Tom Hill was in the first graduating class of Groveton in 1957.
I graduated in 1958, Groveton High School opened in September 1956. The students came from Mt. Vernon High School, the area that Groveton now encompasses, Hollin Hall, Hollin Meadow and the various points along Rt. 1 down through and what used to be called Gum Springs. They also came from Hollin Hills, they came from over in Jefferson's Manor, Huntington, Virginia Hills.
It just so happened that I was the sports editor of the orig1nal paper. The Tiger Rag was Just a mimeograph paper and we had the problem that you have now with it. First, we had the hassling as to what comes first and what gets the space in the paper. We had three or four names nominated what to call the paper. The Tiger Rag is the one that was voted on by the people in the journalism class who ran the newspaper.
The Tiger Rag came out monthly, each student subscribed and paid for the paper. I don't recall what the fee was, a dollar, dollar and a half, and it was taken to the homeroom on the first school day of the month.
Was there a change in attitude when the students came to the new Groveton?
At first they were amazed. You have to bear in mind that Mt. Vernon is quite old. It was not run down, but the halls were painted a drab color. Then you come to the new Groveton which was at that time the first front level school in the nation with all the so-called modern conveniences. The students were amazed and proud.
I could tell you some stories on that first year. We did get a terrific amount of school pride. The students compounded together and we bought what we called Hex-O-Bars, which is the tiger which you have in the show case now. And we also bought the two cubs for the Hex-O-Bars. They used it for their games played away and home. The students also took their little tigers to the games.
What athletic facilities were there?
None outside of the gym. The football team everyday dressed then ran down to Bucknell elementary school and practiced on their play ground, ran back to the High School, undressed, showered and whatever, and went home. All home games were played at Mt. Vernon for the first and second years. The basketball team had a gym, the same gym you have now. With a student population of 1,000, we could only seat 250 people which was a bad break at that time, as I'm sure it is now. The baseball team had to go on a bus to whatever field they could find. Most of the time it was over to Virginia Hills elementary, sometimes it was down to Ft. Belvoir to practice. The same with the track team. They always went to Ft. Belvoir to practice, because we had no track fields in Fairfax County at all.
The first year we set up what we called a steering Committee. Now we did quite a bit that first year and I don't think any student government since have come anywhere near what we did.
The only thing that has to be done to Groveton is there has to be more student involvement, there has to be more student pride from what I can see, Now I don't know where or how it can be done like I said, our pride really came in a freak-fluke thing. But the situation you have is entirely different. We were basically a group of people pulled away from our school which was Mt. Vernon, and taken to virgin territory, transplanted, and told this is your school. We had to nick-name it we had to do all these various functions for it. The three names were the trojans, or the bears or the tigers. Then we put it to a student vote and the Tigers ran away with the trojans coming in second and the bears were virtually out of the running. We set up the campaign to get a stuffed animal and this brought a lot of wow support and this is what really started the school going in the right direction.