We weren’t always Dubuque Senior


1947 Echo staff

Dubuque Senior High School as seen in the 1947 Echo yearbook. Notice the “D” above the school’s then-main doors.

In 1967, Dubuque School Board members decided to change the name of then Senior High School to Julien Dubuque High school because as stated in a September 19, 1967 Telegraph Herald article, “it would not be a drastic change.” They were wrong.

In 1967, Dubuque’s new high school would be named after Iowa’s second governor Stephen Hempstead and two new grade schools would have presidential names of Eisenhower and Hoover. Board members also unanimously approved changing Dubuque Senior’s name to Julien Dubuque High School, to reflect the town’s founder.

The 44-year-old name of “Senior High School” was gone.

Students were angered by the abrupt change that took place without input. At football games, the opposing schools would chant and sing songs mocking Julien Dubuque High School’s “girly” school name, furthering the student’s anger.

Opposing schools also referred to the school as “Julien High School,’ ‘JD High,’ and ‘Juvenile Delinquent High,’” said Wes Eller, the 1967 student body president, who was interviewed in 2015 by the Telegraph Herald for an article about the name change.

Three weeks after the change in name, that Monday morning, many students walked out of class to protest the name change. The students marched down to the Administrations office. That week’s school board meeting, students brought a petition against the name change with 4,797 signatures.

Based on the manner and attitude of the students who presented their case, the school board members decided to change the name back to Dubuque Senior High School.

Note – It is unclear when “Dubuque” became an official part of the school name. In various yearbooks and other documents, both “Dubuque Senior High School” and “Senior High School” are used.