Described as the “dream of the decades’ and “an envisioned reality” Provo High School circa 1956-57 was the newest and best educational hub in the valley.
In a tribute in the ’57 Provost yearbook it says: “Here 1,000 young men and women have pursued their education and formed lasting friendships in the inspiring surroundings of an architectural masterpiece.”
“It was wonderful,” said Jesse Ripple Nuttall, class of ’57. “We had grown tired of the old school. The new school seemed huge to us. I think we adjusted.”
Like many of her schoolmates, Nuttall, now 78, said walking through the new school doors for the first time was thrilling.
“We had a good group of friends,” Nuttall said. “We had good teams. I remember my favorite teacher was Mrs. (Laura) Mikkelson who taught Home Economics.”
Nuttall has lived in Provo all her life. One of her classmates is Robert Carter. Carter has moved on to be one of the major historians and experts on Provo and Utah County history.
Ask Carter what he remembers about the high school and the first thing out of his mouth was “the green beetle.”
It seems they didn’t have a track or physical education field at the old high school, so during the buildout of the new school, several boys would hop into the green beetle, an old Army truck, and head up 500 West to what is now Bulldog Avenue and 200 West near the tracks of the Heber Creeper railroad.
Gary Graham, from the class of ’57, called the famous truck the Green Monster.
“The field on the west side was an athletic field and that is where we would go for gym class,” Graham said. “Coach Warner (Greasy) would drive us up.”
According to Carter, one day the boys got a bit crazy and got the bright idea to all pile at the back of the truck and jump in unison. The results were not only dangerous but stupid.
“We got a scotch blessing for that one,” Carter said. “We knew never to do that again.”
Carter added and said, “I missed the old school because I could walk. I’d even walk home for lunch,” Carter said. “Now the new school is the old school.”
Graham said he was excited about the new school and gives a nod to Principal Delbert “Deb” Tregaegle for the new “plant.”
“It was state-of-the-art,” Graham said. “All of the kids were really proud of our new school.”
“Twenty years later in 1977 my daughter, Lisa Graham was head cheerleader,” Graham said.
Carter said his favorite classes at the new school were English and history.
“English was the first class of the day. One day my teacher asked me to take his 1949 Olds and drive it to Mitchell’s Garage to get it inspected,” Carter said.
He noted that it was a great way to get out of class.
Carter also liked his social studies teacher Burt Asay. Prior to becoming a teacher himself, Carter went back to Provo High as a student teacher and was assigned to be with Milt Nelson, one of his favorites, as his student teacher.
Carter taught English and history in junior highs in Alpine and Provo school districts. That love began at Provo High.
Graham said he was involved in organizing the class’s 60th reunion last year.
“It was held at the school,” Graham said. He added he hardly recognized the place with all the additions and changes.
Graham said he loved Provo High and was active in the ski club and DECA, Distributive Education Clubs of America.
“Our claim to fame is being from the first graduating class of the new Provo High School,” Nuttall said.