Many people don’t know that at one point, Harbor High School enrolled over 350 students. We had many “schools within a school”.
Downtown day program
Evening Downtown program
We had a program called, The Entry Program for incoming freshmen who would enter school as a group. This program had 4 teachers supporting it.
We housed the GEAR-UP program
We had a Pro-Start Culinary Arts Program which won the State Championship Title We had a Hotel Hospitality Program
We had a Sign Making Program
We had a Video Production Program called Dragon Productions. (We won two Grays Harbor Production Awards)
We had a “Garden” in the lawn next to the alley way before the district decided to have a gardening program.
Several of our students participated in the Skills USA competitions, and one of our students won a state title.
Harbor High has had a long history with the marine industry. Our former teacher, Carl Brownstein is a Shipwright, and was hired to reconstruct a replica of the Lady Washington skippered by Robert Gray. After completing that project, Carl was approached by the Aberdeen School District to create and run a Marine Tech program for Miller Jr. High and Harbor High School. They were first housed in a building near the Junction City Juvenile facility. They later moved to the Historic Seaport location next to Walmart.
Harbor High School students had the opportunity to learn all facets of the Marine Industry, including navigation, shipbuilding, etc.
Our students built several long boats that they would sail all throughout the Harbor and the Chehalis River, rain or shine. These long boats would eventually be used in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and in a music video For King and Country.
We also had the distinction of having a Harbor High School graduate hold the title of the Youngest Licensed Pilot/skipper for a Tall Ship in the world. She was 18 when she was fully licensed. She went on to become a well known skipper in the boating industry holding several licenses for different types of ships.
Another one of our graduates continued working on the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain as a crew/cook member traveling all over the world to different ports.
The Harbor High graduation ceremony used to be held at the Log Pavilion in Morrison Park before we outgrew the space. As a result, the crew of the Lady Washington would sail up river to the Log Pavilion, setting off their cannon to signify the beginning of our graduation ceremony.
After we moved our graduation ceremony away from the Log Pavilion, a video was created by student David Workman, as part of the Dragon Production class. This video was played at the beginning of the graduation ceremony to carry forward the Cannon Salute for the graduating class.
We stopped using this video after the Marine Tech program was discontinued.
Today, we use a Ship Bell to signify the rite of passage, moving from one journey to the next. After receiving their diplomas, each graduate is asked to ring the bell before sitting back with their class
Sidenote: The Bell was purchased by staff donations from a Marine Supply Store. The base was made by Carl’s Marine Tech students.
Walk of Fame
This tradition began with Principal Derek Cook. On the day of the graduation practice, All students and staff would line the hallway in front of the cafeteria. The Graduates would then be introduced one by one using a very loud megaphone by Derek. As the students made their way through the hallway, their fellow undergraduates would congratulate them by clapping, high 5-ing, etc.
At the very end, the Principal would ask the question: Who's Next?
Why Purple and Teal?
The school colors were established by the ASB of Harbor High School under the ASB President Goldi Tademy. At the time, gangs using the colors of Red and Blue to promote hate were predominant in Grays Harbor. The ASB felt they wanted to promote peace and creativity, and yet remain unique, so they broke away from AHS colors and adopted purple and teal as our school colors.
In the year 2000, the ASB decided that Harbor High needed a mascot. They had a survey to gather suggested names, and then a subsequent vote was taken, and the Dragon Mascot was adopted. Not only was it just a Dragon, but they made sure it was a Chinese Water Dragon, because the colors of Purple and Teal are symbolic of the Water Dragon, keeping in line with our history with Marine life.
Over time, the two slogans that have become a tradition are:
No Dragon left Behind
No Dragon Stands Alone
Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon
It has become a tradition that when a staff member retires or moves along or passes away, a Plaque with a small colorful Purple and Teal Dragon is given to them. It traditionally has their name and the saying: Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon engraved on it.
Traditionally, as a Senior has completed all their graduation requirements, an announcement has been made over the intercom.
Attention HLC Staff and Students, it is my honor to announce our latest graduate….
We wanted to have some way to display all the hard work our students put in to finish contracts. At first, we used actual keys with a label on it stating the student’s name and class they completed. They would take these keys on Friday and hang them up. This became a real task each year to recycle the keys, so we moved to a heart made out of construction paper.
