KAYSVILLE -- When students first started attending Davis High School after it was built 100 years ago, the educational environment was a far cry from today's standards.
In the early 1900s, education was a bit askew, with 13 towns boasting their own school district, curriculum and teacher qualifications that varied wildly, and facilities that were wholly inadequate, according to narration given to students at Davis High School on Wednesday as they celebrated the school's extensive history during a 100-year commemorative assembly.
Students learned their school became a vision in 1911 as a plan to build a central high school offering a four-year course of study, though the location of the new school was hotly contested with several communities that petitioned to have the new school put within their boundaries.
Ultimately, the site in Kaysville was chosen because it was 220 yards from the exact geographical center of the county, according to school officials.
Over the years, Davis High School developed some unique nicknames and urban legends. One particularly cave-like classroom in the basement became known as the "dungeon," and it was thought by some that a swimming pool used to exist, but had to be filled in because of several deaths.
Principal Dee Burton admitted there was such a legend, but said there was never a swimming pool at the school, just an old girls gym that was no longer needed.
Burton did, however, confirm that the school used to have what was dubbed by the students as the 'sin bin,' -- slang for a confessional -- where the teachers could relax and have coffee.
The building got an update when a new school was built on the same site in 2004. Burton assures everyone that the ghosts from the old building have not been brought over to the new school.
Mostly, he hopes the kids learn about the school's rich history.
"We are trying to teach our students to have a real appreciation for our traditions and understand that we stand on the shoulders of those that came before them," he said.
Leaving the auditorium after the assembly, students had to walk past the sea of cars in the parking lot, something that wasn't seen in the first few decades of the school. Students learned that most of the school's first graduating classes used the Bamberger Line, the electric train, to get to school, as the district had very few buses, and students driving cars to school was not common until the 1940s and '50s.
Ninety-nine-year-old Walter Parrish, of Layton, one of the oldest living graduates from Davis High, was honored at the assembly, and remembers riding the train. The train would slow down and the kids would climb aboard.
"I used to help the girls onto the train, because they couldn't run as fast as we could," Parrish said.
Another one of the school's long-standing traditions is the school mascot, Dart Man. The mascot actually came to life when one of the sports announcers during a school football gamed commented that one of the football players looked like a dart moving across the field.
The school quickly developed the mascot into a large yellow dart, with the letter D on the front, but when the mascot got into a mock battle with Viewmont High School's Viking mascot and the Davis Dart lost because of its cumbersome size, they converted the mascot into a gladiator-type man in 1994. The current Dart Man, senior Zach Jarris, was surprised to learn this -- he thought the switch happened long before 1994.
"I'm glad they switched, because the evolution of Dart Man is the peak of our tradition here, because he represents all that Davis has to offer."