E. J. Cooper Senior High School
In the early 1960s, Robbinsdale High School had the largest student body in the state of Minnesota. It became clear that District 281 needed a second high school.
The Robbinsdale District became the first suburban district in the metro area to build a second high school. E. J. Cooper Senior High School was named after the long-time superintendent of Robbinsdale Schools.
Edwin Jonas Cooper came to the District in 1930 as Robbinsdale’s first Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Cooper retired on June 30, 1965; he served as superintendent for 35 years.
During the summer of 1964, those District 281 high school students who lived in neighborhoods that would require that they be bused to either RHS or CHS, waited with great anticipation as the boundary lines were debated, redrawn and further debated. Eventually the boundaries were set and the letters were sent to homes notifying students as to which school they would attend.
E. J. Cooper Senior High School opened its doors on September 8, 1964. There was however, work being done to complete Cooper. The landscaping was still in process with planks of wood leading to the front doors, cement mixers going and construction workers putting in sidewalks and steps as well as laying sod on the grounds.
Building a school community wasn't easy at first. Many students were upset having to leave their beloved Robbinsdale High School and friends there. During those first tense weeks the school had two bomb scares, which were assumed to be related to the anti-war movement. But soon staff and students learned to work together to become a united school community that we have today. Many of the teachers that taught at Cooper had been teaching at Robbinsdale High School before transferring to Cooper. The school's first principal was Lyndon Ulrich.
When the school first opened there weren't just young teens. The youngest students that were part of the school community were kindergarteners who had to overcome their own challenges. With lockers sized for teenagers, it was a new frontier for the little ones to make their own way and many caught a glimpse of what school life would be like in a high school. Cooper housed Kindergerten classes for the first three years it was open; 64 - 65, 65 - 66 and 66 - 67.
Fifty Year Later: Students celebrated Cooper's 50th Birthday Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, with cake and cookies at the Medina Entertainment Center. (Suzanne Kelley '65) Check out the video here: http://twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=324&newsitemid=25346