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Grass Valley High’s last class to celebrate 50 years

John Hart
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

In what may be a shock to some, the last group of students to graduate from Grass Valley High School will celebrate their 50-year class reunion next week.

More than 50 members of the Grass Valley High class of 1952 are expected at the Alta Sierra Country Club Aug. 3 and 4 for dinner, photos and brunch.

“We’ll embellish all the old tales,” Jerry Angove, class member and past president of Sierra College, predicted Friday.



The class of ’52 was the last to graduate from Grass Valley High School. Later that year, Grass Valley and Nevada City high schools combined as Nevada Union High.

All that’s left of the old high school off South Auburn Street is the annex, a building that now houses Sierra Foothill continuation high school.




Angove will bring to the reunion copies of the last edition of The Shaft, the student paper which appeared June 6, 1952, with the names of the class’s 86 graduates.

NU’s class of 2002 graduated more than 600 students.

Grass Valley’s population, which now exceeds 12,000, hovered around 5,000 in the early 1950s.

The town was close-knit, said Vonda White, chairwoman of this year’s reunion.

“Everybody felt a closeness to one another,” said White, who moved back to western Nevada County after living for several decades in other parts of California.

Grass Valley’s first girl high school president was Estelle Hoskins.

“It was a typical small-town high school,” she said. She married Doug Burns in 1951, a year before graduation. “Everything revolved around athletics.”

She left school in 1951 and earned a high school diploma in 1963. She and Burns, a 1950 Grass Valley High School graduate, moved to the Sacramento area in 1951. They moved back to western Nevada County in 1989 and now live in Alta Sierra.

Life in Grass Valley wasn’t easy then.

Mines were closing, and people were leaving, recalled Angove. He eft Grass Valley to attend Stanford University, the first in his family to attend college.

“Most of us left,” Angove said, who now lives near Nevada City.

The few who stayed worked for Nevada Irrigation District, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. or in the “woods,” either as loggers or for the U.S. Forest Service, he said.

For information on the reunion, call Vonda White at 477-2363.

In 1952 …

Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president of the United States.

Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine against polio.

Albert Schweitzer of France received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Africa.

The Winter Olympic Games took place in Oslo, Norway, and the Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

The Korean War continued.


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