JMHS Class of 1969 Will See Many Changes at Their Alma Mater

The first senior class at John Marshall High School will holding a get-together this Friday and Saturday in observance of the 50th anniversary of their graduation. The class of 1969 graduated 450.

These class members attended JMHS for only one year, having spent their previous high school days at either Moundsville, Sherrard or Union.

Many things were different, including the curriculum. Everything was a first.

The welcome brochure given to the students when they arrived that year read:

“The academic atmosphere of John Marshall High School will be one of freedom and inquiry. Teachers involved in the program will be permitted, encouraged, and expected to experiment with various methods and innovations that will lead to improved student performance.

“Teachers will help the student develop a desire, initiative, and responsibility for his own learning through discovery and inquiry and not reliance on the teacher as the primary source of information.

“Teachers will also exhibit the highest qualities of their profession and be an inspiration to the students — academically, morally, and ethically.

“Meaningful individual laboratory work cannot be realized unless the student is motivated; given direction, demonstrations, and explanations, and instructed as to procedures, background, etc. For this the student needs to react…to a teacher, lecture, movie, demonstration, or resource person. He must have the ability to see, hear, take notes and concentrate. With these abilities, the number of students reaching out to any particular teacher, movie, etc., is not really important — it could be 10 or 300. Without these abilities there is no magic number.

“The REACTION phase of learning is economically and efficiently facilitated for the curricular areas by the following:

“The auditorium, with its instructional areas; auditorium classrooms; a large group instruction area on the main level, and by regular classrooms.

“Students also need an opportunity to express themselves, to exchange ideas, to discuss mutual problems, to challenge one another…to interact with each other. Here, the number of students involved at one time is extremely important. Six as the minimum, and 15 as the maximum is considered effective. This INTERACTION phase of learning is facilitated by the small group discussion rooms, and the small conference rooms.

“Effective learning is a very active process. Some students learn best by doing. The majority of all instructional space in John Marshall is devoted to laboratories for this reason. The ACTION phase of learning may consist of individual or small groups of students performing experiments, reading, research, writing, drawing, operating equipment, or making computations.

“The same number of students for the same amount of time in all subjects cannot be defended in light of the above. Yet, for years school buildings have been built and are being constructed today to mandate this lock-step approach to education.

“Thanks to the willingness of the Marshall County citizens, the foresight and courage of the Board of Education to break with tradition, the creativity of the architects, John Marshall High School has the potential for developing an individualized program.”

The Marshall County Board of Education included James Kinsey, Paul Harler, Mary E. Voltz, Joseph Cassis and Kenneth Rogerson with Ernest D. McNinch as superintendent.

Another statement in the yearbook read as follows:

“Three Great Classes United — The senior class came together as a new and different one than ever before. We became a kind of meltingpot of nearly 500 students from their high schools. Each had its own traditions, but each had to meet the challenge and be a productive member of a new class in a new consolidated high school.”

A new word that they learned right off the bat was “modular.” It was pointed out to them that the word is structured around student needs, interests, and pacing, rather than around the typical four, six or eight periods found in most high schools. To achieve this, the school day was broken into 10, 15 or 20 minute segments (mods) that could be organized into larger blocks of time very easily: thus some learning could happen in chunks of several hours or a full day. In a flex-mod time, space and staffing was organized in a customized manner based on student progress.

In case you don’t remember, John Marshall is located on a 3.7-acre site at 1300 Wheeling Ave., Glen Dale.

The bond passage was in May 1965, with contracts awarded in August 1966.

Ground was broken in April 1966, with occupancy taking place in August 1968. The completion was May 1969, and the dedication took place in May 1969.

Construction design was structural in a manner, so that pillars were load-bearing. Also all internal walls were non load-bearing so that they could be easily and economically moved, eliminated, or otherwise changed as program need changed.

The project’s total cost — including site, building, equipment, landscaping and fees, was approximately $5.5 million.

The building, etc., was financed by a $3,895,000 bond issue approved by the voters in May 1965.

Approximately $1.7 million was accrued from interest earned from bond as well as through grants secured through federal Housing Authority, Vocational Education Act, Appalachian Development Act, and Elementary-Secondary Education Act.

The construction at the time the building was built was approximately $15.54 per square foot. By the way, building areas contain a total of 233,288 square feet.

Throughout the years there have been upgrades; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that a major change took place.

This improvement was such that those attending the 50th year reunion or others who have not been on campus in recent years will have to take a second glance.

