Wheatland Union High School Class of 1966
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10-14-2007 - 100 years of Wheatland High
 WHS School centennial feted with parade, sports events, memories

A century’s worth of piracy is usually not a cause for celebration.

But in Wheatland, the 100th anniversary of Wheatland High School – where the mascot is the Pirate – was celebrated Saturday with a parade, a volleyball game against East Nicolaus and the school’s Homecoming football game against Las Plumas.

Bystanders stood along the parade route, many sporting buttons marking the centennial and holding signs sporting the year they graduated from Wheatland High.

Holding a sign with “Class of 42” and sporting a white hat adorned with gold-colored skull-and-crossbones, Anna Hern noted how much had changed for Wheatland High School since she was a student.

Her Wheatland High shared a building with the grammar school and she was in a graduating class of 12 students.

“At that time, there was 48 students in the high school,” Hern said.

Now, 65 years later, Wheatland High has more than 700 students.

The parade was a mixture of past and present. There were the elements of a traditional homecoming parade with the students’ court and a pickup bed of cheerleaders, plus a recognition of school history with floats from classes of yesteryear and family floats noting three or four generations that have worn Wheatland blue.

Some classes recalled significant events that happened during their days in school, such as the Class of 1970 and the “Great Wheatland High Pants Revolt.”

As told to the crowd by master of ceremonies Dino Corbin, a 1972 graduate, girls at Wheatland High “revolted” by wearing pants to school, only to be sent home for violating the school dress code.

Eventually the revolt was successful and the school dress code was amended to allow pants to be worn by both sexes.

Watching the parade along Front Street on the edge of Tomita Park were several members of the Class of 1976, sporting matching hats.

“We had a semi-reunion last night,” said class member Martha Braddock with a laugh as classmate Tim Dant dialed away on a cell phone to rouse up other classmates.

Donna Farley, another member of the class, came all the way from Chicago for the event, her first visit to Wheatland in 31 years. She noticed a difference.

“This part’s the same,” she said of the older portions of the city, just a few blocks from where Wheatland’s first traffic light was activated just four days earlier. “But it’s an awful lot bigger.”

by reporter Robert LaHue

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