In the past fifty years, only a few landscape changes have altered the looks of Tooele Junior High School. But to celebrate those fifty great years, five new spring snow flowering crab apple trees were planted March 26 in the front lawn of the junior high as part of its 50-year celebration.
The beautiful trees were donated by Cargill Salt through the Tooele Education Foundation. They represent 10 years for each tree and the 50 years since Tooele Junior High School’s new building opened back in 1965. The previous building was located where the THS tennis courts are today.
The school had a full day of activities to celebrate the past 50 years. Student body officer Sydnee Bird welcomed all the junior high students, teachers and staff, who were released from class to come to the front of the school for the tree planting. Principal Terry Linares recognized former principals, former students, retired teachers and support staff, as well as community council members, board of education members and district office officials, welcoming everyone to start the celebration as the five trees were planted. Ed Dalton, director of the Tooele Education Foundation, spoke to the large crowd about the importance of the five trees.
Tooele County School District construction manager Steve West had five holes pre-dug in preparation of the ceremonial planting of the trees. Following Mr. Dalton’s words, several junior high students, with the help of Mr. West and the TJHS custodial staff, placed each of the trees in their place, planting them for future students and the community to enjoy their beauty. Following the tree planting event, student officers conducted some tours of the school for those guests in attendance.
A luncheon was held where Julia Smith, a student body officer, welcomed the large group of invited guests. As the guests visited and looked at old yearbooks, teacher Alan Watts had his orchestra class play musical numbers.
Smith told the group that the present Tooele Junior High School building is 50 years old and has 840 students, 42 teachers, two and a half counselors and 26 support staff personnel. Mrs. Terry Linares is the principal and Mrs. Lori Buhr is the assistant principal.
Seventh grade class officer McKenna McCloy read parts of a poem titled “What Teachers Make.” McKenna recited what a teacher said in the poem — “I make kids wonder,” and “I make them question.” “I make them write,” and “I make them read, read, read.”
McKenna closed with the statement from the end of the poem. “You want to know what I make?” “I make a difference.” The closing phrase brought a round of applause from the audience.
After lunch, each of the past six principals was invited to speak and tell of some of their memories of Tooele Junior High School. The first two principals, Franklin Whitehouse and Louis Killpack, have passed away. The two administrators combined to serve more than 30 years as principal at the school.
Principal Whitehouse served from 1954 to 1973. He was represented by his son, Scott Whitehouse, who spoke of some special memories of his dad and Tooele Junior High. Principal Louis Killpack served from 1973 to 1997. His son, Mark Killpack, offered remarks about his dad.
Serving as principal from 1997 to 1999, Michael Johnsen recalled some past memories of his short time at the junior high. He went on to serve as the Tooele County School District superintendent.
Clint Spindler was principal at the junior high from 1999 to 2004. He was out of state and was represented by his wife, Julie Spindler. The fourth principal was Mr. Kendall Topham, who represented TJHS from 2004 to 2006. He gave some special memories of his years at the school.
The last past principal to speak was Larry Abraham, who acted as principal from 2006 to 2014. He gave an emotional talk of his enjoyable and special years as principal for the Tooele Junior High Roadrunners.
Following the luncheon, students presented a program to the guests. Assistant principal Lori Buhr welcomed all those who attended while a video of past years was presented.
Student body president Austin Meono conducted the program. The colors of our country were presented. Brent Larsen’s scout troop and Jackson Pike led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
To open the program, teacher Marilyn Syra began with three musical numbers by the TJHS band. That was followed by a vocal arrangement by teacher Julia Smoot. Her Glee class did a musical number to the song ‘Home’. Alan Watts lead his orchestra, who played two musical numbers. Finally, the mixed chorus, led by teacher Rebecca Jorgensen, performed three musical numbers, including the updated school song.
To bring the program to a close, Principal Linares invited the special guests, former teachers and support staff and others to the stage. Several were recognized and were presented with special gifts.