The year was 1969 and a lot was happening in the world. The Beatles made their last public performance, the first Concorde test flight was conducted in France, Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its debut, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the epitome of the American muscle car, was introduced and the Woodstock music festival attracted nearly 500,000 rock-n-roll fans,
The first man landed on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission by the United States and Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon.
The Vietnam War raged on as did protests over the fighting. The price of a daily newspaper was 10 cents in 1969. The cost of a new house was $15,500. The average income per year was $8,550. The cost of a new car was about $3,270 and putting gas in it would cost only 35 cents per gallon.
The new Fenton High School (FHS) opened its doors for the first time in September 1969. The top song was Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in by The Fifth Dimension, and it became the Fenton High School Class of 1970’s class song.
When students first walked through the halls of their new high school at the start of the 1969-70 school year, they likely did so feeling a combination of excitement and fear. This was a whole new world for them, in a building much larger than the schools they had attended for the years prior.
The new school, administration building and athletic facilities, all part of the high school project, and the land were built for $6.25 million. Many people in town were outraged. According to Ruth Beardsley, wife of the late Richard Beardsley, a member of the Board of Education at the time, “People in town were upset that the building was so far away.”
On top of that, it had a swimming pool, considered frivolous at the time.
Donna Seger, who with her husband Ken Seger, managed the A.J. Phillips Museum for many years, agreed. “It was way out in the country. Kids were used to walking to school right here in town.”
To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Fenton High School building on Donaldson Drive, the Tri-County Times has been working nearly all summer to put together this special section highlighting many of the students and their activities from the 1969-70 1970-71, 1971-72, and 1972-73 school years. It would be impossible to include all of the school happenings of those years and we apologize if someone or something significant was inadvertently left out.