Dr. Paul J. Rogers Elementary School
Who is Paul J. Rogers?
The name "Paul J. Rogers Elementary School" honors a man who served as superintendent of the Colton school district from 1944 to 1966. A lifelong educator who began his career as a classroom teacher, his ideas and vision gave shape to the campus that bears his name.
Dr. Paul J. Rogers' studies as a doctoral student at USC contributed to the design for the Rogers campus, which was dedicated in 1967. His dissertation, given at the University of Southern California during his term as superintendent, focused on the development and utilization of elementary school sites.
According to local news reports from the time, architects who designed the campus began with Rogers' own preliminary sketches. Among his ideas, considered innovations at the time and still reflected in the campus today, are separate play areas for older and younger students, safety oriented parking and the location of the school next to a city park. The original campus cost $620,198 to build and included four buildings with 17 classrooms, a library, multipurpose room, kitchen and administrative offices. It was the first school in Colton to be air conditioned, and the newspaper noted that the wiring had the capacity for handling the "latest electronic teaching aids."
Rogers first came to Colton as principal of Woodrow Wilson School, a job he held for five years before becoming Superintendent. He attended elementary and high school in Porterville and taught and held administrative positions in West Moreland, Holtville and Bakersfield before moving to our community. After receiving the job at Wilson School, he was quoted in the newspaper saying that he had never lived in Colton before, but had passed through several times, and "thought it was a nice little town." When he moved to Colton with his family, his daughter attended Colton High School and his son attended Lincoln. He served the district for 27 years until his retirement.
The district was an elementary district during Rogers' tenure, known as the Colton Elementary School District when he first arrived and becoming a "Joint" district in 1957 when it joined with the Ferndale district. The district unified with the local high school district at about the same time as Roger's retirement. During his tenure the district went from 68 teachers and 1,800 students to 160 teachers and 4,500 students.
In addition to career and family, Rogers was also very active in the community. He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church and a long-time member of the Colton Rotary Club. He was an active supporter of The Arrowhead United Fund and a member of the Arrowhead Council of Boy Scouts of America.
The school was originally named the "Dr. Paul J. Rogers School" in a resolution unanimously approved by the board, citing Rogers' long service to the district, outstanding and distinguished leadership and his instrumental role in directing, planning and constructing educational facilities during years of significant growth.
"It was one of the great moments of my life time," he was quoted saying in the newspaper.
Board Resolution Naming Dr. Paul J. Rogers School
Whereas, Dr. Paul J. Rogers has served the citizens of the City of Colton and its surrounding areas for 25 years in various capacities within the Colton Joint Unified School District; and
Whereas Dr. Rogers has served as district superintendent for 20 years and during this period has provided outstanding and distinguished leadership and has been instrumental in directing, planning and constructing district educational plant facilities; and during these years it has grown from a single school to its present size of seven schools; and
Whereas, the Colton Joint School District will construct a new school to be located on W. Laurel Street in the City of Colton:
Now, therefore, be it hereby resolved by the board of trustees of the Colton Joint School District, with the unanimous recommendation and desire of the district school principals, that the Laurel Street School be dedicated to Dr. Paul J. Rogers, superintendent of schools for said district and
Be it further resolved that the Laurel Street School be and the same is hereby named the Dr. Paul J. Rogers School.
Be it further resolved that this resolution of appreciation and recognition be read upon the minutes of this board and a copy hereof presented to Dr. Paul J. Rogers.
- Rudolph F. Corona, President
- Rosemary S. Philips, Clerk
- Norman A. Neste, Board Member
- E.M. Anderson, Board Member
- John H. Kok, Board Member
Architectural Rendering of Paul J. Rogers Elementary School
Letter from Paul J. Rogers, June 14, 1964
The handwritten letter from Paul J. Rogers linked here and transcribed below was written on June 14, 1964 from his home in Colton. He wrote it three days following his graduation ceremony from his doctoral studies at USC and describes the ceremony, which was attended by his children and grandchildren, and how it felt to graduate. Rogers received his Ed.D during the latter part of his tenure as Superintendent.
Dear Lucy and Howard I and II:
Well, at last I have received a Doctor's Degree. At times, I wondered if I would live long enough to make it. The graduation exams were held last Thursday at 1:45 P.M. There were thousands present. The steps of the library, which are massive, served as the platform. Amplifiers were spread about the area. There were 3384 graduates. Those receiving advanced degrees were 54% of the class. This seemed to be usual for it was mentioned. Chairs ranged all the way across what would be a city block plus the width of the street and from the library steps through a park-like area for nearly 300 feet.
The graduates marched in four abreast in two columns, one from each side. It was a magnificent and good ceremony. Five honorary degrees were presented (mine was earned). The academic procession of professors in their robes, the band and the trumpets, was truly almost beyond description.
After the ceremonies, each of the various schools held their own presentation of diploma covers at various places throughout the campus. The diploma will be mailed at a later date. By doing it this way, no one gets the wrong diploma, supposedly.
Thursday was Richard's day-off. He, Phyllis, Bud and Carol were able to be present. I was so glad to have them come. I may not have been the oldest "graduate" but I bet I was close to it.
After the covers had been presented everyone was congratulating all over the place. Suddenly Carol rushed up and said "Congratulations Grandpa!" A lady standing nearby thought that was wonderful. She had heard many fathers congratulated for securing a degree but this was the first time for a Grandpa. The day was a great success, even though we did receive two tickets for walking across a street while the red light was on.
Today I feel quite free. It has been a tough job. The Dissertation had 342 pages. There was lots of typing.
We took quite a drive to Lake Elsinore which has recently been filled with water and is now a State Park. Took a circuitous route home by way of Murietta, Sun City, Hemet, San Jacinto, Beaumont and Redlands to home. The weather was fine all the way.
Now, to get busy and get ready for school for next year. I also have a board election to get before the people and in such a way that the vote is favorable on Sept. 15.
Carol graduated from Junior High Wednesday evening so this is really graduation season.
Love to all of you
Hope all of you are fine.