You remember high school, right? It's that
magical time of life where a young adult finally
experiences that first taste of freedom...and totally
\makes an ass of themselves in the process.
Salem has six such places - each with its own unique
personality - which will be made painfully apparent.

Here's a curious (and telling) fact: Until
the construction of the "High School of Babylon"
(West Salem in 2002), all of the high schools in
Salem were named for European tribes.

Let's begin with the first high school in Salem -- my own alma mater --
North Salem High School (formerly just Salem High School).
Ahhh...there she is...the WPA-built beauty herself.
The sense of dignity you get from this photo is the
same kind you get from an old family that has
long lost its money, but not its influence.

See that bell tower? Before the big crackdown on climbing about
on the roof of the building, there used to be a grand old
tradition of painting the big steeple. By the way, there's no
bell there.

As you enter the building from the front, you run into these plaques on the front - above the doors.
Now, I know the building was put up in the early 1930's, but defense of the state? Wow.

You're damn skippy, this is the home of the Vikings!
This is the outside of the gym. You'll be seeing
this kind of shot more than once throughout this
scholastic jaunt.

Let us have a closer look at those doors...

No handles...

These are the windows to my old Japanese class.
I guess there's still some Pearl Harbor animosity lurking
in this building.

Lou Littlejohn Field. It's more known to be the home of the
Pride of the Vikings Marching Band and Colorguard than
the home of the perennial Valley League cellar-dwelling football team.

Oh, before you "Enter to Grow in Wisdom" at the stadium,
you'd best know the rules. This goes doubly for you
pesky middle-schoolers.

Yes. Those are butt-prints. Don't ask.

Lookie! Brick People!
Actually, these bricks sponsored the concessions
stand at the staduim - and "pavilion". See how well
they're cared for?

Look up from the bricks!
It's Chastine the triumphant!
She's a McNary grad -let's not linger.

This place just got a gajillion times cooler.
No one ever found where the shelter actually was, though...
It's a shame, really. We could have used it.
Adieu, North Salem...

It would seem that in the 1950's, there was
a great split in the city. Not feeling content with
the grand dame of the ORIGINAL Salem High,
a splinter group in the southern area of town
very nearly started a municipal civil war.

I give you the second high school - devoted to the ideals
of this untrustworthy and radical sect of Salemites - South
Salem High School.

Stupid Saxons.

(Please note that the author of this site makes no claim against bias. He went to North, after all.)

This is the front entrance of the building... I think.
It's such a confusing layout. Think "one long-ass hallway"
that goes nowhere. Oh, there used to be a middle school
buried in this building - adding to the weirdness.

This is the gym.
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of opponents more than
baby blue and off-red.
Stupid Saxons...

This WAS the entrance to the middle school part of the building.
Now, it's the "annex" entrance. Riddle me this, Mathman:
if a building is one continuous hall -- even through here -- how
can there be an "annex"? Stupid Saxons.

Let's take a gander inside...
hmm...Early 1950's interior design at its FINEST!
You can also see the LOOONNNGG hallway. I assume
it leads somewhere.

Bennett Field.
Slaying ground of Vikings.
Stupid Saxons.

Leslie "pool". Wanna take a dip?

This wil be the only time you'll ever see me
want to get into the building.
As you can see, I don't cotton to signs.


The great seal of the stupid Saxons.
What's with the Olympic rings? Methinks that
there's going to be another school
that'll take issue with that...
Let's get out of here - this place is giving me a rash.

School number three - McNary!
See that blue and white? Get used to it.
Oh, and though technically this McSchool isn't in
Salem (it's in a town on the northern border called
Keizer), it's still in the Salem-Keizer School
District and it's still applicable...sort of.

No turning back now...

OOO! Look! They got their steet named after them!
All of the street signs in Keizer are blue and white. a few state football championships and
watch the whole burg go all willy-nilly...

I had to get this out of the way...
Here's your requisite gym shot - complete with jingoistic
color scheme and mascot worship.
Hmm...let's take a closer look at the mascot, shall we?

It's a Viking! it a Saxon?
I know! It's a Vandal!
oorrr...a Visigoth?
I'm so confused...

Front of the school.
It's so...festive, isn't it?

Students sit in these rooms and get knowledge stuffed in their
heads. It's so very a maximum-security kind of way.

Blue, white, and dreary. The McNary way.
If you go into the school through the front door, this
is the view that greets you.

Let's have another look at the inside...


You probably can't read the writing on the wall (heh)
but it says, "Life is like a drawing without an eraser."
Ain't that the truth?

