But the tension didn’t stop the consolidation. Ronald Walton was appointed the new corporation’s first superintendent and the old Washington Township High School building was officially dubbed Lewis Cass High School. It’s where Zehring began ninth grade.
Younger students, like Roller, went to Thomas B. Helm Junior High School, formerly the Tipton Township High School, or the elementary schools that remained in Walton, Galveston and Deacon.
But by Zehring’s senior year, work had begun on the corporation’s new high school outside Walton. The building was mostly finished by the spring of 1968 — including the new gymnasium.
The school was glad to move its graduating ceremony into the new building just a little early. Every previous graduation had taken place in the Berry Bowl, the basketball gym of the school’s arch-rivals in nearby Logansport.
That fall, the doors officially opened to the rest of the new school building. The high school gym was highlighted just over a year later, too, when the school hosted the boys’ basketball sectionals. It was the first year the sectional hadn’t taken place in the Berry Bowl since that gym’s 1927 construction.
To top it off, the Lewis Cass Kings defeated Logansport in an afternoon game during the sectional, according to news reports from the time. Roller, who was a cheerleader at that game, remembers fans and players alike reacting to the 1970 win, the school’s first in varsity play against Logansport.
“You would’ve thought that we won the state championship,” Roller said. More than 40 years later, she still gets animated talking about the game.
Younger students got their own new or renovated buildings a few years later. One of the new buildings, Thompson Elementary, was built in 1979 and named for Superintendent Meredith W. Thompson, who died a year before from injuries sustained in a car accident. He had been superintendent there for four years.