With three-quarters of a century of material and memories, graduates and fans, and enough red brick to pave a speedway, Senior High’s 75th anniversary celebration almost plans itself.
Lyn McKinney is the librarian at Senior High and is in charge of organizing the school’s 75th Jubilee, set for this August. To do it, she wants to bring in the community — all those with a connection to or a memory of Senior High — to help make the event worthy of the anniversary it celebrates.
“What we’re looking for is a way for people to reconnect with Senior,” she said.
The school opened in 1939, taking the place of the old Billings High School on Fourth Avenue North downtown, which opened in 1913. Billings High grew out of Lincoln School and Jefferson School, which were built on the same plot of land five years apart at the turn of the century.
Once Senior High opened, Billings High School became Lincoln Junior High, leaving Senior as the town’s sole high school until 1960, when West High opened.
And after 75 years, Senior High is now the oldest continuously operating high school in the state. It’s become an integral part of the city.
“It’s not just Senior High,” McKinney said. “It’s the community of Billings.”
And so McKinney is putting out the call, inviting anyone in the community with a connection to the school to come to a meeting Tuesday night to begin planning the 75th Jubilee.
Dennis Holmes, principal at Senior, grew up across the street from the school, graduating in 1981. He sees the jubilee as the perfect celebration of the school and the community that’s long supported it.
“It’s pretty important,” he said. “It’s a culture and a legacy that’s survived for 75 years. And it continues, it continues strong.”
As organizers begin to plan, they want that legacy front and center. They want the community to play a role, so it’s reflected in the celebrations. More than anything, they want to celebrate Senior High and its place at the heart of Billings.
“What’s special about Senior High is the tradition we have here,” McKinney said.