Staff, students, former students, school officials, dignitaries and members of the Elijah B. Hayes American Legion Post No. 168 celebrated the school and its modernization projects in the new courtyard outside the main office.
Folks gathered on the cold, sunny morning to thank those who worked on the $21 million renovation project that covered five local schools. The effort at PHS also motivated great changes in Del Puerto High School, Las Palmas and Northmead elementary schools and Grayson Charter School as well.
The five local schools received upgrades, thanks to money the district received from the State Allocation Board. Construction began in November 2012 to renovate the old buildings and construct new ones.
Phil Alfano, superintendent of the Patterson Joint Unified School District, said the day was one of those important and fun moments that reflect on the past, present and future.
“We’ve received wonderful support from the community,” Alfano said. “We honor Patterson’s past, cherish the present and prepare for the future.”
Dave Stubbs, Patterson High’s principal for the past seven years, told the crowd he went to a remodel/renovation meeting the first week he was at the helm of the 1,700-student school.
“What I did learn about this project is how much goes into it,” Stubbs said. “I never knew I would be a construction manager.”
Stubbs went on to give out plaques to all who worked on the building as well as officials from Modesto-based Acme Construction, who handled the renovations and remodeling.
Carol Scoles, Patterson Township Historical Society president and a 1972 PHS graduate, reflected on the history of the school and invited those in the crowd to step forward and help with the 2015 Centennial. A Centennial Committee, led by Bob Vizzolini, a PHS 1963 grad, will spearhead efforts to mark the milestones in the history of the school and community.
The school’s history goes back to February 1913, when area residents voted to unify the Westley, Grayson and Patterson School districts to form Paterson Union High School District. Five trustees were elected to serve on the board. In September of that year, the high school opened on the grounds of the former Las Palmas Grammar School with an enrollment of 46 students. A $55,000 bond was passed the following year to build a high school for 250 students. T.W. Patterson donated land for the school after the bond passed in January 1914.
The cornerstone of PHS was laid on Sept 12, 1914 for the Colonial style two-story building, which featured Greek columns, a full basement and 11 rooms inside that boasted solid oak doors, high ceilings and hardwood floors. Over the years, construction of a gym and swimming pool followed, then a work shop, drafting room and music room. The construction of the Auditorium began in the 1930s and was completed in the spring of 1940. The community stadium — a large volunteer project — had many Pattersonites lending time and talents for the endeavor; it was completed in 1971.
Scoles herself graduated from PHS and recalled her family’s graduations and fond memories of the former school building.
“I wish every student had the opportunity to walk up that walk between the twin palms that flanked the sidewalk, up the steps into that building,” Scoles said.
The Tuesday morning ceremony brought out thoughts from current student and associated student body president Zantino Bustos, who thanked all who worked on the school.
“It took us 100 years, in my opinion, to get the school right,” Bustos said. “It is much bigger and brought a sense of pride to me. I can honestly say, in all my four years, this year I am proud.”
Skylei Hayward, 10, student body president and fifth-grader at Las Palmas Elementary School accompanied her principal Dianne Harris to the event.
“I thought it was exciting today because I want to be a student here,” Skylei said.
After the ceremony, attendees were invited to take student-led tours and see lessons being taught in local classrooms.
• Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or email@example.com.