The History of Richfield High School
The following is from the 1923 Sevierian Yearbook:
The Richfield High School came into existence in September 1897, following a vote of the people of this vicinity to establish suitable educational facilities for the student population of this county. Its first teachers were David A. Nelson and N.H. Hayes and its first home was the northeast room on the second floor of the “Old School House” at Richfield. It was called a “High School” but it was merely a ninth grade of the district school, it was later to prove its worthiness for the name it held. The enrollment for the first year was between twenty and thirty students. So successful was the “High School” from the beginning that it was the pride of the patriotic people who brought it into existence.
During the following decade the school failed to grow in numbers. However, it did grow in influence and its course of study was made larger. For the first two years of this decade, O.J. Call managed the career of the new school. With the beginning of the new century, Frank K. Seegmiller took charge of the school as its principal.
The Board of Education let him also act as principal of the Elementary School, at the same time—to keep him busy. For seven years Mr. Seegmiller held this position, which called for multipresence, with very creditable results. During the last year of his work he was assisted by Miss Mildred Forgeon. Also during this year the first student organization, a literary society, came into existence. Sometime during Mr. Seegmiller’s regime the school moved to the Assembly room of the “New School House.” Beginning with the school year 1908-09 a two years course was given. H.E. Jensen acted as principal with Miss Hosmer as assistant. These two conducted the school along the same lines as it had hitherto been working. Thus ended the first decade in the life of the Richfield High School.
The period following for the next three years was a memorable period in the history of the Richfield High School. Howard V. Alston was engaged as principal of the school, with Miss Edith Dimmett as vice principal, and they, with a number of others, established a three years’ course, and the next year a four year course. Thus one step in the formation of a “real High School” was made. The second step was the development of High School spirit and activity: a student body organization was effected whose purpose was to have charge of all activities of special interest to the members of the student body. An organization for boys, the B.B. Club was perfected. A dramatic club also began its work of boosting for better dramatics. A physical education instructor, John S. (Jack) Christensen, who introduced athletics into our school, was made a member of the Faculty. The teams organized that year were basketball, track and field, and baseball teams. John Hood, who was made music instructor, organized an orchestra. The third step was the graduation of the first four year class. The three steps taken during the administration of Howard V. Alston—the inauguration of a four year course, the development of student activities and the graduation of the first four year class—coupled with the growth preceding this time made a “real high school.”
In 1912 the consolidation of school in Sevier County took place, the Richfield High School then became the main branch of the Sevier high schools. During the first three years under the consolidation, Junius J. Hayes not only had charge of the High School, but also acted as high school supervisor for the county; he had a corps of eight teachers assisting him. There were three notable events during this administration: First, Debating was introduced as an activity through the efforts of Mr. Hamren. Second, the students attending the High School had increased to such an extent that it was again necessary to change quarters; a new High School building was started in the summer of 1913 and by the latter part of February, 1914, the High School was occupying its new home. The third notable event was the publishing of the first Year Book. The two years following, the School was under the guidance of Albert J. Ashman. So completely satisfied were the people of the county with the growth of the school during this time that they promoted the one who had stood at the head, Mr. Ashman, to the county Superintendency and put Mr. David R. Mitchell in his place as principal of the High School. The corps of teachers was now increased to nine. Beginning with the year 1920-21 until the present time Theodore D. Martin has been the chief executive of the school, with twelve very able teachers to carry out his instructions. During this administration there have been three very important developments: The introduction of football as one of our athletic activities; the re-introduction of track and field as one of our major sports; and the number of students attending the school has doubled during this period.
The Richfield High School is now an up-to-date four-year institution, modern in every respect. Concerning the educational facilities: We have a faculty of thirteen, who offer a course of study equal to any high school in the State; we have well equipped laboratories for all subjects requiring such; and near by is a Seminary maintained by the L.D.S. Church. In addition to these we have a fine array of student body activities under the direct supervision of the Student Body Executive Committee.
The following is from the 1960-61 Sevierian Yearbook:
Out of the past the present has been made. For many years our “old RHS” has served her students well. Through its doors have passed many thousand who have, each in his own way, been prepared for life beyond high school. To many, the years spent as a student have been pleasant, profitable, and enjoyable. To a very few, those years have meant frustration, disappointment and challenges unmet. But each has contributed to make the total of “old RHS.” Every department has had its moment of glory. The music, speech, Ag., Athletics—all have met with honor and fame. Now as we look at the book of the past, we find it in the story of wonder, fame, glory, challenge, defeat, and hope. Its pages are filled with memories of those who have gone before who were all a part of the “old RHS.”
“The old order changeth,” and the footsteps of mankind will not be stifled in the rut of no progress; for now the doors are wide to the “new RHS.” The bulding, modern and well-equipped in every aspect, leaves nothing to be desired in facilities. This is an RHS of the atomic age. The RHS for just as many thousands in the future as the old has been for the past. Still, there are no differences in the feelings, the love, the hopes, and aspirations of the youth to be served by the “new RHS.” The same school spirit will prevail, for the banner of RHS will always fly high, floating over the shadow of the past and calling all to meet the challenges of the future. The spirit of RHS, “old” or “new,” will remain the same through all generations.
The following is from the Richfield Residential Hall:
Richfield Residential Hall has been educating Navajo youth for over fifty years. This proud heritage of service to the Dine people began in the early 1950’s when Navajo parents requested that their children be allowed to continue the exemplary education they were receiving in the Richfield area while the parents followed the seasonal agricultural work to Northern Utah, and other nearby states.
The first “dorm” was a vacant building just off Richfield’s Main Street where students from 1st through 12th grade were housed barracks style with a local restaurant providing the meals. In 1954 the first phase of the current dormitory was constructed on land owned by Sevier School District. Renovations and additions were made to the facility in the 1960’s, 1980’s, and 2000. Today, the Richfield Residential Hall occupies a campus in a residential neighborhood within walking distance of Richfield High School.
What began as a modest barracks style dormitory for the children of migrant farm workers over five decades ago has evolved to be the premier educational opportunity for Navajo high school – aged youth.