PAISD EDUCATION NOTES
Did you know that this year’s senior class will be the 30th class of Fighting Marlins to graduate from Port Aransas High School? If you are an alumnus, or long-time island resident, you probably did know our high school graduated its first students in 1980. But for many of us who haven’t been around all those years, being here to celebrate the school’s 30th graduation anniversary is pretty neat.
As I begin my sixth year with Port Aransas ISD, I realize more than ever how incredibly special this place is. Over 30 years, PAHS has both changed and remained the same. It has adapted to a growing community and yet retained its unique quirkiness. Many of my colleagues have been here for a good portion of that time, and some of them even graduated from PAHS. I listen and smile at their back-in-the-day stories of barefoot students in the hallways and teachers in the “smoker’s” lounge.
As I perused through the 1980 Mighty Marlin Yearbook, I learned that our high school graduated 16 students that year and housed a total of 93 students. I also learned that we have current teachers who were on that original staff in Judy and Jim Cole. And one of our current school board members, Rita Reed, was on that staff as well.
Here are some other quick facts about Port Aransas High School in 1980:
• Number of faculty members: 15
• The girl’s basketball team qualified for the state tournament, losing to Nazareth (a perennial powerhouse) in the first round.
• The band won Sweepstakes at band contest. The yearbook writer reported that Mr. Cole was under pressure to do well at contest so he told the band he would be “sacking groceries at Kroger” if the band didn’t achieve Sweepstakes. Good thing for Kroger Mr. Cole was up to the challenge.
• The school fielded teams in basketball, track, girl’s volleyball and tennis.
• Typist Ann Scalan placed fourth at the state typing competition
• Student clubs included student council, industrial arts, theater, photography and art.
Today’s PAHS has 180 students, 38 potential graduates, 25 faculty members, and many additional clubs and extracurricular activities. We’ve traded typing success for computer science championships, and although the names and faces have also changed, some things remain exactly the same.
Even though I wasn’t at PAHS in 1980, as I look at the photos and read the captions in that original yearbook, I see something uncannily familiar. I see students and teachers with the same smiles, hopes, and aspirations that are evident today. I recognize the school that cares more about relationships and people than systems of accountability and red tape. And yes, there is that quintessential sense of Marlin individuality.
The opening caption in the yearbook says,
This has been a year of new beginnings, most importantly, the beginning of a new high school for Port Aransas. There have been many new responsibilities and traditions left up to the students, the faculty, and the school board to develop. Working together as a team enabled us to accomplish these tasks. This year was surrounded with an atmosphere of school spirit and pride that will build even more as we grow.
I bet the student(s) who wrote this never expected to be quoted 30 years later, but these words just illustrate how much pride is wrapped up in this little island school. I am just as proud to be a tiny part of its 30- year history. Happy birthday, Marlins!