With its distinct prefabricated rock panels and 24 periods a day, Roy High School was innovative and iconic when it opened its doors in August 1965. And members of the first graduating class remember that they had the chance to be innovative as well.
"I still take a lot of pride in a lot of decisions I was able to take part in," said Larry Palmer, who was in the 1966 first graduating class. "It was a wonderful time in my life. Anything to do with Roy High, I'm very proud of and hold dear to my heart."
Palmer played the lead in the school's first play, "The Music Man," and served as the boy's association secretary while at RHS.
"Any elected student was also part of executive council, and we all had an equal vote regardless of our position. It made it very interesting for all of us. We were the ones that made executive decisions as to how school would be run," said Palmer, who also co-wrote the school hymn with fellow student Holly White (now Swan), and teacher Robert Wood.
Robert Knudson played football and baseball as a member of that first graduating class and remembers how everything was brand new.
"We got to set our own traditions. We're the ones who set the colors and the mascot, the Roy Royals," said Knudson, who still lives in Roy.
His sister, Ann Knudson Jackson, graduated in 1972 and has been involved with the school since then as a booster and supporter. Her children graduated from the school, and she is a secretary at RHS. She and Palmer remembered choosing the school colors.
"We took the black from Weber and the gold from Bonneville," said Jackson. "That's where we got our colors."
Before 1964, students from Roy attended Weber High School, but as it overflowed, students from below the tracks were sent to Bonneville High School, until they were reunited as the first graduating class of Roy High School.
"Bonneville had the blue, gold and white," said Palmer, who went to Bonneville for his sophomore and junior years. "There was a lot of sentiment that we loved the gold and white, but we had to have a different option than the blue, and that ended up being black."
Knudson said it was nice to be able to rejoin his junior high friends for classes and on school sports teams.
"I loved it," he said. "It was great for me, and the senior class liked the idea of coming to Roy High School and graduating. We were a fairly close-knit class."
Knudson said the football team, under the direction of Ted Campbell, was able to beat both Bonneville and Weber and have a winning season, despite having played together on a "sticker burr field" for only a short while.
"Those first few games we played on that field, you would be tackled or tackle somebody and have sticker burrs all over you. It was better when the grass actually grew, but there were a lot of sticker burrs. And having to run and do some of the drills where you hit the ground, it was packed with sticker burrs. We were pioneers on the sticker burr field for Roy High School," said Knudson.
Palmer also remembered that the school had innovative class periods, with 24 a day.
"Each class period was 18 minutes long," Palmer said. "So you'd maybe have a class for one period or three periods. It was really weird; it was an experimental thing. I think that lasted for four or five years, and it was actually kind of fun."
Clark Puffer was athletic director at the school from 1965 to 1970 and then a director of research and dissemination for the Kettering Foundation, an educational foundation based at Roy High that taught new ideas, such as the RHS class period concept, to other schools. Puffer said RHS was the perfect place to try new things and work on improving education.
"I have some real fond memories of Roy High and its initial opening and the things we tried to do," he said. "It was really quite different. Courses weren't just in regular periods of time like you normally consider in the day of a high school. For example, different subjects had different blocks of time based upon the time needed for that subject matter. Some subjects were taught for one hour a day each day of the week, while others might be taught for two hours."
Jackson, who experienced RHS after the school switched to a more traditional schedule, said that although times have changed since those tradition-setting days, with students busier with jobs and cars, Roy High has a sense of home about it.
"We have a lot of alumni that teach here," she said.
"There's a loyalty and a lot of community support. Once you're a Royal, you're always a Royal."