WEST END HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI
The second Thursday of each month, with the exception of January, we meet at 11:15 a.m. for food, fellowship, fun, and enjoyable programs at Hillwood Country Club. The cost is now $20 per person due to Hillwood's price increase. Our next Lunch Bunch is Thursday, July 11th. Reservation information will be posted at the end of June.
See you at Hillwood!
WELCOME TO WEST END HIGH SCHOOL - WHERE THE BLUE JAYS FLEW!
If you are an alumnus of West High, you already value the wonderful education we received, and the warm relationships with our classmates. If you are a visitor to our site, we hope you will enjoy learning about our history, our alumni, and our upcoming events.
“ON THE CITY’S WESTERN BORDER, REARED AGAINST THE SKY, PROUDLY STANDS OUR ALMA MATER AS THE YEARS ROLL BY”
West End High School has proudly stood on West End Avenue since 1937. In 1968, the last senior class graduated, and West End High School became West End Middle School. Here is a brief history of the years in between.
West, which was a Public Works Administration project, opened as a high school in September, 1937, with 823 students in grades 10-12 and a faculty of 30. The addition of grades 7-9 increased enrollment to 1,025. Dr. William Henry Yarbrough was selected as principal.
The building was formally dedicated in November, 1937 at a ceremony attended by many of the city’s most prominent educational and civic leaders. The suggestion that the school be named in honor of the Mayor, Hilary E. Howse, was refused by the Mayor, based on the policy of the federal government through the Public Works Administration that no building in which they cooperated was to be named for any living person. After the mayor died, it was suggested the name be changed to honor Mayor Howse, the students and the PTA protested, and the Board of Education relented. The graduates even threatened to buy their own special diplomas just to show they were graduates of West!
The name, “West High Blue Jays”, was given by a local paper. While not popular at first, it remained, becoming part of the West End High School tradition.
The first year saw the organization of the Men’s Club, the West Wind newspaper, the R.O.T.C, and student government. At the first graduation in 1938, 122 seniors received diplomas. In the second year, the National Honor Society and Quill and Scroll were organized. The third year saw the organization of the Beta Club and the football team became city co-champions.
1944 saw the first state basketball championship, and the 1946 and 1948 teams were also state champions! The 1954 team is legendary since it came from behind in the last minute of play to win the state championship. The principal, “Doc” Yarbrough, attended against the advice of his physician, and the team definitely went “All the Way for Doc.” The trophies in the lobby are a tribute to all who participated in sports at West High.
John Oliver succeeded Doc Yarbrough in 1954 and served for 17 years.
In 1961 the junior high classes were removed and it became a high school for grades 10-12. Then, in 1966, the junior high was returned, and from 1966-1968 the high school was phased out at the rate of a grade a year.
The renovation of the building is fantastic. We could only dream about having air-conditioned class rooms and an elevator! Of course, the “Sunset Club” bench is still in the office.
There are several excellent books on the history of West End High School, and “Zephyr” histories give more in-depth information and will bring back many wonderful memories. All of the “Zephyr” yearbooks and “West Wind” newspapers are in the Alumni Room at West End Middle School, along with memorabilia from our golden years. We urge all Alumni to take advantage of its resources.
“All the Way For Doc” and “The Transition Years” by West alumnus Whit Stokes can be purchased at whitstok.com, as well as a second edition of “If These Walls Could Talk”, an expanded version of the book written as a fund-raiser for the Oakley Christian Memorial Fund in 2017.
Your Alumni Association is open to all who attended West End High School, and you are invited to participate in our monthly Lunch Bunch luncheons at Hillwood Club (the second Thursday of each month except January) and our biennial Homecoming Dinners. Please let us know if there is any information you would like to see on our website, and we will try our best to include it.