In high school, you often hear friends talking about getting out of Tooele. All they want to do is leave and never look back.
Once, I was sitting in class and someone sitting next to me said: “I truly can’t wait until I graduate. I want to leave this stupid place.”
Personally, I didn’t know what to think. This last week I was given the opportunity of writing a story for the Transcript-Bulletin’s Hometown section, and my hope was that it would help me to form an opinion about whether or not I really want to leave Tooele.
My story (on B1 today) is about how several staff members who now work at Tooele High School also attended the school as teenagers. Most of them were the students who were talking about leaving Tooele and never coming back. Now, nearly 25 percent of the staff at THS are alumni.
When I first read through this list of alumni, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how many of my teachers had gone to my school. Some of the names I already knew. The others? I had no idea they had gone to THS.
Since I am a junior, I have had roughly 30 teachers since I’ve started high school. A lot of those teachers’ names were on the list of alumni.
John Olson was on the list. I had him as my student government teacher my freshman year, and I have him as a history teacher this year. I talked to him for the Hometown story. He’s a really passionate teacher who loves teaching history. I don’t think he has ever said that he loves teaching history, but you can just tell that he loves it. When I had him for student government, he was just as excited about the school as he is about history. In student government class, we helped plan nearly all of the school’s activities and we even made and passed our own bills to help the school. I remember him being very defensive of THS. It makes sense now. It was his high school too.
Last year, I had Kim Brady for health. She was also on the alumni list and I figured I would talk to her because she had met her husband, who also teaches at THS, during high school. When we got to talking, she said that she was always telling everyone how she wanted to leave this small town and do something else. She couldn’t wait until she graduated from THS. Then she did graduate and go to college, but soon after came back to THS to teach.
I also talked to Principal Bill Gochis for the Hometown story. It’s interesting to think that someone I’m going to school with could one day be principal of the school we are going to, just like Gochis. Gochis told me that THS was a huge part of his life even before he was in high school because his father had gone to THS too. He said that when the football team played, the bleachers were filled. There wasn’t one seat that was empty. I wish things were the same way now. It would be a blast if everyone in the community went to the football games.
Even after talking to all these teachers and staff members who have returned to THS, I still can’t decide if I really want out of Tooele. On one hand, it would be nice to stay here. I would go to college and then come back, work, get married and raise a family. My family would attend football games and maybe I’d even end up teaching at THS. On the other hand, I really want to travel the world. I want to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower. I want to go to Harry Potter World in Florida. Who knows, maybe I’ll do both. Maybe I will travel for a few years and then come back and go to Tooele High School football games with my future family.
Kristine Johnson is a junior at Tooele High School.