Modesto High School is undoubtedly a school with one of the most storied pasts in the state of California. It is an ethnically diverse institution with strength in all areas of athletic and academic competition. The MHS of 2006 is one of growth and achievement, but our hallowed school has been striving for excellence for over one hundred years. Modesto High's ability to succeed in the present day can be traced back to the hard work and determination of administration of years past; their main goal was to develop a prestigious site for secondary education that would stand above the bar in every aspect of education.
In 1883, Ruliff Stephen Holway saw the need for a high school that could provide for needs extending beyond a primary grammar education. According to Sol P. Elias, member of the first graduating class of Modesto High School students, R.S. Holway was "a young schoolmaster... with the advantage of a charming character and a sympathetic mind... zeal and personality... (who) guided the pupils almost through the entire course until his departure... to accept a professorship at the University of California." This man, MHS' first principal, was responsible for the education of the entire student body, playing a role of both teacher and administrator before he left to teach in the UC system. Forty pupils comprised the first class organized at the first building located at 14th and I Streets; after four years, ten of these students remained to take part in the first graduation of MHS students. In the succeeding years, the number of seniors receiving diplomas fluctuated greatly; the lowest number occurred in 1893 when no one remained in school all four years to graduate.
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