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May 12, 2014

Inside the entrance to the main building at Tucson High School there are two offices: the Principal and V-Principal. There are some beautiful mosaics next to the doors.

Our class donated the first mosaic, the one to the left of the door leading into the Principal's office. Later, other classes donated the other mosaics and they've been there standing guard since the 1960s. Recently Fran Tegarden Johnson received a plaque from the school for our class from the belated dedication ceremony (which happened 50+ years after the plaques were put on the walls).

All of these photos are thumbnails, you can double-click on them to make them bigger so you can see the detail and read the words on the plaque.



Article from the Arizona Daily Star

THS to hit big 100




Next month [September 2006] Tucson High School begins celebrating a milestone that is both memorable and noteworthy

Bonnie Henry

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 08.20.2006


Anniversaries ending with a zero always cause a commotion. Double the zeros and you get twice the commotion. Such is the case with Tucson High School — the first high school in the Arizona Territory — which celebrates its 100th anniversary with a series of events beginning next month. Not to take away from those double zeros, but the school — then just called "the high school" — actually goes back to the early 1880s, when it was holding forth from a two-room adobe north of town. In 1896, it was shut down so the fledgling University of Arizona could siphon off high school students into its own preparatory classes.


But by 1906, the high school was back. Student body: 45. For a time, classes were held at what is now Safford Magnet Middle School. A bond election in 1907 paved the way for high schoolers to shift to a brand-new school, name of Roskruge, that would house all grades, elementary through high school.


The high school portion was completed in 1908. And there the student body would matriculate for the next 16 years. Here would be born the school colors of red and white, a badger mascot and the legend of J.F. "Pop" McKale, who coached football, basketball and baseball and guided the football team to a state championship in 1911.


Overcrowding at Roskruge sent voters back to the polls again in 1921, where they approved a $750,000 bond issue to build a new high school.

Some 30,000 sacks of cement and a million pounds of steel went into the three-story building we all still know today as Tucson High, on the southwest corner of East Sixth Street and North Euclid Avenue. Dedication Day dawned Oct. 10, 1924, with a packed auditorium listening to the strains of the school orchestra and a host of oratorical wonders.


F.W. Boyd Allen, Class of '25, was one of the school's two male cheerleaders. He remembered train trips to Bisbee, Douglas and Phoenix to root for the team. In-town high school competition, after all, was years away. The curriculum for college entrance during Allen's senior year included English, algebra, plane geometry, history, civics, and Latin, French or Spanish. Electives ranged from millinery to salesmanship.


John Barringer, Class of '31 and leader of the school's swing band, remembered going through ROTC drills on campus with "real rifles." He also remembered the smell of cabbage occasionally wafting in from the cafeteria. No surprise, considering the cafeteria, band, gymnasium and choral rooms were all wedged into the third floor.


By early 1942, the entire school was swept into World War II. Students collected scrap metal by the ton, and millinery and salesmanship classes moved over for new offerings in preflight aeronautics and radio code. At least 141 graduates or former THS students were killed in World War II.


Meanwhile, the school continued to grow. Its annex, built in 1939, was remodeled in 1945 and again in 1951. A new cafeteria went up in '45. In 1950, the school's vocational wing was added. In 1956, Tucson High had a total enrollment of 6,800 students, claiming the title of largest high school in the country. Later that same year, 900 students, led by Principal Elbert Brooks, moved to the new Pueblo High School.


The whole exercise was repeated the following year when 2,000 students, led by Principal Rollin T. Gridley, moved to the new Catalina High School complex. In 1993, the school — now known as Tucson High Magnet School — dedicated its new $13 million building for visual and performing arts and science and technology.


Sprawled across 40 acres, the school today has close to 3,000 students.


From the THMS Web Site

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 08.20.2006

Timeline compiled by Bill Baker and Rick Secrist.

1906 – Tucson High School begins classes. Anne Rogers is the first principal. San Francisco suffers an enormous earthquake.

1908 Tucson High moves to what is now Roskruge Elementary/Bilingual Magnet Middle School.

1912 Arizona becomes a state.

1917 The United States enters World War I.

1920 The 19th Amendment is ratified, giving women the right to vote.

1924 The main building of the current Tucson High is completed.

1927 Charles Lindbergh flies from New York to Paris.

1929 U.S. stock market crashes.

1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes president. Prohibition is repealed.

1941 Pearl Harbor is attacked. The United States enters World War II.

1950 Tucson High's vocational building is built. It contains 47 classrooms and 13 shops.

1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the 34th president of the United States.

1956 Tucson High is the largest high school in the nation. Triple sessions run from dawn to dusk.

1960 – Class of 1960 graduates.

1961 Alan Shepard is the first U.S. spaceman. John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th president of the United States.

1963 JFK is assassinated in Dallas.

1966 Tucson High wins the state football championship for the second year in a row.

1968 Tucson High graduate Frank Borman orbits the moon.

1974 Richard Nixon resigns as president of the United States.

1981 AIDS is identified.

1986 The space shuttle Challenger explodes after launch.

1993 Tucson High's Technological Sciences and Fine Arts Building is completed. Renovations on the old main building begin.

1997 Princess Diana dies in car crash in Paris.

1999 Tucson High School becomes the first school in the nation to achieve the following milestones in three major sports: 500 wins in football, 1,000 wins in basketball and 1,000 wins in baseball.

2006 Tucson High School celebrates its 100th anniversary.  


March 19, 2007

Here is some historical trivia submitted by Jim Sullivan:


"Why are we the Badgers? Pop McKale! Yes, the same guy whose name is on the building where the CATS play 'basketball'.

He came to THS just after statehood and coached and taught for several years. At that time THS had no mascot, so Pop being from Wisconsin said , 'we'll be the Badgers!'.  And it was not a huge step to  make the school's colors red and white.

Pop then moved on to the U of A where he remained for the rest of his life.

Now, you know the rest of........"