Cascade High School celebrates its 50th anniversary

EVERETT — Orphans to champs. It’s been 50 years, but members of Cascade High School’s first graduating class have no trouble remembering what that means.

“We beat Everett High 20-0 on Thanksgving Day 1962. That was the big game,” said Janice Barrett, whose father A.B. “Bert” Colburn was Cascade’s first principal.

Barrett — she was Janice Colburn in high school — was in Cascade’s Class of 1963, the first to graduate from the south Everett school. Her principal dad became known as “the father of Cascade.” He died in 1990.

Members of Barrett’s class were known as “orphans.” They spent sophomore year, 1960-‘61, at Evergreen Junior High because construction of the new high school wasn’t finished on schedule, Barrett said. Their first year at the new high school was 1961-62.

And that 1962 football game? The Cascade Bruins clinched the city and league championships, but it was so much more than sport. It represented a sea change not only for Everett High’s Seagulls, but for the city and wider community.

Everett was a one-high-school town for decades. In 2010, Everett High School celebrated a century in its main building on Colby Avenue, and its history is older than that.

With Everett High’s legacy stretching back to the late 1800s, the opening of a second high school “was a real traumatic thing for this community,” said Larry O’Donnell, a local historian and retired Everett School District administrator.

Or as Barrett said: “It was really exciting for the majority of us, but some of my classmates dreamed forever of going to Everett High School. They were a little upset.”

Until Cascade opened to juniors in the fall of 1961, students came from well beyond the city limits to attend Everett High. The Mukilteo district’s Mariner High School was built in Everett in 1970; Kamiak opened in 1993. Henry M. Jackson High School in the Everett district wasn’t built until 1994.

“Everett High had a deep, rich history. Life really stopped at 41st Street,” said Steve Bertrand, a Cascade High School teacher and track coach who has compiled a booklet, “Do You Know Your Cascade History?”

Bertrand is among organizers of a free public celebration of Cascade High’s 50th anniversary, “School of Pride,” scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in the school’s Reg Scodeller Gymnasium. Retired Cascade teacher Mike Therrell and Charlie Cobb, a longtime coach at the school, will host the program. It includes decade-by-decade oral histories, a presentation on Cascade’s beginnings by O’Donnell, a film, a “Life in Bruinville” comedy sketch, campus tours, displays and refreshments.

Mike Malecki, another member of Cascade’s Class of ‘63, taught at the school for 25 years, and coached football and baseball. He recalls learning Everett High’s fight song at Everett’s Lowell Elementary School, before it was known that he would attend a new school.

In those early days, he said, Cascade teachers and students worked to create new traditions. In sports, he said, “we paid our dues.”

O’Donnell worked at Cascade from 1965 to 1969. Population growth drove a school building boom, he said. Between 1947 and 1957, seven elementary schools were built in the Everett district, three of them replacement schools. Evergreen Junior High, a feeder school for Cascade, opened in 1958, O’Donnell said.

Cascade’s early years coincided with the post-World War II baby boom, the mid-1960s arrival of the Boeing Co., and an explosion of suburban and retail building south of the city. In Everett High’s early days, the city’s southern boundary was 35th Street, O’Donnell said.

He recalled Colburn attending meetings where Everett High was referred to as “the high school” and Cascade was called “the other school.” Barrett said that The Everett Herald used the same phrasing.

“Bert would come back incensed,” said O’Donnell, who credits Cascade athletic director Jim Ennis and other staff with establishing a new legacy. “I really give credit to that early Cascade staff. They worked so hard to help the school get its identity. Bert Colburn pushed for Cascade to be the ‘School of Pride.’”

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, who will speak at Saturday’s event, graduated from Cascade in 1965, with the third graduating class. He grew up in the Pinehurst neighborhood and attended Roosevelt Elementary School, now home of New Life Church.

Stephanson played football at Cascade for Coach Robert “Pinky” Erickson. “That period of time, it was an incredible opportunity to be together as student athletes,” he said. Stephanson remembers that 1962 “Turkey Bowl,” a muddy game that ended in Everett High’s defeat. “I was only a sophomore, and sat on the bench. I thought being in a new school was just awesome,” Stephanson said.

Barrett is organizing Cascade’s 50th reunion, planned for Sept. 6-8 at Tulalip Resort Casino. A retired teacher, this Cascade trailblazer spent most of her career at Everett High.

“It was really hard for me to become a Seagull,” she said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

Cascade High’s 50th anniversary Saturday

Cascade High School’s 50th anniversary ceremony, “School of Pride,” will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the school’s Reg Scodeller Gymnasium, 801 E. Casino Road, Everett. The free event includes decade-by-decade memories, a film, a talk on Cascade’s beginnings, campus tours, exhibits, and refreshments. Public welcome.

Cascade trivia

First graduates: 264 students in Cascade’s class of 1963

First senior ball: “Moonlight &Roses,” May 11, 1963, in Cascade cafeteria

First big football win: The Cascade Bruins beat the Everett Seagulls 20-0 in 1962 Thanksgiving “Turkey Bowl”

“Orphan” Bruins: Members of Cascade Class of 1963 dubbed “orphans” during ninth grade at Evergreen Junior High

City leader: Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson is a 1965 Cascade grad.

Star alumnus: Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing on TV’s “Dallas”) is a 1967 Cascade grad.

Star athlete: Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore is a 2000 Cascade grad.

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