The Argus Archives – The Halfway Point


Dylan Hess

As well as an increase in the sheer volume of information written each year, The Argus also developed its own consistent style over the years.

Dylan Hess, Staff Writer

   In our last issue, we took a look back to the first issue of our school newspaper, published in 1916. Over the 106 years from then until now, the newspaper has developed into what you are now reading. As of 2022, the halfway point between the first edition and today’s newspaper lands in 1969; a very interesting year in history.

   A lot was happening in the 1960s; the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the Space Race, and finally the Moon Landing in ‘69. By then, Gresham Union High School (what the school was referred to at the time) had grown to a school of several hundred students, and it looked mostly like how the ‘old building’ looked before the remodel in 2018. By then, The Argus had come a long way from its beginning in 1916.

   Without even looking at any of the words on the pages, the development of the newspaper from 1916 to 1969 is very clear. Rather than a traditional newspaper with headlines and sections, the first edition in ‘16 was actually a small booklet. It wasn’t until 1950 that the first photograph was included, although The Argus had long included illustrations before then. Over time, the content of the newspaper also shifted from personal stories and poems to a more official format with sections, interviews, and advertisements. Finally, The Argus began releasing more issues each year, as the staff grew and printing became easier/cheaper (as such, this article contains stories and information from multiple issues).

   One of the front-page stories of the January 21, 1969 edition is a short feature article about a unique visitor to GHS.

   “Chan Young Chung, representative of Uijoung-Bu Comprehensive High School in Seoul, South Korea, has come to Gresham for one month of study and observation,” writes the (unnamed) author of the article.

   Chung first talked about the differences he noticed between high school here and back home.

   “Mr. Chung’s first and most obvious observations were that of the class size. His classroom usually enrolls fifty to sixty students whereas Gresham’s are no more than thirty.”

   Chung also complimented the school’s facilities and the lack of tired students. However, GHS was only one of the many schools that he visited.

   “Mr. Chung arrived in Washington D.C. four months ago. First, for two weeks of instruction in cooperation with the Office of Education and Department of State (in D.C.), then for tours from Chicago to San Francisco. Mr. Chung will observe at Gresham for one month including one or two secondary schools in the district.”

   Events also featured in this issue include an ancient Roman banquet held by Latin students, the new ‘Introduction to Computers’ and ‘Natural History’ classes, and visitation opportunities at OSU and U of O.

    The March 11, 1969 edition of The Argus covers a wide variety of topics; upcoming and current events, features, news, and sports. One section that stands out is the 2-page opinion section, one page written by the editors, and one including guest opinions/letters to the editor. While school bathrooms and SRO’s were a few of the controversial issues this year, it seems like the hot-button issue back in 1969 was the school dress code.

   In a section titled ‘students to be heard’, co-editor Vickie Rooks writes “Stemming from the dress code controversy, a small standing committee has been formed to arbitrate the dispute.”

   One example of when this ‘dress code controversy’ occurred was at sports games. 

   “Last year pants at athletic activities became a matter of hot discussion,” writes sports editor Gary Levitt. “During the basketball season, girls were allowed to wear such apparel for half the season. But, the administration did not make a point of letting the girls know about it.”

   The article mentions one example, where a girl attending the game was sent home to change after walking a mile to get there. She left, went all the way home, changed, and was let in, along with her friend who was wearing cut-offs. However, the February 25 edition does mention an exception where girls were allowed to wear pants at school for a short time due to unusually hot weather. In the ‘guest opinion’ section is another article geared towards the boys’ side of the dress code.

   Guest writer Debbie Edmond writes, “To beard or not to beard, that is the question. Many young men (and young ladies, too) have continually voiced their mutual discontent with the ‘no hair on the face’ rule at good old Gresham High.”

   Again, the administration supported the dress code to (allegedly) keep up the school’s appearance and reputation, but Edmond disagreed completely.

   “Here is another familiar reply to protests voiced by students: ‘If the community voters see some bearded brutes roaming the roads of beautiful downtown Gresham, the school bond issues narrowly passing as it is, will sink into complete and utter nothingness,’” writes Edmond. “If the citizens vote ‘no’ because they see some hairy faces, then I think that their sons and daughters in high school show more maturity than they do.”

   The March 11 edition also includes reminders about the upcoming “Swingin’ Spring” dance and musical “The Music Man” (both took place at GHS), a feature on a Belgian exchange student, and an interesting article called ‘School and Marriage, Are They Compatible?’, that talks about the (apparently acceptable at the time?) rules surrounding married high school students. For instance, married couples are exempt from extracurricular activities like sports and clubs, but if they both go to Gresham, one of them needs to transfer to another nearby school like Centennial or Barlow.

    The April 22, 1969 edition of The Argus, (the ‘cub’ edition) contains a seemingly innocuous advertisement that is actually a piece of Gresham history. 

   “For Aftershow Refreshment Visit REXALL’s – 5 E. POWELL.”  This is an advertisement for the Gresham Rexall Drug Store, and it was a business in downtown Gresham from 1903 all the way until 1996. In fact, it was operated out of the same building that Jazzy Bagels is today, and the mural on the wall outside is actually a depiction of what the drug store interior looked like back in 1910. If you want to see it for yourself, it’s just a short walk into downtown Gresham from GHS.

   The April 22 edition also includes stories about student elections, an international ping pong tournament (which could be entered in the cafeteria for the costly price of 25 cents), a teacher being injured in a car accident, an anti-smoking PSA, and an article called ‘The Mystery of Morality’, which is an article discussing the hippie movement (which was in full swing at the time).

   As you can see, the newspaper (and our school) has developed a lot since the first edition in 1916. In the period of over a century since the school’s founding, The Argus has been along for the ride, providing information and entertainment to the students of GHS; a goal which has persisted until today.