In 1916, Fife High School held a graduating ceremony for two young women who had the honor of being the high school’s very first grads, thus launching a legacy of excellence that continues to this day. Fife High School will reach its 100-year anniversary in 2016, and plans are underway now to honor and commemorate this important centennial milestone.
First off is a “Countdown to 100 Years” celebration slated for Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Dacca Barn, 2820 54th Ave. E., from 4-10 p.m. This will be a community-wide event to which everyone is invited to come and mingle with Fife High alumni, teachers, administrators, boosters and parents of former and current students in the district (must be 21 years and older to attend). A donation of $10 will be collected at the door to benefit athletics, academics and activities within the Fife School District, and includes dinner (while it lasts), a no-host cash bar and music.
Fife High alum Kevin Ringus (class of ’79) is chair of the Fife High Alumni Committee and on the board of the Fife Historical Society, which has teamed up with the Alumni Committee to make plans for the centennial celebrations. He encourages those planning to attend the Aug. 1 event at Dacca Barn to bring along any Fife High memorabilia such as photos or anything that could be scanned and put into the Fife Historical Society to add to the collection at the Fife History Museum for everyone’s education and enjoyment. “There are a lot of people in the area still that have pictures and things that we’d like to get into the museum,” Ringus said, noting that scanning will be available at Dacca Barn that evening.
More centennial celebrations will happen at homecoming weekend, Oct. 9-10. “We’re trying to get as many alumni as we can to the football game to fill the stands,” Ringus said. The weekend will include the Trojan Hall of Fame, an alumni luncheon on Oct. 10, tours of the high school and more. “After homecoming we’d like to do something each month of the school year.” Some ideas being tossed around include maybe an alumni car show in the spring, incorporating the Daffodil festivities into the Fife High centennial and bringing back sports teams for a night of champions. “Stay tuned for upcoming events and information,” Ringus advised, as events are confirmed and announced in the Fife Free Press and elsewhere.
With the broader Fife community being such a critical part of Fife High’s success over the years, Ringus stressed that the Dacca Barn event and all the centennial events are as much for the community as they are for current and past Fife staff and alumni. As the City of Fife grows and changes with the times, a constant is Fife High School and the rest of Fife schools in the area – focal points that help keep the city anchored.
“Fife High School has really been the centerpiece of the community for a long, long time,” Ringus said. “The district is a good way to keep the community together and move forward and we want to make sure it stays that way for the next 100 years. We’re making this a community event so while we’re honoring the past 100 years, we’re looking forward to the next 100 years as a community.”
Fife Schools Superintendent Kevin Alfano came up with “Together…We Are Fife” for the centennial as a way to communicate this very sentiment to bring everyone in, families new to Fife and those that have lived there for generations.
“It’s part centennial and part moving forward so we were trying to come up with a slogan that was all inclusive,” Alfano said. “We have people in our community that have been here as far back as the 1930s and also families that are brand new to Fife who moved here for our school and community. We were looking for some slogan to bring everybody together – for everyone to feel that they are part of our school and community.”
Alfano said an important aspect of the centennial will be recognizing the influential people who graduated from Fife High School. “We have alumni out there doing amazing things in our local community and across the United States.” For example, Ringus graduated from Fife High and is now a Fife municipal court judge and strong community leader on many fronts; then there is Jack Sterino (class of ’53) of Sterino Farms; and Mark Emmert (class of ’71), the 30th president of the University of Washington and fifth president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which he continues to lead today. These are just a few of the many people whose success in life had a lot to do with the education they received in Fife Schools.
Anyone looking to help with the coming year of centennial celebrations is asked to contact Louise Hospenthal or Pat Reed at the Fife History Museum: (253) 896-4710 or e-mail