Photo Credit: Beltrami Studios

SB High School Celebrates 50th Birthday

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Thursday September 22, 2011

Dave Mustaine is the greatest metal guitarist of all time. That’s what Joel McIver concludes in his 2009 book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. But, you ask, how on earth is Dave Mustaine related to South Burlington education? Both Mustaine and South Burlington High School (SBHS) were born on the same day: September 13, 1961.

No metal guitarist—great or otherwise—was in evidence at SBHS’s September 13th half-century birthday bash, but music teacher and local musician Dave “The Truth” Grippo did play a mean version of “Happy Birthday” on his alto sax. The song followed SBHS Principal Patrick Burke’s detailed, and often humorous, biography of SBHS. Burke traced SBHS’s growth through five decades, each decade’s description introduced by a song popular at the time.

When then-Principal John Herbert opened SBHS’s doors in 1961, the school housed approximately 550 students in grades 7-12. Now the school has over 900 students in grades 9-12, as well as over 25 clubs, 40 sports teams, 6 bands, 5 choruses, and extensive arts, technology, and drama programs. In 1985, the U.S. Department of Education recognized SBHS as one of the top high schools in the country with a Blue Ribbon Ceremony; in 2002, the Vermont Business Roundtable named SBHS the top Vermont high school and gave the school a Gold Medallion Award.

At the September 13th birthday gala, students and staff sang “Happy Birthday,” formed a giant “50,” and enjoyed birthday cake. A “Grand Celebration” in the summer of 2012 will involve 50 years of alumni, faculty, staff, administration, board members, and other special guests. The school will also welcome its first 50th Reunion Class—the Class of 1962.

Joanne Abate of the SB School District’s Alumni & Development Office has been working diligently to plan and carry out the SBHS birthday festivities. She especially wanted to thank Beltrami Studios (creator of the “50” photo), Creative Habitat (supplier of the birthday celebration balloons), and the SB Fire Department (loaner of the truck that made the “50” photo possible).

When told about the confluence of Dave Mustaine’s and SBHS’s birthdays, a SBHS student (who wanted to remain anonymous) exclaimed “Geez, I didn’t know Mustaine was that old!”

SOURCE: Bill Wargo, Correspondent