The East High Alumni Page will presume to speak for the thousands of East alumni to thank all of those who had a part in the establishment of East High School and for the opportunities it has offered over the past half century. To those who have served in its administration, its faculty and staff, teachers and building engineers, cooks and architects, the former students of East High School, East Junior High, and East Elementary School, thank you.
Fifty years ago, on September 1, 1948, East High School first opened its doors to the students in its area.* It was the seventh Memphis public high school and stands as a magnificent work of architecture. The first principal of East High School was Mr. J. P. Snider.
East has had a fascinating history. It wasn't even named until the month before it opened for classes, leading some to call it the "no-name school" in the months preceding. The cost of the school was kept secret from the public until after it opened. And it was essentially at or above capacity when it opened.
East's first principal, J. P. Snider, quickly perceived the student body was one headed for college, so the curriculum was decidedly college preparatory in nature. The school was a popular one, with students reportedly transferring out of such prestigious private schools such as Hutchison to attend East. Today, with the problems of primary and secondary education frequently a major public issue, it is amazing to think of the place East High School must have had in our community.
As the years went by, East has had its ups and downs. Apparently there was a time in the late 1970's it may have been considered a troubled school. The campus has seen violence just in the past few years, and a recent administration and staff led the school into a financial embarrassment.
East High, however, is reporting that its graduates are offered millions of dollars in scholarships every year. The school is not immune to the problems of public education in the United States in the 1990's, but it appears to continue to stand out from the others, still offering a generous opportunity for those who will take it.
On this occasion of the 50th anniversary of East High School, we salute those who have made it what is was and those who now strive to continue to make it a school of notable value to its students and to the community.
For a more detailed history, please see The History of East High School
*The actual date of the first day of classes is recorded differently in several places. A student handbook indicates classes began September 1, other school records indicate September 3, 1948, newspaper accounts indicate September 7, 1948.
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