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The Student News Site of Arcata High School

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The Pepperbox

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Through the years: AHS legacy

My grandma sat out on the concrete curb in front of the school, ankles crossed out in front of her, lunch on her lap while she laughed with her friends. My mother leaned back onto the palms of her hands, pressed into the grass of the senior lawn beneath her. I roam the same halls my mom walked in, and her mom before her. There are a select few of us at Arcata High representing the third generation of Arcata High students.

 

Maclay/Replogle Family

“I think something that’s special about all going to the same high school is that it helps us connect and relate to each other, where Grandma kind of understood my high school experience and I can kind of relate to yours in ways we wouldn’t be able to if we had gone to different schools,” my mother Merissa Maclay said. 

When she went here, she liked English and loved her biology class with Cindy Condit.

“She rocked. She was funny and pushed us to be excellent and I think the teachers that I liked shared their authentic personalities with us,” Maclay said. She continued, “I think it’s maybe a little bit more progressive even than it was and it has always been a pretty progressive place. A tolerant place that supports and encourages the diversity of its student body.”

My grandma, Debra Ryerson-Replogle, enjoyed taking all of the business classes offered at Arcata High. The program inspired her professional path.

“I ended up getting a job from the school,” she said. “I started my whole work career based on the business classes that I had taken and the experience that I had, and I got my first job right out of high school,” Ryerson-Replogle said.

 She loved playing sports here and “liked sitting out on the curb with my friends at lunchtime,” Ryerson-Replogle said. “They had a store on campus so we would always buy a little bit of this and that and sit out on the curb in the sunshine and visit.” 

She said having Culinary and AAI classes might be better than the Home Ec class she took because, instead of a little of everything, it’s more focused. “They probably have more computer classes. See, computers when I graduated from high school weren’t a thing. In fact, in one of my business classes we did business machines and it was adding machines, nothing was computerized. So that would be the biggest change, probably technology,” she said. “The only thing I can think of that’s changed, because the school looks the same to me when I drive you onto it, is the performing arts building.” 

 She also spoke about the lower field and how they didn’t have that when she went there. Ryerson-Replogle said that it is very fun having her daughter and granddaughter go to the same school because she knows the campus so well. 

“I think things like that are different if you’re going to the same, you know, Ivy League college that your parents graduated from, but it is still fun.” 

Maclay said she hopes their legacies at Arcata High make me feel proud. “I hope it encourages you to do your best and I hope you’re proud of your school and your identity as a Tiger. It’s like we’re on the same team.”

Debra Ryerson-Replogle’s senior photo in 1976
Merissa Maclay’s senior photo in 1999
All three generations together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryant/Zanotti Family

Kloe Bryant is still relatively new to the realm of high school. As a freshman here, she’s enjoying going to sporting events and finds her high school journey more to her liking than that of middle school. 

“My mom sent me here. It was always known I was going to go here because my grandpa went here, my mom went here, my sister went here, plus my uncles and aunts, so it was kind of just a given.”

Bryant’s grandpa and mom were both born here and decided to stay. 

“[I don’t think their legacies affect me] because I don’t have the same last name as my mom nor my grandpa, so that’s a big difference. It’s not like teachers know [me] unless I tell them.” 

Thinking about her mom’s high school experience, she remembers stories she’s heard as she’s grown up.

“My mom told me she remembered playing hockey in the gym without shoes on–they were in socks and they would slide around.” 

Comparing their experiences, Bryant said that it’s less strict, but simultaneously more strict.

“When my mom was here she was telling me about they weren’t allowed at the pool during any time of the day, that was all blocked off… but I also feel like we have more freedom–I think that also goes into us having phones and the technology we have,” Bryant said.

Her mom, Teri Zanotti, said she had a good time at Arcata High; her graduating class were all friends and the teachers and staff were nice to the students, she said. She also enjoyed going to sporting events, bonfires, and she enjoyed Foods class. She still enjoys cooking and baking like she was taught.

“The biggest [change] is the parking lot,” Zanotti said. “It has become an even more pain in the a** than it was when I was there. We didn’t need the idiot stops for one, and it was easier getting in and out. It seems like they keep changing to the parking lot to make it better–it’s never made it better.”

She said class requirements to graduate have changed. 

“There are also more bars and gates around school and new lockers. They look good, much better than what we had. Most things have stayed the same.” 

Bryant said she feels “kind of cool” to be an Arcata High legacy student. 

