Memories of Green and Gold: Nearly half a century of history on the Hill


Layla Vega

Students outside the current Clover Hill High.

Layla Vega, Staff Writer

Forty-nine years after the establishment of the old building on Hull Street Road, many students and staff have come and gone, but each and every one of them have played an important role in what makes Clover Hill. But what was the school like when it first opened its doors, and how has it evolved since its inception?

It is 1972, and the buses are overloaded with students. Hundreds of students from around Chesterfield County approach the doors of the newly built high school sporting bell bottoms, elephant legs, and stacked heels. What used to be called a cafeteria was now referred to as the “commons” and when it wasn’t being used for students to eat their lunch, it provided space to study for students in independent study programs and socializing and evening activities. 

The school’s first athletic victory was achieved by the women’s basketball team. The twelve-girl team, with only two days of practice and no uniforms, secured their first win against Powhatan High School in 1973. They’d never previously played basketball either. 

Along with their first sports win, Poison, Passion and Petrifaction, a farce by Bernard Shaw, was the first drama production presented at Clover Hill in 1972. 

Nowadays, Clover Hill’s senior class holds over 300 students. However, the Class of ‘73, the first to graduate from Clover Hill, had only 52. Clover Hill’s class motto back then was “after the battle, the reward” and just like present day, Clover Hill still represents the yellow and green colors along with a yellow rose as the class flower. 

Fast forward to 1988, where sophomores participated in a function called “rent a sophomore day.” During this time, clubs had become a vital part of Clover Hill, selling candy to peers, having car washes, and holding other types of fundraisers during lunch in order to raise money for their clubs to operate, with the most popular clubs being Spanish, DECA and French with 665 students in total.

Seven years later, in 1995, eight cafeteria workers were absent, so head football coach Ted Salmon stepped in to help prepare sandwiches and fries for lunch. In addition, the assistant principal and Renaissance Program principal pitched in. 

Athletic superstitions became a Cavalier tradition in 1995 as well. A widely held superstition among the varsity men’s volleyball team was assembling in the team room before a game, since the one time that they had not, their game was called off. Baseball players, however, appeared to be the most superstitious athletes. They resisted change because they were afraid it would bring them bad luck. At away games, some players would get on and off the bus through the back door and wash their bats if they could not hit well. 

Finally, Clover Hill was relocated to its current location in 2010. With soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light, the new Clover Hill was a far cry from what the students had grown to expect from the old school after nearly two years of construction.

Photography teacher Amanda Berneche recalls a different time of Clover Hill’s history, where the building was much different than what it is now. She worked for two years at the old Clover Hill on the Hull Street corridor before transferring to the current Clover Hill, which is now a little farther east. 

“The old building was run-down, like the ceilings were falling out,” Berneche said. “The hallways were really cramped, and the kids couldn’t move anywhere.” 

As she adapted to the new building, Berneche faced many of the challenges that came with moving to a new space: becoming accustomed to being farther from friends and in a new community.  

“I do think one of the things I do miss about the old building is having that connection with my fellow teachers,” Berneche said. 

David Tuskey, a science teacher who was a student at Clover Hill in 1976 and became a teacher in 1994, recalls the best of both worlds. 

“When I was a student here, we had a smoking area!” Tuskey said. “I think the school spirit here was bigger than it is now because the school was smaller. You’d buy your spirit stickers and everybody would be talking about how we were going to beat Manchester. They were our big rival back then.”

Tuskey also recalls a huge moment for Clover Hill when the boys’ varsity baseball team won the state championship in Goochland. The school had never won a state championship before. 

“We named the day in honor of the baseball coach,” Tuskey said.

In addition, mechanical drawing and 3D printing teacher William O’Hare, provided more information from his time as a student at Clover Hill as well as his 30 years of employment. He was present when the school won the state baseball championship in 1994 and the district football championship in 2006. 

O’Hare spoke of the old building from his days as a student.

“When Clover Hill was first built, there were no walls in the school,” O’Hare said.

Through its history and traditions, Clover Hill has become the school it is today, expanding from the small school on Hull Street to the larger, modern version in Midlothian. Every year when students graduate from Clover Hill, they move on into the world with many cherished Hill traditions and memories to share with others in years to come.