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South Salem High School
South Salem Senior High School first opened its doors in the fall of 1954, as a three year senior high school. All students whose parents resided in that portion of School District 24 C J south of State Street where eligible to attend without payment of tuition. Construction started on South Salem in 1952. The superintendent of Salem Schools was Dr. Walter E. Snyder at the time, with his assistant being Charles D. Schmidt. South Salem’s first Principal was Carl Ashenbrenner. Neil Brown was Vice principal, Robert Voigt was Dean of Boys, and Mrs. Lois Brandon was Dean of Girls. Enrollment for the three classes was approximately 1050 when South opened.

According to Jerry E. Carter, class of 1956, approximately thirty homes were razed to make room for the new high school. The site, currently addressed as 1910 Church Street SE, was already the home of Leslie Middle School, which was built in 1927. The new high school was designed by the Architectural firm of Freeman-Hayslit-Tuft. The new building was attached to the middle school, so that the gym and other assembly areas could be used by both schools. Leslie Middle School has now moved to another location, and the original school building is now leased to the Howard Street Charter School. The buildings are still open to one another, but the two schools no longer share facilities. The high school added a shop area in 1973, and is currently being extensively remodeled with interior modifications and a new commons building, to be finished sometime in 2001.

South Salem’s first Associated Student Body officers were: President, Jim Anderson; First Vice President, Gloria Andrews; Second Vice President, Jean Lidbeck; Secretary, Nancy Owen. South Salem’s first Senior Class Officers were: President, Bob Griffin; Vice President, Sybil Campbell; Sergeant-at-arms, Harry Juul; Secretary-Treasurer, Gladys Maude.

South Salem's nickname is the Saxons, and the school colors are Columbia blue and scarlet.

The School newspaper, The Clypian was first edited by Janice Bishop, with guidance from staff advisor Frank Walton. The word clypian, is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "call". The newspaper was a bi-weekly publication that included general school news, editorials, sports and advertising. Every other Wednesday, before publication, members of the editorial group worked at the Statesman-Journal preparing The Clypian. The first edition of the school yearbook, The Sword and Shield, was edited by Anne Heltzel, with Frank Walton again serving as faculty advisor. The school telephone book was called The Saxiphone.

A notable accomplishment for a first year school was South Salem's success on the gridiron. The football team opened the season against the Washington Colonels with a win. The team advanced through the field, even taking the North-South game. That victory won them their first trophy, the Mayors Cup. The team went on to state, ending up in the championship game. The game ended in a thirteen-all tie, with South and Marshfield High declared co-champions. The first coaches were Lee Gustafson and Bob Metzger. All the first year's home games were played at Waters Park, at Twenty-Fifth and Mission, because Bennett Field at South Salem was not completed in time for the opening season.

South Salem’s first ever graduation diploma was presented to Associated Student Body President Jim Anderson in 1955. The school continued on for many years as a three year school, but eventually changed to include grades nine through twelve. South Salem High School’s 2000 school year opened with Kris Olsen as principal, an enrollment of 2005, and a staff of 121.

Compiled and written by Yvonne Litke


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