News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News


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Magazine archives
Chinese New Year: the year of the dragon
By Ashley Townsend, Lifestyles editor • February 13, 2024
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By Emerson Swift, Features Editor • February 12, 2024
CAASPP Testing is Moving to March
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Slim pickings for parking
By Molly Eisenberg, Reporter • February 5, 2024

Remembering Tam student culture past and present

A Photo Essay

Content advisory: some photos and language in this article contain artifacts that show the harmful and desensitizing nature of using indigenous identity as mascots. The Tam News in no way supports these ideals. It is our hope that by confronting the past through responsible reporting, we are documenting the accurate history of our community.


Tamalpais High School was established in 1908. The historical context of the buildings has changed over the years, and so have the traditions and ideals of the community at large. 

There were originally 70 students, which gradually increased throughout the next years. Now there are 1,590 students, which makes Tam the second largest in the district. What makes Tam such a unique and special community is the old traditions and historic buildings. To dive deeper here is a photo essay on how Tam has changed, and how it has stayed the same. 

Rally in 1990, photo courtesy of yearbook

In the 1989 school year, members of the student body petitioned to formally remove the school’s original mascot the Indians, and changed it to the Tamalpais Hawks.

As previously reported, “In 1988, Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather visited Tam High as a guest director for Dan Caldwell’s drama class … when Littlefeather heard about the Indian mascot at Tam, she was upset, and tried to make students understand the need for change,” The Tam News wrote in an editorial regarding the mascot change in 2013. She and the student body were eventually successful in changing the mascot, though the alumni association continued to sell merchandise with the previous mascot after the change.

Picture taken in 1915, courtesy of Tamalpais school calendar 2007

“MV was different then too and there was not as much money so not as many kids were given cars when they turned 16.  We carpooled a lot.  Kids who had cars picked up their neighbors and friends and brought them to school,” Dan McNeil, class of 1967, said.

Today, Tam has the back parking lot, known as the “BPL,” designated for all seniors to park in. With the majority of students driving to school, there’s very limited space available. Many cars park along the road. 

Tam from across Miller Avenue, picture taken in 1910, courtesy of Tam calendar 2007

Tam in the mid to late ’70s was full of school spirit and community and we had a lot of fun … Students were treated like adults and there was very little discipline,” Teresa Larson, class of 1978, said.

Tamalpais High School’s second pool from 1959, photo courtesy of Tam yearbook

Tam has built three pools since the school first opened in 1908, the first one being indoors. It was called the “tank” and was in use until it began to tilt and the land beneath the cement started to shift, becoming unusable. Presently, we have the required swim unit for freshmen and sophomores.

 “I loved swimming, we had a swimming pool and once a semester, or so, we were required to swim during PE, for several weeks,” Catherine Stone, class of 1964, said.

Picture taken in 1908, students waiting for the commuter train at the new train stop on the Mill Valley line fronting the high school.

For a while, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad ran what they called the “School Special,” a special five-car train running from Manor to Tam via Almonte. Two of the cars on the school special were separated by gender, one boys-only car, and one girls-only car. Where the railroad ran, is Miller Avenue, a busy street through Mill Valley. 

I rode my bike to school a few times, and it seemed like a big novelty. I don’t know of others who rode their bicycles to school. I think walking to school was the major transportation, combined with being dropped off by family members,” Marilyn Morrow, class of 1964, said. 

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