“When the teachers knew my sister or my mom or something that makes me feel kind of good. It is pretty cool when I’m talking to teachers.” 

Zanotti said some teachers loved her and were excited to be able to teach my kids, while some staff members were not. 

“One comment made a few years ago was ‘Ugh the Zanotti’s are back.’ Good or bad, my siblings and I made an impression on the staff,” she said. “My dad was a very good student with very good grades. I was not a student like that, I did cut class, I had fun in highschool, people who knew my dad probably thought I would be as dedicated as he was, but realized I was my own person, I am sure my kids experienced or will experience the same thing.”

Bryant has a lot of connections in sports that she wouldn’t have without Zanotti’s legacy. 

Zanotti said, “I don’t want my legacy to impact my children.”

Teri Zanotti’s freshman photo from 1998
Toni Zanotti (Bryant’s grandpa) as a freshman in 1971
Bryant re-creating the photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flores/Genelly Family

Sofia Flores is a sophomore at Arcata High and said, so far, her time here has been a rollercoaster. She loves doing music here and has always known that she would go to Arcata High. Flores loves history and wants to do political science when she’s older. 

“[My] grandma, grandpa, and all of their siblings [went to Arcata High.]. My entire family on my moms side went if they lived here. Yeah, my moms cousins, my moms sister, my grandma, all her sisters, my grandpa, all his sisters, yeah, everybody went to Arcata High.” 

She said she has connections with some of her teachers because of their legacy. In general, Flores considers her high school experience to be similar to those of her relatives. 

“Classrooms are definitely different but not a lot has changed,” she said. “I even have some of the teachers my mom had and friends of my grandparents.” 

Her and her grandma, she said, both participated in student government. 

Flores’s grandma Jana Genelly said her time at Arcata High was good. 

“I enjoyed my time while there,” Genelly said. “I didn’t belong to any cliques so I was friends with many diverse groups.”

She said she had some great teachers, enjoyed Halloween activities and, despite not being interested in dances then, also liked Homecoming. Her favorite subjects were English, History, and independent study Psychology. 

“My daughters were in AHS school district so it was a no brainer to send them there,” she said.

There have been changes at Arcata High, Genelly said. 

“Kids now are more aware of each other. I had five gay classmates. None of us knew they were until we’d graduated and set off into the world. I think high school kids are more aware of what’s happening in the world and react, in most cases, emphatically.” 

She described this change as good. Genelly doesn’t think her having gone to AHS has affected either her daughters or granddaughter because they’re “separate times.” Genelly said she knows that she’s lucky her high school experience was so positive. 

“For many, high school wasn’t a pleasant experience. Trying to contact classmates for reunions was not easy and many told me that they had no friends in high school or hated being there…Not that there weren’t times that were tough, high school age kids can be brutal, but all in all it was good for me. I had and maintained lasting friendships through the last 53 years that were started in high school.” 

Flores’s grandpa, Robert Genelly, also considers his high school journey as a positive influence on his life. 

“Going to high school during the sixties was certainly not boring with the onset of rock, the vietnam situation, Nixon, the usual teen angst and luckily a great community and family,” he said. His favorite things involved surfing, motorcycles, friendships, and family trips. The subjects he liked were Physics, Spanish, P.E., and Woodshop, and those were because of nice teachers that he appreciated. Genelly said he had no involvement in Flores’s attendance at AHS, that it was a proximity situation, but he’s still really happy it happened the way it did. 

“I hope not much has changed [at Arcata High],” he said. “I hope it’s still a safe place for young people to grow and learn.”

Sofia Flores’s sophomore photo this year
Marisa Genelly’s senior photo in 2001
Jana Genelly’s senior photo in 1971
Bob Genelly’s senior photo in 1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pereira/Hansen Family

A senior at Arcata High, Jared Pereira, is a sixth-generation Humboldt person. Both his mom and his mom’s dad went to Arcata High before him. He likes the school and his experience is good because teachers here teach in a way that inspires his passion to learn. Pereira said his mom and grandpa think their legacies should affect him but they don’t. 

“My mom was class president and all that stuff for multiple years and did a lot of sports, which I do too, but I’m not involved in student government or anything like that. I don’t know if I’m living up to her expectations but I don’t really care that much.” 

Since his grandpa and mom went to Arcata High, he said he assumes the parking lot has gotten bigger, there are more buildings, and the student body has decreased. There are also different subjects now, as well as AP classes. 

