Before the school was built, the land was owned by three farmers by the name of Diss, who sold their land to a man named Joseph Eichler, an architect, who planned a development of the homes bearing his name. He donated the land for our school and Fairmeadow Elementary School next door. Originally, our school was named Ray Lyman Wilbur Junior High School, and it opened on August 18, 1953. Ray Lyman Wilbur was been one of the early presidents of Stanford University. There were 31 teachers and only 650 students. Today, almost 100 teachers and staff and 1100 students share our campus.
Originally, the students chose a Warrior as the mascot, and the colors were scarlet and gray. In those days, a junior high school contained grades 7, 8, and 9.
The ninth graders were moved to the high schools in 1975. By 1985, the other two junior high schools in the district were closed, and all 7th and 8th graders in the district attended our school. The name was changed to Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, in honor of Mrs. Leland Stanford, the “mother of the university.” The change from junior high school to middle school echoed the recognition that students from ages 10 to 14 are unique and require curricula to meet their unique needs as learners. When the name was changed, the mascot was changed to a Panther, and the colors were changed to blue and white. In the early ‘90s, sixth grade was added to the middle school.
The builders of our school were Birge Clark and Walter Stromguist. When our school opened in 1953, it was said to be one of the most beautiful schools in California. The classrooms were considered state-of-the-art, with tri-level lighting, more balanced colors, and the modern design of the 1950s: a sloped roof, a large number of windows, and long buildings (wings). They planned special classrooms for special classes including home economics, wood shop, metal shop, band, choir, orchestra, drama, and art. These rooms were larger than the normal classrooms. The library was divided into two rooms: a reading room, and a room with tables and chairs for work. The cafetorium, a cafeteria/auditorium combination, was large for its day and included a state-of-the-art stage with flies, curtains, storage rooms, and dressing rooms. The stage is still a wonderful asset to us, and lunch is still served in the building, which has a kitchen attached. Our gym had two sides to it: a girls' side and a boys' side. Both sides have locker rooms. The gym also has an equipment room, a wrestling room, a dance studio, a classroom, and offices for the teachers. Over the years, a science building, equipped for hands-on science experiments was added. JLS has been remodelled twice in the last 20 years. We now have a two-story building with 10 additional classrooms, an updated student store, and a TV studio.
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