OGDEN -- As Ogden High School undergoes renovations and a makeover, school district officials are confident its students will continue to become leaders with the help of alumni.
The community's commitment to education was evident in the decision to build a landmark school in the middle of the Great Depression, said Ogden School District spokeswoman Donna Corby.
That commitment has propelled students to success in the past and is continued in the legacy left for current students, said Janis Vause, Ogden School Foundation executive director.
"We saved the best of the old, then added to it to bring the kids into the 21st century with all the technology they need," she said of the school. "I'm just so proud to be a part of this."
Some students remember teachers, others the building itself, and some the community of students and family. Whatever the reason, it seems nobody forgets Ogden High School.
"It's just a love affair with the school," said Spencer Eccles, Wells Fargo chairman emeritus and chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores DorA(c) Eccles Foundation.
"It was the magic of the architecture and the commitment of the teachers to learning, to helping the students learn," he said.
"And the memories and the friendships the students have of their time at Ogden High School. That is just so special and ingrained in them that everybody still feels the affection for the school after these many years."
It was that atmosphere that has turned out leaders across the city, state and nation and will continue to create new leaders, Eccles said.
The physical presence of such an important and beautiful building contributed to education, said David Halversen, former Tupperware group president.
The city has changed a lot since he graduated, Halverson said, but he still feels a pull from the building every time he comes back to visit.
"There was a sentinel on the hill," he said. "I think it's the most beautiful building in Ogden. There's something about that school on the hill that made it special.
"It was a gathering place, something where if you went there, you felt pride. It was an important school."
Other notable alumni didn't pay attention to the building at the time, but say it now anchors their memories and their loyalty to Ogden.
Younger students did not have the same appreciation for the building as their parents did, said Deborah Bayle, CEO of United Way of Greater Salt Lake.
What propelled her success was being part of a motivated and hardworking student body. She said her classmates were very involved in the community, and that dedication spilled over into her career.
Lt. Gov. Greg Bell also said he didn't think the craftsmanship that went into the school was a huge factor in his education.
Instead, teachers who pushed students -- Bell remembers his debate and speech teacher, Portia Douglas -- and a varied student body provided a rounded education.
The way the school boundaries were created made for a diverse class, he said.
"In Ogden, you had all income levels, racial groups, poor, rich and in between. And that was really neat to associate with people of different backgrounds and orientations."
Bell said his connection to the physical building came after adulthood, when he began to appreciate the beauty of the architecture and the quality of the work.
"The Ogden High School building is amazing inside and out. It's just wonderful to build something that's functional and also beautiful," he said.
"This was in the depth of the Depression that it was built, during a very different economic time. Someone had a vision of not only function, but beauty and a monumental feeling. It is a grand building."
While many people feel a connection to their school, Bell said, the nature of OHS in particular inspires alumni and creates a sense of pride and connection.
Corby said the dedication to education that built the school during the Depression still exists in alumni and residents in the school district.
The bond residents passed to fund the remodel is proof of that, she said.
"When you can contribute to someone's future, that person goes forth as a lifelong learner, and I think that's what we have seen demonstrated at Ogden High," she said.
Eccles said his time at OHS has been an integral part of his life and of the lives of many of his friends and family.
"Certainly many citizens and community leaders have come from Ogden High School and have represented the orange and black in an outstanding way. Ogden High had a profound impact on my life.
"I love the school deeply and am lucky and proud to be an Ogden Tiger."