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History (courtesy of

The first high school classes in Mesa began in September 1899 on the second floor of the red brick north Elementary School, later rebuilt and known as Irving School. The first Mesa Union High School district was organized on December 26, 1907 with John D. Loper as Superintendent. The Town Council had leased all of Block 20 to the University of Arizona for 99 years to use as experimental farm. This was the land bounded by Center and Macdonald, Second and Third Avenues. It didn't take long to discover that the block was not large enough, and so, on January 4, 1908, they sold it to the school district for $75. Construction began immediately on the building known as "Old Main". The 1909 graduating class graduated from that original twelve room building. The school had a main floor auditorium with a swimming pool in the basement. The auditorium was used for assemblies, with folding chairs for the early comers and standing room only for the rest. Ten years later, eight more rooms were added plus a small auditorium-gymnasium. During basketball games, spectators sat in the balcony (above the freshman section) or on the stage because the gym was not wide enough for sideline bleachers.

In 1936 the WPA and PWA provided funds for new construction and the New Building was constructed west of the Main Building with an arcade in between. The land for this was purchased from Harvey Bush, for $4000. A new gymnasium building which included an agriculture shop and auto shop, was also built south of the Main Building -- the new site for school dances and basketball games.

On October 1, 1967, Mesa won their homecoming football game against rival Westwood High. That night students returned to find a disastrous fire, started in the science lab, completely destroying the sixty-year-old "Old Main". Classes continued to graduate from the old campus until 1972 when the new Mesa High was built.



Some traditions at Mesa High have been propagated for over 100 years. Traditions include Homecoming Football game, dance, parade, and carnival, the bonfire out at the soft ball field, and singing "Carry On" at the end of every home athletic event. The bonfire also included the tradition of the burning of the Westwood Warrior. This tradition was founded on suspicions that Westwood had burnt down the "old main" campus after losing the homecoming game. A tradition of more recent invention: T-shirts in purple or gold, reading "BAM" which stands for Be Atop the Mountain. MHS even holds a traditions assembly in honor to Zedo Ishikawa who coined the school's slogan "Carry On". The video originally states that Zedo died breaking up a fight between two dogs when the shotgun fired. In his last words he stated "I dont think ill make it to the Gilbert game tomorrow night, so tell Coach Cutchie and the boys to CARRY ON" Every year students are told the story at the traditions assembly!



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