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History of Colerain High School
1924 – Present
High School, founded in 1924, has a solid reputation of serving the community
with outstanding academic and extracurricular programs that have prepared its
students for the workforce, post secondary education, and military service. The school district, serving Colerain Township and parts of
Green and Springfield Townships, has grown from one school serving students in
grades 1 – 12 to nine elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high
schools. Graduates of Colerain High
School have excelled in all walks of life.
The 21st Century provides a unique set of challenges in
educating the students of the community. The
staff and administration are taking the appropriate steps to insure that
today’s students are prepared to excel in whatever career they choose.
Early History – 1800 – 1930
There were thirteen one and two room schools in Colerain Township prior to 1924. Below are examples of three schools that served the community.
on the first Colerain Centralized School began in 1922 and was completed in
1924. The cost was $1,227,114.
There were eight classrooms plus a gym and stage on the second floor.
school opened in the fall of 1924 with 371 students and nine teachers.
Students were transported in privately run buses.
Each student was required to purchase his or her textbooks until 1930, as
these were not provided by the Board of Education. Books were available at Picken’s store across the street on
Springdale Rd. A PTA “Mother’s
Club” provided extra items for the school and students not provided by the
Board of Education. As an example,
the PTA covered the cost of the school’s telephone.
The first commencement ceremony was held in the Spring of 1925. There were nine graduates. Below is a photograph of the first graduating class as well as a copy of the Commencement program. Members of the first graduating class were reunited at the 1989 commencement ceremony. Four alumni were able to attend and are pictured below.
Joyce, Class of 1925, related in 1989 that an essay contest was held to name the
school’s mascot. At the time, there were three outstanding professional
baseball teams: the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis
Cardinals. Joyce submitted his
essay stating that because the Cardinals were the best team at the time that
Colerain should also be called the Cardinals because he felt that Colerain
should be identified with the best as well.
His presentation was so convincing that the students, faculty, and
administration overwhelmingly supported his proposal and Colerain has been the
Cardinals ever since.
Depression Era and World War II – 1931 – 1945
The area remained largely a rural, farming community. Small merchants had businesses located in Groesbeck, Bevis, and Dunlap. One had to travel to Mt. Healthy or College Hill for entertainment or evening dining. However, there was enough growth in the community to warrant the construction of a second building that became Colerain High School from 1931 – 1964. The building accommodated student in grades 7 – 12. The Board of Education instituted a policy that it would provide textbooks for students eliminating the need for each student to incur the expense. Without this step, it is likely that enrollment would have decreased as the Great Depression put a significant economic strain on families in the community. Because of the Depression, many students did not complete twelve years of school, as they were needed to help provide for their families. Typically, there were 20 – 30 graduates each year.
Classes were limited to English, Math, Algebra, History, Government, Science, and Latin. Everyone took the same classes as separate College Preparatory or Vocational programs did not exist. Student activities continued to be centered around the band, glee club, school plays, and athletics. The first yearbook was published in 1940, but was suspended during 1944 and 1945 due to wartime rationing programs.
Prior to 1935, boys competed in interscholastic Soccer with Football beginning in 1935. Carl Crawford coached the first Football team. Colerain fielded an eleven-man football team in 1935 and 1936. Football was not offered in 1937 and 1938 and boys played fast pitch softball in the Fall during those two years. The Football program was restarted in 1939 and Colerain fielded six-man teams until 1948 when the program was restored to the version that everyone knows today.
Girls continued to play Basketball through the 1930s. The 1939 – 40 squad won the Hamilton County League Championship. Interscholastic competition for girls ceased the following year as the governing body made a determination that girls shouldn’t be allowed to compete due to risk of injury. Athletics for girls were suspended until the 1950s when the GAA was established primarily to provide intramural competition. GAA was active until the middle 1970s when interscholastic athletics were reinstated for girls with the passage of Title IX.
