A history of high schooling

Officials to honor 'successful' Moffat County High School graduates

With a new program, a panel of education officials at Moffat County High School are attempting to honor graduates who "have gone on to successful careers, attained unique goals, and/or made significant contributions to the school, community and society in general."

The high school recently announced a "Look at Me Now" program in which noteworthy graduates are honored with a special place on a wall inside the south commons area and lobby at the high school.

Those who graduated be-

tween 1981 and 2001 are eligible for consideration. A selection committee, consisting of teachers, counselors and an administrator, will determine which candidates are selected.

While the high school's new program attempts to pay homage to the products during its past 25 years, its history runs deeper. According to records, photos and historical writings at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, classes for high school-age students have occurred in the area for 124 years.

History at a glance

Moffat County's first school opened in about 1882, roughly the same time that the area's first wave of homesteaders settled in the area. The school's beginning coincided with another pillar of civilization -- the establishment of a church.

The first schoolhouse measured 16 feet by 20 feet and was built of sawed logs. Twelve students of all ages attended classes the first year, which ran for four months.

In 1892, high school students began attending classes in a white, two-story framed building in the area now known as Breeze Street Park. The area later became a historical landmark after housing three school buildings, one of which doubled as the area's first Catholic church and Craig library, and another that featured a belfry.

Although classes began in 1892, the first high school class to officially graduate was the Class of 1902. The class had four students -- three women and a man.

Museum Director Dan David-

son said the high school didn't have a formally recognized curriculum until 1901, which explains the 10-year gap between the school's beginning and its first graduates.

School board records from the era make note of board members approving policies prohibiting running in the hallways and dancing (unless previously approved by the superintendent of schools).

In 1916, the high school needed more room, and expanded into a red brick structure, also in the area of Breeze Street Park. In 1918, the school closed temporarily because of an outbreak of the flu, according to historical papers.

In a controversial move that angered some, the 1916 school -- the area's first public building -- was torn down in 1981, Davidson said.

The high school officially changed its name in 1945 from Craig High School to Moffat County High School. In fall 1948, the school moved to what is now the west campus of Craig Middle School.

Classes remained at the middle school location until 1981, when the high school moved into its current building at 900 Finley Lane.

The administration building, 775 Yampa Ave., was built as a high school, but was never used for that purpose, Davidson said.

Although the decades and addresses changed, Davidson said each of the four buildings used for high school classes shared a similar trait. The buildings were paid for after highly debated tax questions, the museum director said.

The only other institutions that can trace their histories as far back as the school system are the Masonic Lodge and First Christian Church, both of which were established in the late 1800s and remain intact today, Davidson said.

Nominations

Nomination cards for the "Look at Me Now" program may be obtained through the high school. To nominate MCHS alumni, fill out the card and return it to Moffat County High School, attention Principal Jane Krogman, 900 Finley Lane.

When nominating a former student, include as much information as possible, officials advise. The selection committee will make attempts to contact the nominee and solicit additional details, high school officials said.

Applications may be submitted quarterly. The deadline for the fourth quarter is March 15.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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