I mentioned football. Well, here's where the
(insert generic barbarian mascot here) team plays it.
Flesher Field. In the...uhhh...flesh.

Sorry middle schoolers, Nary loves you about
as much as North Salem does.
Thank you for your cooperation!

...and next to the stadium entrance, you see this...thing
In blue, no less.

Ok, this is too much.

There was a pay phone here once - I think.

Well, la-tee-da.
Look who's the man.
Too much blue...too much depressing prison atmosphere...
I really want to get out of here...

Awww....crap - no dice.

Jeebus! This place IS a prison!!!

FINALLY! My favorite part of McNary!
Number four on our hit parade...

Remember the Olympic rings in South Salem's seal?
These are the guys that will take exception...
Sprague High School. Home of the Olympians.
...and of the worst color scheme in all of Salem - orange and brown...

Crappy colors confirmed.
There used to be a perception that because this school
was located in a "rich" suburb, that Sprague was the
"rich" school. For the most part, that perception would
be incorrect. It's not a wealthy place as much as it
is snooty as hell.

Zounds! Not just ANY stadium, but an OLYMPIC stadium.
At the annual PCI marching band competition,
they actually have a torch-carrying dim-bulb run around
the track and light a "caldera" at the opposite side.
Woo-hoo! Let the games begin!

The back woods behind the school. I heard some
interesting stories of students and others
congregating here...and not for scholarly activities.

Sort of the gym, I think.
In any case, this lets you know that you're viewing
the color-blind home of the Olympians.

(Update: My pal - and Sprague alumni - Jon tells me
that this is their theater - the Pantheon. Oh, Christ. That's just sad.)

Let's look inside...
Yep. Orange.

Oly Foundation?
Like...the beer?
Maybe this place isn't as annoying as
I thought! There's still WAY too
much orange, though.

An auto shop? Bunker?  Armory? Little help here?

Yes, that's a car door - detached from some car and in the
parking lot. Shouldn't this be at the "auto shop"?

...a random pile of parking lot flotsam. THIS is Salem...

Vikings, (stupid) Saxons, Celts, Olympians...Royal Scots?
Another McSchool?
Well, Salem isn't known for its imagination. I really
feel bad for McKay. As you'll see, it's not all that bad
looking and it's got a lot of spunk, but this place has problems.

I love the font!
Notice the heavy use of brick and
not-so-heavy use of windows.

Here's a good look at the school as a whole.
It was built in the early 80's and really hasn't aged
much at all - kinda like Dick Clark...

No weird photo tricks here - these are classrooms!
It's also the greatest concentration of glass in the
building. Feast or famine, I guess.

Brick people!!!
Let's see who they are!


erm...let's move on.

Have you ever seen the movie Stalag 17?
What about The Great Escape?

Sorry, Tony Hawk

Mechs! They have Mechs!

Football stadium. Track. Yawn.
Wait a sec...what's this on the left?

A track-side greenhouse?

Ladies and gentlemen, the
world's thinnest turnstiles.

A scottish mascot and a genuine bog!
Where's the whiskey?

Well, I'll be! It's the second month of the year,
and I find a program from a fall football game...
...against North Salem? Why those sons of..

I know you can't read this, but on the inside of the program
one finds lectures on sportsmanship and being and good spectator.

Barbeque! I love this place.

Ok, I couldn't help myself...

Awww...thank you!
This poor school has so many problems with
gangs, poor funding, bad reputation...
Ok - one more to go.

The newest high school - the great money sink of the school district...
West Salem High School - Home of the Titans
...and a place you'll learn to hate as much as I when you
see it (incomparison to the other schools, at least)...

Yes, this is the front of the school. Remember, we're talking
HIGH SCHOOLS here - not college or corperate campuses.

I'm told that this place cost the school district about 100 million
to construct. I'm also told that McKay high can't
afford textbooks and is a gang-ridden cess-pool.
Priorities, I guess...

Titan Field. It's astroturf.


Nice rack...

Well...that's good to know.

Free-standing pushbuttons for
the handicapped. That means
automatic doors. Ugh...
I just HOPE it's a new-fangled
building code requirement.

I know, Chastine...I feel the same way...
Ok, let's look inside...

WOW...A study in barren concrete?
How curious...a beautiful facade, but a barren and inhospitable VERY interesting...

Aren't we all?

Golly-gee! Loogat the time!

The big clock on West's enterance is telling me
that it's time to jet! Hope you enjoyed this
curious little look at the education of Salem's Youth.
Remember - our education is "special".
2003 Brent M. Diskin