“There used to be a thing for like–I know that there used to be like a room where teenage moms had to go during the school year,” Pereira said. “They had a dedicated classroom and a daycare for their kids here, which is kind of crazy. Yeah, times have changed a bit.” 

He said that Arcata High is probably significantly different than it was, but doesn’t know it what ways. 

“I guess girls sports weren’t really encouraged as much. My mom always tells me that they weren’t encouraged to work out at all during basketball and volleyball. Now they are, obviously. Working out is a normal thing for boys and girls but it didn’t used to be back then.” 

He knows a lot of people he wouldn’t without his mom’s Humboldt history. Being a third-generation Arcata High student makes him feel proud, he said. 

“As opposed to another high school, knowing that I have some family heritage here…My sister went here, my mom went here, my uncle went here, my grandpa went here, all of his friends went here… My great-great grandpa Oscar Nelson came over 1884 from Norway so that’s like my whole backstory in my family.” 

His great-grandpa used to be the principal of Stewart School in “the 40s or 50s or something,” he said. “It’s just cool to still be here and I probably won’t go anywhere for work, I’ll probably stick around.” 

Pereira’s mom is named Lisa Hansen. She had many positive things to say about the school.

“My four years at Arcata High were extremely positive and transformative,” she said. “In high school I regularly pushed myself outside my boundaries and experienced tremendous personal growth socially, academically, athletically, and in leadership.  I felt I had my family, the AHS student body, my teachers/administrators/coaches, and frankly the community of Arcata as a whole to thank for encouraging and supporting me in that.” 

Some of Hansen’s favorite things to do while she was attending Arcata High were planning events in student government and going to sporting events. 

“Heading to Tony’s–one or two, there were two locations at that time–was par for the course before or after the game and/or dance. Pizza at Round Table–now West Side–movies at the Arcata Theater or the Minor, with its cool balcony, and a sundae at Bon Boniere was a fairly normal weekend, sometimes with a bonfire at Mad River Beach.  On Saturday mornings I particularly loved running at the Marsh and heading to the Farmer’s Market.” She said she felt nearly all of her teachers at AHS were excellent.  She said Photography with Anne Bown-Crawford was a highlight that taught her the basics of design and English with Julie Angles was awesome; she still uses the knowledge from those classes daily. 

“Bio 1 with Cindy Condit was always engaging–I’ll never forget dissecting sharks, Bio 2 with Louis Armin-Hoiland was what motivated me to major in Environmental Science in college,” Hansen said. “I’m a mean typist thanks to Mrs. Rocha, and I will always remember Mr. Dorman, sitting on his high stool at the podium, chewing gum, making Geometry fun.” 

She was elected freshman and sophomore class president, ASB VP her junior year, and ASB President my senior year. 

“My AHS leadership advisor, Kathy Baer, was one of my strongest rocks, and her husband, Howard Baer, was our vice principal – all the kids loved him.” 

Arcata High always seemed pretty inclusive to her, Hansen said, but she thinks it’s probably even more inclusive now. 

“Although AHS was always very competitive academically, the academic rigor has certainly increased and I feel the emphasis in music and fine arts has greatly expanded. When my dad was at AHS, it was a larger student body–McKinleyville High hadn’t yet been born, so I think for him it was a boisterous and active student body and he had a very positive high school experience.” 

She said she encourages her kids to create their legacy, and “the expectation has always been there that they should push themselves and contribute to a greater good.” 

She said she’s learning to have faith in Pereira listening to his voice, and supporting him in forging his legacy at AHS and beyond. 

“Ultimately, I feel Arcata High and the activities I chose to participate in challenged and prepared me exceptionally well for setting my goals in life, and fostered my creativity and determination in figuring out a path to reach them,” Hansen said. “I think the same can be said for my kids, and hopefully one day, ‘Gen Four’, my grandkids!”

Gerald (Gerry) Hansen’s senior photo from 1958
Lisa Hansen’s senior photo in 1993
Jared Pereira’s senior photo 2023-24

 

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About the Contributor
Ilana Maclay
Ilana Maclay, Feature Section Editor
Ilana Maclay is ready to start a new year at the Pepperbox. She has written mostly feature and news articles but is ready to broaden her writing beyond what she has done in the past. Last year, she worked at The Pepperbox as a reporter, writer, and news editor. Ilana hopes to bring new ideas to the table this year and help others with whatever they might need guidance in.
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