Last year, for a senior project a graduating student, Nianna Leontyeva, painted The Dragon hung in the hallway by the cafeteria. Then as students finished contracts, a scale would be given to them and placed on The Dragon.
First Name Basis with Teachers/Staff
First names are used to build relationships with students. It is more personal.
Work individually at own pace
The work at your own pace was in place when we had the Alternative School title. Options were our goal.
We always had a very active and engaged ASB. They were nominated and voted in by the entire student body. Under the direction of their advisor, (Carolyn Snell did it until Katie took over in 1995), the ASB was responsible for organizing the monthly all school assemblies, dances, purchasing equipment to be used for students, etc. The ASB was always responsible for the vending machines, and as such those profits were added into their financial account managed through the District. We had a change in our building administrator and that person decided it was too much work to have an ASB, so it was canceled. When it was disbanded, we had around 20,000.00 in our account.
Personally, I would love to see the ASB come back. Back in the day, we met during lunch hour, and before/after school. I would love to volunteer to be the advisor again and get it going before I retire at the end of the 2023/24 school year.
Originally, we never had a Prom Court. The ASB decided that in a typical situation, Prom Court is decided based on Popularity. For many of our students, they come to HLC to get away from these types of issues. Instead, the ASB, back in the day, decided that everything about Prom would be free. Including, free from popularity contests. Eventually, under a different Principal, we did have one year where we had a Queen and King. But the next year, this practice was dropped again.
We actually did offer some sports back in the day. It really is a matter of having qualified staff members and having a sanctioned program; who could we compete against?
Carl Brownstein had been a wrestling coach before he came to Harbor High, and he offered a wrestling program. Lila Scaftoron was an avid volleyball player, so she organized a Volleyball team. Both these teams competed with other alternative schools in tournaments, and the Volleyball team actually won a huge statewide alternative school tournament. We used to display this award in the front display cabinet. The Volleyball team also was part of the Aberdeen Parks and Rec program so they played other recreation teams in the area.
Our students have also always been able to participate in sports programs at AHS.
The reason we allow students to work in other classrooms as needed
When I joined the staff in 1995, we had no official bell schedule or bells for that matter. Students could work in any classroom they felt comfortable. Students would pick up their assignments from their teachers and work where they wanted. This ended when we lost our Alternative School Standing and became a “regular” high school. A formal schedule was adopted and soon thereafter, a bell schedule.
The reason we have a point system is
We have a point system because our credits are contract-based. When I joined the staff, I was told that 1 point was equal to about 2 hours worth of time it took a student to complete an assignment. Harbor High School has been a model school for several alternative educational programs in the state, Havermale Alternative School in the Spokane School District is one of those programs.
Points used to drive this program. Students were given a Plansheet daily with their earned points on it. We purposely gave our students their own agency to be their own advocates for their education. Students had to earn at least 33 points per week, or they were placed on academic probation until their points increased. The students on Academic probation had to meet with the Principal daily to check in on their progress. This system really worked.
When I joined the staff in 1995, students were only required to attend school for 20 hours per week. They were also required to keep track of their school work hours outside of school and those had to be signed off by someone who could verify them. Also, 33 points, kind of supported this outside of school work.
When we lost our Alternative School Standing, we then had to keep track of attendance in a traditional way.
The Neutral Zone
The Neutral Zone was a great program run by teacher Cheryl Barrett. On Friday night, students would be “Locked In” until they left. The program provided Food, lots of food, music, games, activities, etc. It was open for a 24 hour period every weekend. This was a big commitment, but it was awesome.
Ultimately, because of one thing and another, the Zone was canceled.
Stuff from the Display Case
For many, many years, Harbor High School had a very large and active Team that participated in the American Cancer Society Walk-a-thon. We had a team made up of students and staff. The art teacher, Joe Cox, would have his art class make luminaries that were entered into the luminary competition. They won this competition for at least 5 years. The ceramic dragon that once was in the display case was actually a winning luminary that was proudly used during one of the marathons.
Several Marine/Boating Program awards
As mentioned earlier, Harbor High had quite the Marine Tech program. They participated in several competitions up and down the Coast. They won several awards that were displayed in the display case. This was a big honor and a source of pride for our school and our district.
GHC Art Show
Harbor High always participated in the GHC Annual High School Art Show. Our students always placed. It was an exciting time. Most of our staff would attend the Judges Announcement of who placed. Some of the pieces our students created had been displayed in the display case.