Outside work has included the parking area in front of the building, a new front entrance and on the north side, a new entrance also.

There are no longer two commons, as the previous ones were combined into one. The administrative offices have changed and students no longer have to go outside to get from the main building to the building auditorium as the two have been joined. If the 1969 graduates had toured the school some five years ago, they could have gone to their locker, but new lockers were a part of the most recent upgrade.

Speaking of people, if the 1969 grads had toured the school recently they might have run into one of their teachers, as Joe Komorowski is still the National Honor Society adviser.

One of the 1969 graduates, Mike Ferro, will be leading the tour as he still knows his way around the building because he is a substitute teacher.

Speaking of teachers, at least 20 of those who graduated in 1969 became educators in Marshall County Schools, some as teachers at JMHS. In fact, one, Tom Wood, was a principal.

As to the administration that first year, Samuel Wiseman was the principal.He whad been principal at Union High, while Don Haskins, who was assistant principal at Cameron High, along with John Gillespie and Charles Fazzaro who were also assistant principals.

When the school opened in September 1968, one of the two sections of the activities building was not completed and because of that physical education consisted of many days bowling at Reilley’s Bowling Lane across W.Va. 2.

There were not as many sports as there are now, tennis being the only girls’ sport. There was a Girls’ Pep Club.

By the way, the class officers were Jeff Martin, president; Tom Wood, vice president; Jane McNinch, secretary; and Lois Blake, treasurer.

The club motto was: “He who findeth knowledge findeth life.”

The class flower was yellow rose, and the class colors were gold and brown.

Among those honored at Awards Day were Valedictorians Margie Young and Debbie Wilson, with Student Council Members of the Year being Reva Litman and Tom Wood.

This weekend’s event will be as follows:

Friday at 11 a.m., golfing will take place, and at 8 p.m., there will be an informal get-together at Ruttenbuck’s across W.Va 2 from the high school.

Saturday will consist of a tour of the school beginning at 10 a.m., and that evening there will be a dinner-dance at Generations in Wheeling.


The format for the seventh and final “Hungry for History” Summer Speaker Series on Thursday has been changed.

Instead of going to the Cockayne Farmstead, those wishing to participate in the event that day are to be at the Mount Rose Cemetery in Moundsville at 11:30 a.m. for a 90-minute walking tour with food to be provided after the tour.

Attendees should RSVP by calling 304-845-1411. Those participating will be able to locate the famous and infamous people that are interred at this historic location.

Mount Rose Cemetery is Moundsville’s oldest cemetery. Mount Rose has been a burial site since the late 1770s. The first person buried there was William Sims who died on Nov. 5, 1799.

The cemetery was formally established in the late 1800s as a graveyard for Civil War veterans, and it is the resting place for many of Moundsville’s founders and heroes, including Jonathan Roberts, who settled Round Bottom in 1796; Capt. Joseph Tomlinson, Jr., the first person of European descent known to see the Grave Creek Mound; Col. Jonathan H. Lockwood, who was wounded in three separate Civil War battles (there is a Civil War veterans section); Galbraith S. McFadden, the first warden of the penitentiary; and Davis A. Grubb, a best-selling author.

The remains of Captain Foreman and 21 of his men from the “Foreman Massacre” where transferred to Mount Rose Cemetery on or about June 1, 1875. There is also a Baird Family buried there in 1845; Evan Roberts and B.M. Spurr are buried at Mount Rose, as are numerous World War I and World War II veterans.

As to the summer speaker series this is the second year for such an event which is hosted by the Marshall County Historical Society, and this year sponsored by BB&T Bank, Hartley & Straub Accounting, Harvey Goodman Realty and Main Street Bank. Jim Stultz, secretary/treasurer of the cemetery board, is working to hopefully have the cemetery placed on the National Register.


The Cherry Trio musical group will be providing music at 7 p.m. Friday at the Vue Bar & Grill Outdoor Stage at Grand Vue Park.


A State of Marshall County Conference will be held from 7:30-9:30 a.m., on Sept 5 at the banquet hall at Grand Vue Park. Breakfast will be included.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Charles Zelek of the U.S. Department of Energy. Other speakers will be from the Marshall County Commission, WVU Medicine/Reynolds Memorial Hospital and Marshall County Schools.

Since the seating will be limited to 100 those planning to attend are to RSVP to the Chamber of Commerce at 304-845-2773.


Don’t forget to keep voting for the Penitentiary in the “Best Haunted Destination” 2019 contest.


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