BULLHEAD CITY — Mohave High School invited alumni and residents to an open house on Thursday night to celebrate the school’s golden anniversary.
People were invited to roam the halls of the older buildings to look at reproductions of photographs that graced yearbooks going back to the beginning of instruction on the campus in the fall of 1969. The first group of graduates — 30 of them — finished their studies in 1970.
It was a stroll down memory lane for alumni who stopped to look at the posters on the walls and flip through yearbooks set out on folding tables.
Karen Boudouine and Kim Hansen saw each other in one of school halls during the open house. Both live in Bullhead City.
At one point, they were looking at one of the reproduction posters from a 1988 yearbook. They each pointed out people they knew. They knew virtually all of them.
Boudouine graduated in 1989. Members of the class just held their 30th reunion and they had a chance to see some of the posters days ago.
She was valedictorian of that class and had enjoyed performing in the school choir. Today, she performs with the River City Community Theater Players.
“It’s a real kick to see all this,” Boudouine said.
Hansen, a 1991 graduate known by her maiden name of Davidson when she attended the high school, was looking at enlarged photographs from yearbooks dating back to the late 1980s.
“We love it here,” Hansen said. “We love the small-town feel.”
She was in the choir and on drill team. Her daughter, Demi Hansen, is in MHS band and was in the old gymnasium rehearsing with her bandmates, she proudly pointed out.
The excitement level in the old gym increased when the band started performing familiar fight songs. A large number of the people in the bleachers smiled as they pumped their fists.
A highlight of the evening was when about 200 people — alumni, past and present staff members and some family members — sat close together in a section of the bleachers in the old gymnasium to for photographs.
There were teachers there as well. Quite a few of them had to instruct their own children. And some of those children ended up working at MHS themselves.
Denise Atwater-Vallon taught math and science at the high school for many years. Her son, Chance Vallon, is a guidance counselor at MHS. He brought his daughter, Kynzi, who is in grade school.
“The campus looks entirely different than it did 25 years ago,” Chance Vallon said.
One of the more important changes is in available technology on campus. While even the cafeteria is set up for students to use their smartphones and laptop computers, he remembers using some TRS-80 computers when he was a student there in the 1980s.
That equipment was often referred to by students as “trashers,” he said.
Jean Evins worked at the high school beginning in 1969. She was an English teacher and librarian there for many years. Her son, Craig Evins, grew up to become a teacher of U.S. government at MHS.
Jean Evins, who soon will turn 85, said that she often runs into students she once taught or saw in the school library.
She remembers most of the students being good, but she does sometimes run into those who weren’t exactly bookworms.
She said she would tell those former students that “I didn’t know you very well because you didn’t come to the library to do any work.”
The group of alumni also participated in a highly informal survey to find out how many graduated during this or that time period, or whether they had children attending the high school today. They were simply asked to raise their hands in response.