The history of Tooele High School’s mountainside “T” is only one story portrayed pictorially in Tooele High School’s “Cornerstone: 100 Years of Excellence” yearbook that reflects on a century of life at Tooele High School.
After holding classes in hallways, cloak rooms, and assembly halls in the early 1900s, a small group of Tooele students that wanted to extend their education beyond eighth-grade, successfully got Tooele County Schools to build a new high school that opened its doors in 1913.
“We wanted to do something to highlight the memories and friendships that were developed over the years at the school,” said THS Principal Bill Gochis and a member of the 1975 graduating class as he explained his support for the three-year long effort that produced the centennial yearbook.
Knowing the 100th anniversary of the school’s opening was near, THS yearbook adviser Cody Valdez, a 1999 THS graduate, started collecting information three years ago for a 100-year anniversary edition of the yearbook.
“At first we thought about just adding a section to the end of this year’s ‘T-Leaves,’ the name of the THS yearbook,” said Valdez. “But we decided to make the 100 anniversary book a separate book so alumni and other community members could buy the book separate from the regular yearbook.”
Valdez set out on a search to collect old yearbooks and memories of the school with help from former faculty and students such as Principal Gochis, Larry Harrison, Rowe Harrison, and Rich Valdez.
The Cornerstone book contains 128 pages packed with pictures from former yearbooks and also includes contemporary short stories explaining THS history and trivia.
Graduates can see their slice of four years of THS life in context of the years that came before and after their time at the 100-year-old school.
The Cornerstone book holds the answer to how a tiger crept into the buffalo’s school song or how the lost cornerstone of the original 1913 school was returned to the new building.
Memories of all kinds emerge as the reader browses through the retelling of the history of the THS prom, girl’s day dance, the victory bell, and Chippewa — the school’s once live mascot.
Valdez was surprised as he gathered information for the book to learn that the “T” that sits above the city has a story that goes back almost as long as the school itself.
The original “T” was built of white washed rocks and completed in 1916. Later it was replaced with a concrete version that eventually was superseded by Duro-Last roofing material donated by Broken Arrow, a locally-owned construction, excavation, and roofing company.
The driving force behind producing the book was to chronicle the history of the school and give the community a bound version of memories, according to Valdez.
The books are available for $30, a cost that barely covers the production costs, and any excess funds will go into the THS student activity fund, said Valdez.
The centennial yearbook, “Cornerstone: 100 Years of Excellence,” can be purchased at the THS finance office during school hours or purchased online at myschoolfees.com.