Roseville High School comes alive with tales of former Tigers

By: Megan Wood The Press-Tribune
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– Editor’s note: This article is one of a continuing series of stories about the icons of Roseville. Today’s feature is part 2 of the history of Roseville High School. What is it that keeps them coming back? Ask many of the Roseville High School alum who have returned to the school in one capacity or another, and they’ll tell you there was no master plan in place to return to their alma mater. “I really had no intention of coming back,” said former assistant principal and 1964 graduate Scott O’Connor. “There’s just something about the school, the ties, something that makes people want to be back.” Rita Garcia can attest to that. After graduating in 1961, Garcia returned to the “high school on a hill” in 1985, as secretary to the assistant principal. Recently retired, Garcia worked for 13 different assistant principals including current RHS principal Brad Basham. “I think it’s the traditions and the culture,” Garcia said. “Roseville has so much history and that is reflected in the traditions at the high school and you can’t take that away.” Bill Clancy, a local resident responsible for personally raising the funds to light the baseball field and again to build a new grandstand in 1949, passed away while Garcia was a student at RHS. “Everybody wanted to go to his funeral so what the administration did was bring his body in the hearse down Campo Street and then around the baseball diamond while the student body stood outside to pay their respects,” Garcia said. “It was unbelievable. That’s something I will never forget.” Other lasting traditions at RHS are the basketball homecoming called “Casaba” every spring, bonfires, student designed floats and the parade in the fall. Of course, the biggest tradition is that the school mascot continues to be a tiger, although its costume has changed considerably over the years. Elise Newton, valedictorian for the class of 1982, had the honor of donning tiger ears to fulfill her role as school mascot during her school years. “We didn’t have a big costume or anything like they do now,” Newton said. “It was a lot of fun to be out in front getting the crowd going.” In the past, Roseville’s only high school had rivalries against Placer and San Juan. But in 1966 when Oakmont High School was built on Cirby Way, the Vikings sailed into town and quickly became the main rival for the Tigers. In 1970 Roseville High School’s venerable two-story main building deemed unsafe in the event of an earthquake and was torn down and replaced by an un-intimidating ranch style building. Another monumental event for both Roseville and the Tigers was the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley. According to Garcia, the track team helped run the Olympic torch up old Highway 40, an exciting event that many students ditched class to witness and support the track team. “I always played by the rules, so I didn’t go,” Garcia said. “I still regret not going because that was exciting. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” The lifetime experiences of the high school on the hill are alive and well in the generations that have walked the halls in the near 100 years of its existence. Many Roseville graduates attended with cousins and often had the same teachers as their parents. “Working there you’d see your classmates’ children and grandchildren, it was amazing to see all of these generations coming through,” Garcia said. “It’s things like that that keep Roseville going.”