Baseball was also a popular activity during the 1930s and 40s. Colerain fielded successful teams during this time period. The 1939 and 1940 teams were particularly successful with the 1940 team placing as Runner-Up in the State Finals.
Post War Era – 1946 – 1964
The end of World War II saw the beginning of significant growth in Colerain Township as servicemen returned home to marry and start families. This resulted in a need to increase the number of classrooms at the elementary school and high school. An auditorium was added to the elementary school and the gym at the high school was expanded to its current configuration.
With the end of the war and a prospering economy, focus was shifted on increasing the number of activities to accommodate a growing student body. “C” Club, Student Council, Hi-Y, Pep Club, FTA – Future Teachers of America, FFA – Future Farmers of America were among the clubs added during this timeframe. Cheerleaders were established in 1945. The Senior Class at the end of each school year established a class night and Plays continued to be a prominent activity. The first Senior Prom was held in the 1940s as well.
In 1948, the Football program was converted to the 11-man game. Using portable lights, the games were contested on Friday nights at the field that was located adjacent to the Colerain Township maintenance facility.
The first Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian was recognized in 1950. Additionally, the first Homecoming was held in the Winter of 1950 with the crowning of a Basketball Queen. The annual Football Homecoming began in the Fall of 1951.
In 1953, the Boosters in cooperation with the school administration financed and built a permanent football stadium with track. Permanent lights were installed at a cost of $6,000. This field is now used by Colerain Middle School and is part of the Colerain Township Park. Below are pictures from the dedication ceremony and first game held on the new field. Colerain High School has always prided itself on having a community that supports all events at the school ranging from plays, musical programs, or athletic events.
Student activities added in the 1950s and early 1960s included Track and Field, Cross Country, Golf, and Rhythmettes, a drill team that performed with the Marching Band. Course offerings were expanded to include Industrial Arts, Home Economics, and a variety of electives. Clubs also were expanded to include a number of new hobbies of interest to the student body.
Outside of school activities, students would typically go to Frisch’s in Groesbeck for meals after games or dances. Movie theaters were in Mt. Healthy and College Hill. Informal dances were often held after games. Double dating was popular as transportation was often a challenge with most families having only one automobile. Television viewing became a new and prominent leisure time activity in the 1950s as families invested in Black and White models to watch the three local Cincinnati stations plus national broadcasts.
Graduating classes at the high school had grown from the inaugural class of nine Seniors in 1925 to 275 Seniors in 1964. Commencement ceremonies were held in the auditorium connected to the Colerain Elementary School beginning in 1948 and the entire class could be seated on the stage.
Mr. Eberly Hammack was the first Superintendent of the newly formed Northwest Local School District. Mr. Hammack had been the Superintendent of the Colerain Township Schools since the early 1950's after serving as Principal of Colerain High School. His leadership in collaboration with the School Board resulted in the acquisition of property at 8801 Cheviot Rd. that would become the home to Colerain High School beginning in the Fall of 1964. In one year, the graduating class almost doubled from 275 to 500. As noted previously, two elementary schools were being constructed to accommodate the growing number of students in grades K – 6. It is interesting to note that Kindergarten classes were held in the new high school in its first year until the new schools were opened.
High School – 1965 – Present
Course offerings continued to expand in the 1960s and programs were established to recognize the outstanding academic achievements of students. The National Merit Scholarship Program was instituted at Colerain in 1968 and four Seniors were recognized for academic excellence.
Colerain athletic teams achieved success on the field and in the gym during the 1960s. Competing in the Hamilton County Suburban League, the Basketball team was undefeated in regular season play in 1963. This is the only Colerain Basketball team to accomplish such a feat. The 1967 Basketball team was one of the final eight teams in the state reaching the Regional Finals. The Football team won its first league title in the Fall of 1967 playing at the new stadium at the high school. Wrestling was also added as a Varsity Sport in 1965.
in Northwest Schools peaked around 1974 with almost 15,000 students in grades K
– 12. District wide faculty
totaled over 600 during this time. At
the time, the Northwest Local School District was the largest suburban school
district in the state of Ohio. Additionally,
Colerain Township grew to become the largest township in the state. To accommodate the growth and meet the needs of the
community, Northgate Mall opened in 1972 and Colerain Avenue became a
destination of choice for shoppers, car buyers, moviegoers, and diners.
