In ten days, I will be attending my 10 Year Class Reunion. In these days, I will take the opportunity to look back on ten of my favorite elements of high school (in no particular order of importance)…
#10 – Yoe Pride
I attended C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron, Texas. Graduating class of 1999. One of my favorite things about high school was what we simply referred to as “Yoe Pride.”
Before I could even begin to try to explain the concept of Yoe Pride, I need to give a brief history of my high school.
Unlike most high schools, we weren’t named after our town. We were named after the benefactors whose love for Cameron and the children within it made the high school possible: Charles H. and Caroline Yoe. (For the full story of this couple, visit the Yoe Foundation web-site.)
After C.H. Yoe passed away, Caroline gave the money to buy the land and build the high school for Cameron, where they had made their home together for so many years. In 1921 it was dedicated and opened in the name of C.H. Yoe High School. Our mascot became a “Yoeman” — a medieval archer similar to the character of Robin Hood (a yeoman archer). The original building, built in 1921, still stands, and it’s where I had a vast majority of my classes between 1995 – 1999. In 2004 a new high school was built on the same land.
Since 1921, in May, Cameron ISD takes a school holiday — “Yoe Day” — to remember, thank and honor C.H. and Caroline Yoe. On that day, officers in organizations in the high school, and representatives of every class — from Seniors through Kindergarten enrolled in CISD — come together to hold a memorial ceremony to place flowers on the graves of C.H., Caroline and their daughter, Laura’s, graves.
I sincerely believe that it is in this memorial, this moment of respect for where our school came from, that Yoe Pride originates. We can claim it to be due to our football team or any academic success we many have. But in the end, our school would not be what it is (and was) if not for the love of one couple for a town almost one hundred years ago.
To me, school is not just about what you learn out of text books. High school, much like college, was more about the experiences that happened in those years. Organizational memberships. Successes. Failures. Projects. Time management. And the pride of school that teaches one to stand for something.
My four years in high school saw a lot of changes begin. I remember growing up the many traditions that sadly began to fade in my years of high school. They were still there just enough, though, that its those experiences that I cling to most as a memory I love of high school. Because I know that the people attending C.H. Yoe High School today will never understand or experience those things themselves.
One of those things I think about is simply having classes in old main Yoe. Yes, today, Yoe High is new and has far more technology and opportunity for education than we had when I was there. However, I cherish the fact that I got to acknowledge how many had walked those halls ahead of me. It gave me a hushed honor to be there myself. It made me want to make the ghosts of students past proud. It made me want to make the Yoes proud. Perhaps that sounds a little weird or strange, but I truly felt that deep down in my heart.
My dad attended Yoe High School. My aunts, my uncles, my brother. There was a history there that I loved. Football games. Pep Rallys. Snake dance. Open campus. Flame Pep Rally. The rivalry against Rockdale — Battle of the Bell that crossed the Little River year after year. Band. UIL. Yoe Day. Field Day. Outstanding Student Picnic. All these things fell under one umbrella: Yoe Pride.
And I admit it. I still have it strong today. And I always will.
“On Yoe High”
Praise to our school we sing,
Each his loyal honor bring;
Together we the Yoemen stand
To spread our praise through all the land.
To represent as best we can, in all our competition,
And our hopes, our pride, our love compound in you,
“On Yoe High” was written by former band director Francis Cox and Portia Kruse in 1942.