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SMITHFIELD, Utah (AP) — In celebrating Sky View High School's first graduating class, an enduring image of its 50-year history was on full display, as current students performed the school's fight song for the Class of 1965.
The school's most senior seniors laughed, hugged, told stories and dined together — but not before taking time to wander around the place; some were familiar with Sky View's current facility, having worked there, while others noted they had a hard time finding their former lockers.
"I bleed Sky View Blue," Jan Hall, a classmate of 1965, who was a teacher/coach and athletic director at Sky View for 35 years before retiring in 2013, told The Herald Journal. "The older you get, the better the (high school) stories get! Your memory tends to get better."
Marcia Meyer Johnson, a cheerleader for Sky View in 1964-65, joked she was one who had trouble finding her old locker last night — although the gym and the auditorium haven't changed much.
"It's hard to believe it's been 50 years because we still feel like one of those kids," said Johnson, who lives in Salt Lake City now. "I would tell (the Class of 2016) take time to appreciate the great education you'll get and the wonderful school Sky View is."
Janice Barson, chairwoman of the Class of 1965 reunion committee, said the merger of North Cache and South Cache high schools more than 50 years ago allowed the Class of 1965 to "take ownership in making (Sky View) work" — deciding the school's name, its mascot, the school colors, the yearbook and the fight song.
"Up until that time, North Cache and South Cache had been rivals," said Barson, alluding to the Cache County School District's plan to merge those schools together to make Sky View. "When you feel like you have ownership in making something succeed, it sticks with you your whole life."
David Swenson, the current principal of Sky View High School, said the Class of 1965 is an inspiration to the current Sky View classes as well as future generations.
"My message is, thank you for establishing great traditions that have carried on for 50 years," Swenson said. "We hope to continue those traditions, and we hope we have made the Class of '65 proud, too."
Emma Belliston, a junior at Sky View who played in the marching band at the reunion on Saturday night, said it was "really cool" to perform for the first graduating class. She said the students there now continue to have "great school spirit."
A CONTROVERSIAL START
The concept of Sky View School goes back to 1955, when a survey commissioned by the school board found that one high school to serve the entire Cache County School District, replacing North and South Cache high schools, would best serve the district's needs, according to Herald Journal stories compiled in a commemorative book to mark Sky View's 50th birthday.
"It's like, 'how could you possibly do this? This is South Cache!" recalled Mike Bankhead, a 1965 Sky View graduate who recently retired from the Utah State University music department.
But the Cache school bond issue was voted down twice — in 1956 and 1959 — before the idea of one central high school got rolling again.
The school board decided to begin building the future Sky View High School on a "pay-as-you-go basis," according to Herald Journal archives. In 1961, Cache County voters approved by a margin of 60 votes the bond necessary to finish construction of the high school.
Ace Raymond Construction Company completed the school's first phase of construction. John Mickelson & Sons Construction Company was awarded the contract to construct the second phase of the building (both companies were awarded the project in 1962). At the same time, new board members who opposed the building of a new central high school were elected, saying they would not honor the construction contract when they were sworn in.
That same year, the Utah Attorney's General Office issued an opinion stating obstructing construction on the new high school would be legally impossible.
Around that time, a small group of Cache County residents filed a suit in 1st District Court asking the board to not halt construction and move forward with the project. A judge ordered the board to show cause for why the injunction should not be issued.
The case was tried in 1st District and the judge ruled the contract for construction was legal and binding and that the board could only renegotiate certain terms of the contract. After the board considered making changes to the swimming pool, the auditorium and classroom space, members decided to leave those amenities in place because the architect said it would result in $400,000 in damages.
Sky View High School opened to tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders on September 1, 1964.
Robert Wadley, a member of the student council — a conglomeration of students from North and South Cache — recalls the feeling of a new school year, and a new school.
"Everyone thought it was going to be difficult to merge together, but it ran smoothly," Wadley, of Spanish Fork, a life-long educator himself, said.
Wadley had some advice for future Sky View classes.
"Enjoy your time in high school, it's quick; do your best," he said. "Fifty years from now, you'll be here and you don't want to look back on it with regrets."
Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com
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