LaRosa’s became the hangout for students after games and dances.
Athletically, Colerain’s teams more than held its own during the 1970s and 1980s. The 1975 Baseball team made it to the Regional Finals before falling to Dayton Chaminade Julienne. This feat was accomplished once again when the 1984 Baseball team made it to the Regional Finals. Elder won the Regional title and went on to win the State Championship. The 1978 Cross Country team won the first State Championship in school history with one of the best performances ever recorded in Ohio at the time. Coached by Ken Meibers, the state title was the culmination of efforts that began in 1974 when the Cross Country team qualified to the State Tournament for the first time.
middle 1970s also marked the return of interscholastic athletics for girls.
Colerain fielded teams in Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, and
Gymnastics. Soccer did not become a
varsity sport for girls until the 1983. Boys
Soccer was initiated in 1976 under the direction of Frank Margello.
Football program made tremendous strides beginning in 1974 under the direction
of Ben Hubbard. The 1975 team won
the league title for the first time since 1967 with a 9 – 1 record.
At the time, there was only one team that qualified for the state
playoffs and Moeller was a dynasty under the direction of Gerry Faust.
From the middle 1970s to the middle 1980s, Colerain Football was one of
the strongest programs in Greater Cincinnati.
Colerain made the playoffs for the first time in 1994 under the direction
of Kerry Coombs and have been one of the strongest programs year in and year out
the state ever since.
has had four individuals claim State Championships since 1974.
Mike Whitehead won the State High Jump title in 1974.
Lori Strong won a State Championship in Swimming in 1980 even though
Colerain did not field a team at the time.
Alison Zeinner won a State Championship in the 3200 Meter Run in 1998.
Mason Ward won two State Championships in the 1600 Meter Run in 1999 and
2000. Additionally, the Girls 4 X
800 Meter Relay team won the State Championship in 2000.
Members of that team were Kelly Crum,
Jennifer Limle, Terie Littlepage and Melissa Miller.
the direction of Ron Russo, the Colerain Girls Cross Country program has
established itself as not only a state, but also a national power.
The team won four consecutive State Championships beginning in 1997 and
most recently finished second in 2003. The
team has qualified to the State Championship meet every year since 1996.
Colerain High School approached the 21st Century, a number of changes
took place. A number of clubs and
activities were replaced by new activities consistent with the times. The Rhythmettes gave way to a combination Flag Corp/Auxiliary
as the Marching Band became active in competitions. Show Cards were created to give students an opportunity to
develop dancing and singing performance skills.
This group has been well received throughout the area and state and has
traveled to competitions throughout the country.
once again became a four-year high school in 1989 to meet the needs of a
changing population and to better utilize available facilities.
Buses for high school students were eliminated in 1993 as a means to
reduce costs. Proficiency tests
became a standard measure by which students and school districts were evaluated
in the 1990s. Additionally, the
curriculum was adjusted to accommodate a “Block Scheduling” approach.
This approach enabled teachers to have more class time for laboratory
experiments and classroom discussions.
With the 1990s, came the advent of computer aided instruction and
distance learning. Colerain now has
classrooms that can be linked to other locations in the state for interactive
learning with students and teachers from other schools.
time has marched on, students still enjoy sports, dances, clubs, and being with
friends. The number of leisure time
activities has certainly increased since the early 1900s.
However, one thing is constant and that is Colerain High School for the
residents of the community. One
common theme that can be heard on any Friday during the school year is “WE ARE
High School Fun Facts