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File photo/The Herald-Dispatch The former Vinson High School on Piedmont Road is now home to Vinson Middle School.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 226th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — Prior to 1934, Huntington's Westmoreland neighborhood had no high school. Students who wished to go on to high school, had to do so at Huntington High, Ceredo-Kenova High or Buffalo High.

In 1934, Westmoreland's Vinson Junior High (named for one of Wayne County's most prominent families) was redesignated Vinson High School. Even so, those students who needed courses such as chemistry, physics, geometry and trigonometry had to take them elsewhere. (The Vinson curriculum would later be expanded.)

The new high school's first graduating class in 1935 numbered only four students - Frederick T. Compton Jr., Dorothy Mae Humphreys, Emma Hazel McCloud and Charleston Allen Wilson.

In their book about the neighborhood, "The Gate to Westmoreland," Dr. Willard Daniels Jr. and Paul Faulks credit Bernard Caldwell, a teacher and coach at the new high school, with successfully proposing the new school's mascot and colors. The tiger mascot and the orange and black colors would remain throughout the school's 64-year history. Caldwell had "borrowed" the mascot and colors from his alma mater, Georgetown College in Kentucky,

In 1952, a "new" Vinson High was built on Piedmont Road. Students moved to the new building from the old high school building on Hughes Street, a few blocks east and one street south. The new building was made possible when Wayne County's voters went to the polls in 1950 and approved the county's first-ever school levy.

Over the years, Vinson made a name for itself in high school athletics. Its football team won five state titles between 1948 and 1957, and the basketball squad took off in 1966 when it won the first of four state championships.

In 1998, Vinson High, Ceredo-Kenova High and Buffalo High were consolidated in one new school — Spring Valley High.

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