The History of Nimitz High Schoolby Gary Schepf
The third high school of Irving Independent School District opened its doors in August of 1968 in far South Irving to meet the growth in population. The property was surrounded by a dairy farm that eventually disappeared and replaced with single-family homes.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was chosen as the name of the new high school in keeping with the honoring of World War II military heroes. The selection of the school mascot broke with the tradition of naming an animal, opting to match the naval background of the school’s namesake with the historical seagoing Viking. And the school colors of blue and silver were selected, again connecting the newest high school to the water sailed by the US Navy and the Norwegian Vikings. The official name of blue is known as “loyal” blue.
The Nimitz School Song and Nimitz Fight Song were developed by the first choir director (Woody Schober) and first band direction (Jim Jackson).
When Nimitz opened its doors in 1968, the student population was composed of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders, allowing the Class of 1972 to serve as the leadership class for four years and become the first graduating class of Nimitz High School. The student body that first year set up a group of students who actually attended Nimitz for five to six years, graduating in either the Class of 1973 or Class of 1974.
The current cafeteria was much smaller in the beginning, but it was the location of all concerts and performances until the first auditorium (now being used for dance classes) opened in 1970. Pep Rallies were held at the back of the school by the loading dock or in the courtyard until the spectator gym opened in 1970. A couple of interesting design elements in the proposed auditorium and spectator gym: the back wall of the auditorium was to open up directly to the band and choir rooms, allowing direct entrance to the stage; the gym floor was to open up, revealing a swimming pool. These elements did not happen, but the proposed Planetarium did.
Under the leadership of Tom Chandler, the first principal of Nimitz High School, traditions grew. In order to build spirit in the school, pep rallies occurred periodically. Mr. Chandler would notify the band director and cheerleader sponsor just prior to an announcement requesting these students to report to their instructional areas and move to the rally zone before the dismissal of the student body.
Big Vik, the Nimitz Viking mascot, originally was portrayed by a student wearing a Viking helmet, beard, tunic, and boots. Years later, the mascot became a character-like costume.
All events and publications would be named based upon Norse history.Early Nimitz Viking Timeline1968:
- Nimitz High School opened
- Valhalla, the first yearbook, was published
- Rune Stone, the first newsletter, was published
- Nimitz Vikas began under the leadership of Sherry Brock, the first Vikas Director
- Fall Valhalla, the first homecoming, was held without the welcoming of returning graduates (first graduates would not occur until 1972).
- Navy Junior ROTC began under the leadership of Billy Monroe and Gordon Wiram
- Skjonnhet, the first beauty pageant, included 26 representations of various campus organizations
- Nimitz High School officially dedicated and time capsule entombed
- First Graduation, held at Texas Stadium