Story of CHS

The story of Carson High School
Posted on 01/31/2022
This is the image for the news article titled The story of Carson High SchoolA Story Collaboration by Patt Quinn-Davis and Ananda Campbell.

Meander through a Carson High School yearbook from the 1930s or ’50s or ’70s, and read the graduates--Paul Laxalt, a Nevada governor and senator; Bob Crowell, a popular Carson City mayor; Lisa Schuette, Carson City supervisor; Grace Bordewich, well-loved and admired teacher; Ken Furlong, Carson City sheriff. There are the CHS students from familiar ranching families, the Lompas, the Longs, the Bordas, the Andersons, the Schultzes. Or the moms and dads of children who grew up and settled in the capital city, raising their children who also became CHS alumni.

CHS students are part of the tapestry that is Carson City, and they and their stories are now part of The Story of Carson High School, a far-reaching display of the school’s 100 years of high school yearbooks, 70 years of newspapers, oral histories that include first-person memories, memorabilia and scrapbooks, now being developed through the CHS Library.

It is the ambitious project of two high school educators who have dived into the intricacies of bringing the dream into reality.

For the many years Patt Quinn-Davis taught English and journalism at CHS, archived yearbooks and newspapers were housed in her classroom, one of the school’s book rooms, the school library and various offices and classrooms. “I often thought how wonderful it would be for others to see what my students and I could see every day,” she said.

Ananda Campbell, library media specialist, shared that vision. “A core value of @SenatorsLibrary is equity in design, practice and resources,” said Campbell. “As a repository for the historical archives for Carson High School, this core value was remiss. We have documents and materials stored away, accessible only to those who venture in to request.”

When Quinn-Davis knew she was retiring in 2020, she assured Campbell she still wanted to unify the school’s artifacts. “I could see display cases of all those yearbooks, newspapers and memorabilia that could be rolled out to public gatherings so the community could read those stories, those high school memories. Ananda built on that, seeing how the materials could be used in the classroom,” she said.

“Because Patt has long been a proponent of bringing these archived items out of storage and into a public display, our partnership was born,” Campbell said.

Campbell and Quinn-Davis wrote the grant to receive the yearly $5,000 education award from the Rotary Club to fund the initial digitizing of the school’s yearbooks and linking the database to the school library’s website as a research resource, and for display cases. Another $11,000 grant was received this year from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to scan the 70 years of newspapers and the remaining CHS yearbooks.

The digitization, said Campbell, “will allow remote access to peruse the yearbook collection page by page. This led to the creation of a timeline of Carson High School history, titled, The Story of Carson High: A Review. This interactive tour of Carson High history will eventually incorporate personal narratives submitted by Carson High alumni. The Story of Carson High weaves a connection between CHS students past, present, and future. It is an honor for myself and the students to present this to the community.”

The project has grown into a collaborative venture between Carson High's @SenatorsLibrary, Quinn-Davis, the yearbook staff, and Rotary Club of Carson City whose education grant funded the initial digitization and the Nevada State Library and Archives, where the digitizing has taken place. Carson High students are editing the digital historical review and will help create the physical display.

The next phase of the project is a public display to highlight yearbooks, newspapers and memorabilia. The project leaders are now seeking funding and donations for a display case that would be housed in the school’s entryway. Aside from the digitization, the newspapers have been catalogued and stored for preservation. This portion of the project work was shared by Quinn-Davis and the library students.

Quinn-Davis and Campbell see the project as one that will continue to unfold with student projects of related interest that can become part of the collection. The project will also be open to community memorabilia donations. The public is invited to visit The Story of Carson High School as the project continues. To view the work in progress, please go to:

Sidebar to The Story of Carson High School

Carson City Supervisor Lisa Schuette may have thought she knew her mom. But it wasn’t until after her mom’s death in 2009 that Schuette learned in reading Nancy Gaskill’s Raytown High School yearbook that she had been center on the basketball team and that her nickname was Torchy. Torchy for her red hair. Center on the basketball team despite being 4 feet 11 inches.

Fremont Elementary Principal Jennifer Ward, Ph.D., sees how school yearbooks capture the history of a community, placing students in a continuum of time and memory. Ward thinks of the stories her dad tells walking the halls of a high school in the 1960s that became the junior high in Ward’s time. CHS Principal Bob Chambers considers such examples as more reasons for The Story of Carson High School archival project.

Besides the personal and family memories, Chambers sees the project as a chance to tell the story of this place. “Carson High School is a really old school with a really long story to tell,” he said.

The Story of Carson High School will display digitally and physically the school’s 100 years of yearbooks, newspapers, memorabilia and scrapbooks with the help of the Rotary Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services grants. The digitizing is being done by the Nevada State Library and Archives.

For Schuette, Class of ’81, the project captures Carson City’s legacy in the people and places included in the pages of the publications.

“Every student in Carson High School is ultimately part of the tapestry of that year’s story,” Schuette said in reflection.

She thinks of neighbors like the Ingersolls, whose son, a 1962 CHS graduate and University of Nevada, Reno student body president, died tragically in a 1965 parachute accident. Lifelong friend nurse practitioner Kelly (Dory) Fluitt is another who lives within the pages of CHS yearbooks, along with her sister Nanette. Their mother Pat Dory was a school district employee. There are the teachers and administrators, names still familiar through the generations, whose faces grace the yearbooks. She remembers hearing about Carson City School District Superintendent Herb Chiara, whose children she grew up with, and the positive influence and generational connections with staff including CHS teacher Duane Glanzmann. “I had Mr. Glanzmann’s grandchildren in my health class,” Schuette, a former district teacher, said.

For Ward, Class of ’91, the project provides a connection through the generations. She recalled meeting a group of alumni from the 1960s to give them a tour of Carson Middle School on King Street. The middle school has morphed to its present population from a junior high school and before that Carson High School. During the tour, Ward heard the alumni’s stories of attending high school in that building and thinking about later studying there when the King Street property was a junior high. That story, through photos and words, remains in the CHS Carneta yearbook and newspaper collection, what Ward calls “a visual document of part of my history.”

Chambers, having spent his first year as CHS principal during a historic pandemic, after years as a teacher and administrator in the district, immediately went to the history of what the project provides. “CHS existed during the Spanish Flu and other interesting events through the lens of a teenager’s mind. What the world was like. To go back to history through that lens is really cool.”

For Ward, The Story of Carson High School with its collection is “that chance to remember the who, what and when of events. It’s a visual that jogs the memory of those special human beings that we were blessed to be with.”

Donations are accepted, particularly for the display cases to house the books, newspapers, scrapbooks and memorabilia. In the future, meaningful memorabilia will also be accepted. The public is invited to visit The Story of Carson High School as the project continues. To view, please go to:

Patt Quinn-Davis was an English and Journalism teacher at Carson High School. She retired in 2020. Previously, she was a journalist and editor at The Nevada Appeal in Carson City and The Daily Democrat in Woodland, Calif.