Two schools with some similar circumstances being examined for closure
Helper Junior High
Helper Junior High was erected in 1936 by a Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Project
Up until 1959 it also housed the 10th grade, then the school district built a new high school in Price and the 10th graders were placed there.
In the early years of the 40s and 50s all the junior high students were bused from the various coal camps that surrounded Helper. An estimated 350 students and up came into Helper during the peak years. This included the 10th graders.
Now the school houses 7th, 8th and 9th grades and all three combine for about 200 students.
The elementary school that feeds Helper Junior is Sally Mauro Elementary, which was built in 1966. Before that school there was another elementary school in Helper. Known as the Helper Central Elementary, it burned down in 1964.
The original junior high did not have a gymnasium. The one that is there now was added in 1952, along with the football field. Before that the gym classes were held at the civic auditorium, where the coach maintained an office.
Today the school draws its enrollment from a wide area that encompasses Helper, Kenilworth, Spring Glen, and some of Carbonville.
The school plays its sports in the Castle Valley Athletic Association which has as members Mont Harmon Junior High in Price, Canyonview Junior High in Huntington and San Rafael Junior High in Ferron. Teams compete in football, volleyball, basketball, track and wrestling. The drill teams also have a competition as well.
Helper has been a feeder school to Carbon High ever since it was constructed and has been rivals with Price Junior High in the early years and Mont Harmon in later years in sports and other competitions.
East Carbon High School
East Carbon High School first opened in 1959-60 and the early graduating classes were around 110, according to local sources, although the numbers are not documented.
The first high school was built when there was a junior high and an elementary school so it housed only the 10,11, and 12 grades.
From almost the beginning school populations in East Carbon began shrinking.
In 1963 the ninth grade was added to the high school when the district closed the junior high there. Petersen Elementary then housed K through eighth grades.
In 1966 there were about 90 graduates at the high school, but by the early 1970's the eighth graders had moved to the high school and it's estimated that there were about 300 students in the school at that time. The grade schools in Dragerton had closed by this time and Petersen housed students up through the 7th grade.
In 1992 the district attempted to close the high school when the population of the facility hovered around 220 (for five grade levels) but chose not to.
Last year East Carbon graduated 16 students. Currently the school has an enrollment of 118 students, with 18 from other localities.
The school is presently listed in the 1A classification for competition in sports and other events and played games this last year in Region 18. Next year it will play against teams in a new Region 19, with all the schools it competes against existing in the southeastern part of the state.
The school presently fields teams in baseball, track, golf, volleyball, wrestling and baseball. It does not participate in the small 1A football league, although that league continues to grow in popularity among the smallest high schools in the state.