Central Valley

Mariposa high school celebrates 100 years with homecoming

Mariposa County High School is 100 years old.

The community plans to celebrate this centennial milestone Friday and Saturday with homecoming, an alumni parade and a dinner dance.

Mariposa’s high school opened in 1914 in the Presbyterian church on Bullion Street and expanded to the Larew Building across the street. The school initially had a dozen students; now the current campus at Old Highway North near Eighth Street has 520 students from ninth through 12th grade.

An article in the Oct. 31, 1914, issue of the Mariposa Gazette said: “The new high school in Mariposa has been opened with enthusiasm and we all feel that its success is now assured. It means much for the young people and the cause of education in this section. Twelve pupils up to date have registered and from present indications there will be several more.”

A large part of the school’s visible history, the 1937-vintage building, remains in use today with an auditorium, classrooms and offices.

Robin Hopper, Mariposa County superintendent of schools, said the auditorium is especially beautiful, a building rich with history that serves as a community venue as well.

Hopper said the building is in need of restoration and the district is looking for ways to make the repairs.

“The community provides strong support and has raised money to replace some of the beautiful, historic ceiling tiles and seating in the auditorium,” Hopper said. “We are very fortunate to have such dedicated, caring individuals and groups supporting our high school.”

Construction on the current high school complex (replacing an earlier one built in 1917) began Jan. 7, 1936, and it was dedicated April 30, 1937. In 1938, the high school’s nine teachers, two janitors and six bus drivers served the entire county. At the time, the school had 194 students.

Construction of the high school was financed by an $85,000 county bond issue and an outright gift of $66,236 from the federal government.

An alumni parade, arranged by decades, will take place at 6 p.m. Friday during homecoming game festivities against Gustine High School. A dinner dance will be held Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight at the Mariposa Fairgrounds, with tickets available in advance for $35 per person or $40 at the door.

The dinner is sponsored by the Mariposa FFA Boosters. Alumni tours of the high school will be provided and special exhibits are planned.

Hopper said she and her husband are Mariposa High School graduates as is the principal, Celeste Azevedo. Halls of the old high school building are decorated with vintage photographs of earlier classes, and old yearbooks will be on display at the dinner dance.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Hopper said.