1975 to 1986: A Decade of Dual High Schools

  • There were so many students enrolled at Sperry High School in the early to mid-1970s that classes were held on a split shift. This meant students attended on two different schedules starting the day at separate times and sharing lockers with someone else.

    Patience, however, was wearing thin - for students and staff alike. After giving the topic much thought, the district devised a plan. To alleviate crowding, a second high school was needed. With a potent mixture of excitement and trepidation, Roth High School opened in 1975.

    The schools cleverly acknowledged the split by creating a double yearbook featuring two front covers - one for Sperry High School and one for Roth High School. Every high schooler was included in that edition. “The schools have begun to each find their own paths,” the yearbook editors acknowledged. “We as a staff have tried to bring those paths together for one last book of memories.”

    Of course, the new high school needed its own nickname. A clever, if not obvious, suggestion, was to call the students “Roth Meteors,” playing off of a connection to Sperry Comets. Other creative options included the “Roth Childs” and the “Grapes of Roth.” In the end, students went in a different direction and the Roth Royals were born.

    Between 1975 and 1986, Roth High School and Sperry High School became rivals. However, as student enrollment declined, it became clear two high schools no longer were needed. A merger was approved in 1983, but the Board of Education delayed it after updated enrollment statistics indicated that more students than expected would attend Sperry High School by 1987.

    In January 1986, the Rush-Henrietta Board of Education decided once and for all to consolidate its two high schools. The decision was not easy; the vote was 4-3 in favor of the move. Maria Banerjee, Richard LaBombard, David Pixley, and Ruth Stork supported the measure. On the other hand, James Blount, Wendell Morgan, and Diana Strickland did not. At the time, Sperry High School had 1,180 students and Roth High School had 928.

    In September 1986, all of the district's ninth-graders were relocated to Sperry High School. The next year, in September 1987, remaining Roth students followed in their footsteps. It was time for the community and its students to reunite as one.

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