Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Perris High School Yearbooks Going Digital

City archivist Christina Perris displays a copy of the 1917 version of the “El Perristo,” the Perris High School yearbook
City archivist Christina Perris displays a copy of the 1917 version of the “El Perristo,” the Perris High School yearbook.

City historical researchers are creating electronic versions of Perris High School yearbooks dating back nearly a century and hope to make them available for public viewing sometime in October.

City archivist Christina Perris—great-granddaughter of the railroad surveyor for whom the City is named—said more than 75 years worth of Perris High School yearbooks have been collected and are being digitized.

The work is being paid for through a $2,500 grant Perris received from the Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“It’s a fantastic collection,” Christina Perris said this week during a fund-raising silent auction for the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association. “The yearbooks provide a time capsule, a glimpse into
what the community was like over the decades.”

Perris historians are digitizing a century’s worth of Perris High School yearbooks, like the 1917 edition, and hope to put some of them on public display later this year
Perris historians are digitizing a century’s worth of Perris High School yearbooks, like the 1917 edition, and hope to put some of them on public display later this year.

Perris High School opened in 1910 and editions of the yearbook—the “El Perristo”—appeared soon afterwards.

The 1917 version remains the oldest one discovered so far. It features an illustration of the high school campus, the current City Council chambers, on its cover. The following year found the U.S. involved in World War I and the 1918 “El Perristo” reflected that as well.

Its cover features a soldier and sailor. Inside includes a list of 20 Perris High School students serving in the U.S. military. The 1918 “El Perristo” notes further that an earthquake took place on April 23, a temblor significant enough for inclusion in the school calendar for that year.

Perris and other members of the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association attended a silent auction fund-raiser this week, an event
that drew about 100 people, including Mayor Daryl Busch and
City Councilwoman Joanne Evans and Rita Rogers and Riverside
County Supervisor Marion Asley.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch and City archivist Christina Perris at the annual fund-raising silent auction for the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association. The Mayor praised the group for preserving the City’s past
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch and City archivist Christina Perris at the annual fund-raising silent auction for the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association. The Mayor praised the group for preserving the City’s past.

City officials said they support the historical association for helping keep Perris’ history alive and teaching it to the present generation. Association members last year created a series of panels detailing Perris’ history in words and photos as part of the City’s 2011 Centennial. They also appeared in a City-produced video about Perris’ 100th birthday and every year, sponsor several events, including the annual Fred T. Perris Day, which honors a pioneering family.

“They’ve done a lot to get the Perris community more vested and involved with the City’s history,” Busch said.

Ashley said Perris boasts the “strongest historical society of any town our size I’ve ever seen. “ The association, he said, has “an extraordinarily strong vision and commitment to preserving our history.”

Rogers said she supports the Perris historical association because
it keeps  the City’s past relevant and vibrant.

Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers looks over some of the merchandise available before making a bid at the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association silent auction
Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers looks over some of the merchandise available before making a bid at the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association silent auction.

“It’s important to encourage them to continue the good work they have accomplished,” she said.

Christina Perris said she hopes to have the early versions of the “El Perristo” digitized and available for viewing on the historical association’s website, www.perrisvalleyarchives.org soon after the Oct. 20 premiere of a documentary on historic D Street.

She said viewers will find some of the same things still common in 2012 high school annual-- pictures of the basketball team, the Spanish club, the yearbook staff. Activities like the Girls’ League—a pre-Internet social networking group—and live stock judging team have faded into history.

One of her favorite features of the yearbooks of old was the class will, which allowed graduating seniors to bequeath certain traits and talents to their younger colleagues. One student left her “magnetic
personality and attractive features” to a peer while one young man
bequeathed his “role as bluffer, bully and poker face while telling lies”
to an incoming senior. Then there’s the teen-age Lothario determined to
pass on his secrets of making time with “the fairer sex” to his buddies.

“Kids don’t change,” Perris said. “Fashions change but teen-agers don’t. Boys still chase girls.”