For years, Hesperia high schoolers had to board a school bus bound for Victor Valley High located on the other side of the valley. Finally, in late 1984, all that changed.


"The kids had gone to Victorville long enough," said Bruce Kitchen, Hesperia High's first principal. "That first morning they walked onto campus seeing the 'Scorpion Country' banner across the gym. It was theirs."


Kitchen, who four years later would become Hesperia's first mayor, was selected to head Hesperia's first public high school after previously serving as the Serrano High principal.


"I applied for the position, and I was accepted for it," he said.


Opening the new school was a joy, according to Kitchen, who works as a consultant for county schools.


"The school was completely constructed. We were fully ready to take kids. It was about as smooth an opening as I can recall."


Kitchen assigned five campus supervisors to ensure an orderly beginning.


"It was a revolutionary thing up here in the high desert. Everybody was in class when that first bell rang. It just went extremely smoothly."


While the school's football team, which had to travel to Victor Valley for its home games, didn't have a stellar season, the school was one of the first to issue academic letters.


"Athletes were thrilled to put an academic patch on their jacket. It was quite a revolution at the time. The students looked for it. They wanted it."


Perhaps the most thrilling accomplishment for the school was when the Scorpion marching band was selected to represent the state of California at a grand Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C. Coinciding with Hesperia's 100th year in existence, it was a very memorable event for the school and participants. And the band won a special award.


"We were fortunate all our new uniforms arrived in time and they were all wool."


Kitchen, who lives in Hesperia with his wife, Shirley, is pleased with the school's progress. He is especially happy that the Scorpions can play their home football games on their own campus.


"I was just tickled to death when they got their stadium."