Cascade High School celebrates 50 years

Bill Hartmann, class of ‘64, stood outside Cascade High School’s gymnasium Saturday afternoon scanning the crowd, looking for familiar faces.

Hartmann, who had a Boston Red Sox pin in his lapel, had traveled from that East Coast city to be with other high school alumni at Cascade’s 50th anniversary celebration.

“I figure there’s not many more chances of seeing people I grew up with,” Hartmann said.

One of those Hartmann was hoping to see was Doug Kimball, the school’s former student body president.

About 10 minutes later, Kimball walked up, greeting Hartmann with a friendly hug.

Hartmann and Kimball said they helped build the school’s first bruin mascot, made of concrete.

“The best part was staying overnight to make sure Everett didn’t mess it up,” Hartmann said, referring to the pranks students from the cross-town Everett High School sometimes play on the school’s iconic symbol.

Inside, 50th anniversary T-shirts and water bottles, and a school history book were on sale. Nearby, were three members of the class of ‘64: Faye Koty, of Lake Stevens, Judi Smith of Whidbey Island and Jeannie Olson of Burlington.

Smith said the 411-member graduating class was unusually close. Koty said part of the reason she came to Saturday’s celebration was to see how the school had changed.

The dress code when they were in school was pants were not allowed. If it was cold, pants could be worn to school, but then girls had to change out of them. Dresses had to be below the knees.

Smith said that when the school opened in 1961, there weren’t any sidewalks. Their class helped raised money to have them installed.

About 400 people crowded into the gym for ceremonies. Among the former staff crowding the bleachers was Marge Shively, 96, who taught home economics and typing and Ruth M. Scougale, who taught English, French and Latin for 16 years following the school’s opening.

Next to Scougale was Robin Lund, class of ‘63, who said Scougale’s attention and efforts “were the only reason I graduated.”

Speakers reminisced about the time they spent at the school and the historic events surrounding the school’s opening, including the development of the oral polio vaccine, the Kennedy assassination and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Superintendent Gary Cohn said that 21,000 students have graduated from Cascade since it opened in September 1961 with its slogan: School of Pride. Its first graduating class was in 1963.

Everett school board member, Pam LeSesne, whose son and daughter graduated from Cascade, said that 50 years ago she had just completed second grade and was about to enter the third grade.

Holding up her new smart phone, LeSesne said there was more computing power in it that the computers she used when she attended the University of Washington in the 1970s.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, a member of Cascade’s class of ‘65, said he made lots of lifelong friends at the school.

It’s the school from which his brother, sister, daughter and nieces graduated, as well as his wife, Vicki, a class of ‘67, graduate, to whom he has been married 44 years.

Historian Larry O’Donnell said the opening of Cascade brought to an end nearly 70 years of Everett being a one high school town.

Cascade campus, with seven buildings, was constructed for $3 million and at a cost $16 a square foot.

Not all the talk was reflection on the past. Kristie Dutton, executive director of the Everett Public Schools Foundation, announced a new legacy scholarship fund is being established with a goal of raising $1 million, enough to provide $50,000 in scholarships each year for Cascade graduates.

Plans also call for similar scholarship programs to be established at the district’s other three high schools.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

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