The timeline wall in the hallway of Manteca High’s administrative wing now covers 100 years of memories.
It’s also the labor of love for Account Clerk Mary Jones, who was given the task by her Principal Frank Gonzales to put together a history of the school per decade to commemorate MHS’ centennial.
“I learned a lot about the school, especially during the early decades,” she said on Tuesday.
Jones, who worked a collective 21 years at MHS – she not only attended but practically grew up on the Manteca Unified campus given that her father was the custodian dating back to 1983 – discovered much of her research via the library and perusing old yearbooks.
For that, she’s thankful to Library Media Technician Mary Buchanan and Yearbook Advisor Mackenzie Belme giving her access and use of the materials during the past five months.
One of Jones’ unique discoveries was that of the actual blue prints of the old school tower dating back to May 1922. “It was in wonderful condition,” she said of the drawings found on school property.
Jones went to Frugal Frames in downtown Manteca to nicely display the old architectural drawings.
Some items were donated. Longtime architect Bob Machado, a 1957 graduate of MHS, crafted the Buffalo mascot and a framed drawing of the original Manteca Union High School tower.
The timeline wall traces back to the school development from May 19, 1920 – the governing board back then paved the way for the high school by borrowing enough money to construct temporary buildings on the current site – to 2020.
“Some of the (principals’) messages back then can still apply today,” Jones said.
She presented the school’s history on a message board with a theme for each decade.
The first decade – 1920 to 1929 – is the early years. “I saved that one for last,” she said, noting the long hours it took to research that period.
Jones used 1940 to 1949 to feature the various clubs on campus and recognized the likes of Paul Dawson (cafeteria) and Adelaide Darling (music building), for example, on the naming of MHS facilities for the time frame of 1950 to 1959.
School activities are featured in 1960 to 1969 while the staff members and the demolition of the tower is the focus of 1970 to 1979.
Current teachers and staff members who attended MHS during 1980 to 1989 can be seen in their younger years.
The school spirit theme marks 1990 to 1999 and art teacher Kirt Giovannoni’s kick-off to the Mural Museum captures 2000 to 2009.
Buffalo pride of 2010 to 2019 is highlighted by the MHS boys’ basketball state title in 2016 coupled with football program’s Sac-Joaquin Section crowns and girls soccer’s Kick for A Cure.
As for 2020, Jones used current events such as the demolition of the small gym to make way for the renovations of the coming years.
“She did a phenomenal job,” said Gonzales, who is looking forward to students seeing the newest showcase on campus.