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Mary E Lacey, Desertrat

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Popular Poetry (History)
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  3.  Peace is Prevalent

A Strange Alma Mater (Revised)
by Mary E Lacey, Desertrat

Friday, September 05, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Next year,2009, Yuma High will be celebrating it's centennial. It's the oldest school in Arizona. This is how it got started.


Above the Colorado River, a structure sits,
the infamous Yuma Territorial Prison, a
constant reminder of the wild, wild, west.

When you looked at the site, no guard was there,
No prisoners in striped uniforms all about the place
And it would surprise some in the morning of 1910,
came high school students when the first school bell rang.
The year before, their school was in a Courthouse, but
the courthouse burned to the ground, a new home for
the high school had to be found.
Too much to deal with, there was just no space, they couldn’t ask the government, Arizona wasn’t even a state. The city fathers thought it over and though they hesitated to use it, it was the only structure that could house all the students.
So from 1910 to 1914, they made do with what they had. Though a prison was strange for a school, the students kept their spirit and said it wasn’t all that bad.
In 1913, they had a losing football team, they played
against the Phoenix Coyotes, and miraculously won. The Coyotes screamed and shouted, you don’t play fair, you’re a bunch of Criminals!
There was anger everywhere, people calling each other names,but as time wore on the awful name was soon forgotten, anger put aside, and soon the name Yuma High Criminals was worn with pride.
Yuma High School's first graduating class, how many were there, you might ask.  In a picture you can see, the number of graduatees was all of fourteen!
In 1914, a brand new high school was built, the prison became a museum.  With pictures of notorious outlaws living in the West.  The outlaws called it "The Yuma Hell hole" because of the searing heat, a term now historic, and now extinct.
When you go through the museum, it contains mostly pictures and facts of inmates.  It makes you want to cringe at some of thier awful fate.
But over in the corner, sits a picture of some students, having their picture taken,  an important part of the museum. The first class of Yuma High standing there, though the picture is badly faded. 
One hundred years later, Yuma High takes up three city blocks.  It has many departments and is called state of the art.
But when you look at the new school you have to wonder about that very first class, what it was like back than, and how unfortunate there is no one left to ask.
This is dedicated to Yuma Union High School, and all
100 years worth of students and teachers.
                         Mary E. Lacey





















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Reviewed by Kathleen McDonald 9/16/2010
A wonderful story. Thank you for sharing

Reviewed by JMS Bell 9/7/2010
Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 10/15/2008
Hello Mary,

Yes indeed, a very informative historical write . . . well done!!

Take care,

Reviewed by Michael Jones 9/10/2008
Mary I find your piece thought provoking and informative. Out of decay comes rebirth, from lost souls to enightened children, from criminals, to preachers, teachers, scientist, doctors, mayors, governesses, and pressdents. From rubble to reformation and a learning institution than nearly consumes a neighborhood. Thank you! Peace!!! And God Bless the great new School and museum.
Reviewed by Michelle Mead 9/9/2008
OK, from the second comment, I am confused, but from what i read, this is a well-written history weaved within a poem. I am always impressed by people who can pull this off. I love history, but i couldn't write history poems like this. Good work.
Reviewed by Sara Coslett 9/7/2008
What a great story! I bet those kids in the old prison were quite a handful. And considering their football win, I have a feeling they felt a little inspired by their surroundings. What shines through the most though, is your overwhelming pride for Yuma High School. ~ Sara
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 9/6/2008
A fine dedication. Thank you for sharing the history, Mary. Love and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Jon Willey 9/5/2008
an excellent tribute and history lesson -- thanks for enlightening me -- this was kind of one of those, necessity being the mother of invention things -- may the peace of the weekend be yours -- JMW
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 9/5/2008
Hi Mary:

This is very interesting indeed!!! And very informative!!!
Thank you for sharing!!!

Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by John Flanagan 9/5/2008
A very interesting chapter in history, Mary, thank you.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 9/5/2008
Congratulations to Yuma High as they celebrate their Centennial! WOW! GREAT write, Mary; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D

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