This school year marks Mountlake Terrace High School’s 50th anniversary. Fromdeaths to national championships, from international trips to a Homecoming assembly riot, Terrace has been through quite a lot. Even the campus itself went from falling apart to a “new state of the art school” 18 years ago. Stories from the past may have been buried and forgotten, but it only takes a little probing to uncover them. A few current and former Terrace staff have opened up about the old Terrace years, the changes, and some of the school’s most interesting events.
Bill Rasmussen, head custodian, described his most memorable event at Terrace. “Artwork was being dedicated at the school and there were a lot of important people there, like the mayor, senator,” said Rasmussen. “We [custodians] were setting up tea in the library and quiet, classical music was playing. What happened was a boy (not an MTHS student) overdosed over by the retention pond and drowned. While I was looking out the window watching the fire truck pull the body out, in comes the principal wanting to know what’s going on, frantically telling me to close the blinds. It was like some artsy film. Like the sort of thing you see in a BBC movie. It was so ironic, contradicting, that the dedication for how great Terrace was, was taking place while right outside the window a fire truck is pulling a body out of the pond.”
Science teacher Gil Comeau also remembers MTHS before Small Schools were developed. “To me, one of the most defining features was that the faculty was like family; everybody was together all the time,” said Comeau. “The small school thing broke up the feeling of family…shattered it.” Before small schools, the students were so much like a family, that things started getting competitive, out of control. “There was a riot in the gym during the Homecoming assembly and it looked like the inside of a hamster cage,” said Comeau. “The kids got carried away and were trying to top each other. There was confetti ankle deep, posters everywhere. Finally somebody pulled the fire alarm and everyone ran outside into the nasty rainstorm, just waiting until the fire department arrived,” Comeau said. Since then, the dial on Homecoming has been turned down a few notches. “Homecoming is now much more tame than it used to be and that’s a good thing. Those kids were getting crazy,” Rasumssen said. Not only has Homecoming changed, but the students have, too. “The old Terrace was more ordered, had better attendance, kids were better behaved, there were fewer rules then,” said Comeau. “We could have a Christmas tree in class rooms, field trips were less restricted. In my opinion, it was more fun because there were fewer rules.”
Ed Aliverti, who taught music from 1960 to 1967 and then served as a counselor said, “Since we were the Hawks, we decided to go to the forestry department to see if we could take care of a real hawk,” he said. “They looked and found one with a damaged leg or wing. The science department built a nice area for the hawk and a bunch of students studied [in books] on how to take care of it. They even trained it. We had it for one year, maybe two. Along the way, the poor thing died. We never did replace it.” Although Terrace doesn’t keep up with all the old traditions it used to, the kids are all pretty much the same. They were, and are, teenagers. “Working around teenagers gives you a perspective on life,” said Rasmussen. “I continue to be amused… amazed…by students,” he said.