losing team. Opponents, this is called sportsmanship. This also includes keeping a stout hearting defeat. We all keep this in mind when we have to meet defeat. We should accept it gracefully, but give it all we have got in Rebel spirit. Whether we are winning or losing,” an encouraging excerpt from the Sept. 13, 1968 edition said.
As is the case today, the Highland Rebels band and football teams are often seen on any given Friday night during the season.
Although football is a long standing tradition for Highland, other sports such as basketball were also celebrated. The band at the time received new uniforms just in time for the start of basketball season. These diverse pieces of clothing could be worn for most any occasion, described as versatile, the uniforms were a breath of fresh air and welcomed by the band, another aspect of Highland's tradition of excellence.
Athletic talent and skill were not the only aspects growing at the time for Highland, but the expansion of education and creating opportunities for students was also growing.
Trigonometry, advanced typing and expansions in biology lessons to name a few.
With a wide variety of clubs from the the Future Homemakers of America to the Teen Club, there was no shortage of ways to get involved and show some school spirit.
On Oct. 11, the Highland Rebels Football team was finally able to play their first game on home soil for the season.
Although the field was prepared, those who attended brought blankets or towels to rest on as there were no bleachers at that point. The team's first home game was against Manilla.
In this same week, the Alma Mater was approved and put into action. The list of contributions by the students, faculty and staff are many.
It is safe to say the class of 1968-1969 helped pave the way for the Highland traditions we know and love today.
No single story could possibly document all of the accomplishments which have taken place as the graduates left Highland and moved on to make the world a better place.