by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Some weeks I know exactly what I want to write about in this column. This week, I had no clue. When that happens, I get in my car, drive to the Historical Society Museum and start looking.
Upon entering the building, I first remembered the group of 20 or more people gathered around the old Grain Valley School yearbooks on display. They came for the ice cream social but ended up staying to look at the yearbooks, laugh at the old pictures with crazy clothes and even crazier hair, and reminisce about “the good old days!”
I also thought about how COVID-19 had prevented the Grain Valley Alumni Banquet from being held the past two years; another opportunity for graduates to reminisce. Next, I saw the stack of yearbooks that were recently donated to the society by Vickie Officer’s sister. And that is how I arrived at this week’s column.
From the 1971 Treasure Chest, I share the following bits of history.
In the first three pages I learned Sandie (Brown) Doty was editor and Melinda (Murry) Henson was assistant editor of the yearbook. It was dedicated to Don Kalthoff, “friend, teacher, and coach” of the I-70 Conference Championship Football Team. In the fall of 1970 students began their first full year in the new high school building.
Turning the pages, I further learned Marvin Headley was superintendent and Harvey Wright was the principal. The high school had only 14 teachers. There were 6 school bus drivers, 5 cafeteria workers, and 4 custodians.
Forty-two graduates were led by Valerie Beecher, class president; Paul Willard, vice-president; Debbie Rogers, secretary and Terri Tracy, treasurer. Ron Affolter was the Student Council President.
The trip to Lake View Beach capped off the year for the Class of 1971.
Fifty years ago, GVHS had only three competitive sports; football, boys’ basketball, and track. The yearbook also has two girls’ volleyball photographs; the junior-senior team and the freshman-sophomore team.
Since neither team has numbers, they must have been league teams. There was also a concert and marching band, varsity and JV cheerleaders and queens, lots of queens!
Up the Down Staircase was the theatrical production for 1970-71. Mary Harper (drama teacher) and Barbara Murry (music teacher ) co-directed G.V. Hee Haw. It was a variety show presented to showcase the talents of their students.
Near the end of the yearbook there are 12 pages of advertisements. Of the nearly 75 ads, only 7 were for businesses in Grain Valley. Looking back fifty years the town did not offer much in the way of commerce. We had the Bank of Grain Valley, 4 gas stations, a convenience grocery, a beauty shop, a barber shop, a couple of restaurants, car repair shops and some light manufacturing.
We did not have a supermarket, a laundry, a pharmacy, a library, a movie theater, etc., etc., etc.
But what Grain Valley has had since 1909 is a school system dedicated to the education of our children. That tradition has not changed.
Visit the Historical Society any Wednesday, check out our yearbook collection, and reminisce about “the good old days!”
We have over 50 yearbooks for your perusal.