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By Jesse Utz 

Beavers, Tigers, Panthers and now Pirates

Jess Shut Up


In our school history we have retired and put to pasture some of our mascots. Soon a Pirate will join them. Please, a moment of silence for our fallen identities of the past. Grand Coulee Tigers, Coulee Dam Beavers, Center School Dolphins, Grand Coulee Dam Junior High Panthers and now joining them are the Center School Eagles and the Grand Coulee Dam Middle School Pirates. If you have not heard yet, next year in the new school it will be Lake Roosevelt Raiders from K to 12. A giant ship load of Raiders. Arrrr (in my Jack Sparrow voice).

United finally after all these years.

But I am not here to talk about the future and all the grand things to come. I want to recognize a few things I have learned and I think need to be remembered about these hallways that Tigers, Panthers and Pirates once roamed. (Kinda sounds like Treasure Island or something.)

Did you know that Grand Coulee High School was the first school in the United States that had electric heat? I just read that in a book published in 1976 “Pioneers to Power”. That is amazing on one hand, but makes perfect sense on the other. Making water into power is what most moved here for to begin with, so why not run electricity once you had abundance? But with that kind of heating system came consequences. Like when the weather stayed too cold for too long. I’m talking minus 30 for 10 days straight. The power bill was so high at the school that they had to move all students to the library and only heat that room and only pay for the principal and one teacher to sit with them. Of course, not all kids came to school those days that were cold. They stopped bus routes to the outlying areas and only the kids that walked to school showed up.

Also, The Tigers boast the only state championship in basketball for our area. In 1960, they won it all and some of those stars still walk the streets of our area. (Side note: I would like to get all the surviving members of that team together someday and interview them.) That must have been a special year.

OK, enough tiger talk. I was a Panther. In the Green and Yellow. In fact I was in the last Panther class; they became Pirates as soon as we left. Maybe two years. (I just started an argument that won’t be over for a while) But this I know. I had some great times here in these halls in the current middle school. My first dance was in this gym. My first breakup, too. New classmates joined us here and stayed for the duration of our education or uneducation for some. This is where we started to realize who we were as people and what we were good at. Kasey Rey and Shawn Garvin started dating in these halls and rooms. I’m just saying.

Next year. It seems so close now. All the details are yet to be worked out, but it is pretty much a fact that all the Raiders, big and small, will be going to school under one roof. It’s a big deal. The New School is upon us. (Pause for cheering). The Lake Roosevelt Raiders are about to embark on an epic adventure, filled with learning, emotions, victories and, yes, failures. They are about to take the Grand Coulee Dam School District to new heights and bigger and better things. Next year’s seniors will have to take the oars of this massive boat and take control and set the tone for years to come. Aim high and hit the mark. That’s what I say and I hope the whole community will rally around the galley of this mighty vessel and support her in every way imaginable. Long ago these schools were built by the callused hands of pioneers to this area. That spirit is still here, we need to harness it and support the future.

Good luck Raiders, in all your endeavors, and goodbye to the Pirate and Eagle. We will not forget you. Your spirit will be carried with us wherever we go.

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