Richard Montgomery High School History
An allocation in 1892 by the then Board of School Commissioners of a $300 addition to the existing elementary school in Rockville brought to fruition the then named "Rockville High School" that served students from grades one to eleven. The first class of twelve seniors graduated in 1897. In 1904, the Board of Education purchased land at the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Monroe Street for the construction of a new school building, to be renamed "Montgomery County High School". Rockville architect T. C. Groomes designed a grand brick building, and contractor Charles Viett built it for $20,300. The Montgomery County High School building opened in September, 1905. An addition was built in 1917 to house a population of 800 students plus room for school board offices, expanding the school to 19 classrooms. In 1935, when the new "Rockville Colored High School" building opened in Lincoln Park, the Board of Education officially renamed the old Rockville High School, "Richard Montgomery High School." After the school was destroyed by fire in 1940, students attended other county high schools until November 1942, when they entered the new building at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive. This was the site of the old grounds of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. The original 23 classrooms, offices, shop rooms, and cafeteria were quickly outgrown. More classrooms and a gym were added. A football field was designed within the oval of the former Fairgrounds racetrack. By the 1950s, even after grades 7 through 9 were relocated into new junior high schools, 13 more classrooms, a library, cafeteria, ballfields, and a 2,000 seat grandstand were needed. Following integration of public schools, Black students from Carver High School began attending RM in 1955. A major addition in 1963-64 became the front of the building, for administrative offices. In the 1980s, the A. May Nicewarner Auditorium and other rooms were added. The 1942 building was 49,167 sq ft. Additions to the school were made in 1952 at 39,895 sq ft, 1959 at 37,425 sq ft, in 1964 at 56,703 sq ft, 1969 at 4,000 sq ft, 1975 at 35,890 sq ft, 1976 at 8,300 sq ft, and 1988 at 1,938 sq ft. A new 311,500 sq ft building, substantially completed in December 2007, was built on the old athletic fields. The old 233,318 sq ft building was demolished over the summer of 2008, and new athletic fields were created on the site of the old building. The current campus is 26.2 acres in size. The new $71 million RMHS building welcomed its first students in January 2008. Credit to: E. Guy Jewell, "Richard Montgomery High School." The Montgomery County Story 24 (1981):1-11; The Richard Montgomery High School PTSA; Eileen McGuckian; The Montgomery County Historical Society; and Eileen McGuckian, Rockville, Portrait of a City. Tennessee: Hillsboro Press, 2001.; Wikipedia; Peerless Rockville
The latest Richard Montgomery campus incorporates the grounds of the old Rockville Elementary School / Park Street Elementary School. The Park Street School was demolished to make room for the new RM, and is reflected in the facade re-created in the new RM's "Main Street". Click HERE for more on the Park Street School.
Alma Mater Music
Click below to hear the alma mater music. You will need an MP3 player software to use it.
The RM Rocket
In 1927, the first Richard Montgomery yearbook was named The Rocket by student Ruby Tyler. The name was chosen as a symbol to represent a school that would soar to great heights. The Rocket also became the school mascot for all RM athletic teams. The RM Rocket is a Nike Ajax missile from the Cold War. These missiles once ringed Washington, D.C. in the 1950's and 1960's to protect Washington from approaching enemy aircraft. The RM Rocket measures 21 feet long and 12 inches in diameter, with a 4.5 foot wing span. It weighed 1,000 pounds when armed and had a range on 25 to 30 miles.
The Rocket was donated to Richard Montgomery in the 1960's and was installed at the entrance to Roy Lester Stadium. This important spirit symbol was removed from the old RM school building as the old building was being demolished and the RM school building was being constructed. Due to years of effort by the RM Boosters, RM families, and RM alumni, the Rocket was stored, refurbished, and finally re-installed in the new Roy Lester Stadium for the homecoming game on 11/6/2009.
Ritchie Rocket is RM's mascot. Making his debut at a RM basketball game on 1/18/2009, Ritchie began his career of boosting RM Rocket spirit at many RM events. Way to go Ritchie!
Fight Song Music
Click below to hear the fight song music. You will need an MP3 player software to use it.
Gordy Coleman Baseball Field
Gordon Coleman graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in 1952, and starred in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In football, he was All County, All Metropolitan, All State, and All Southern. He received a football scholarship to Duke University, and played baseball for Duke as well. He signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians in 1953. Gordy played in the Minor Leagues from 1953-1959, receiving the Minor League Achievement Award in 1959. His Minor League batting average was .353, with 30 home runs and 110 RBI. In September 1959, he was called to the Major Leagues by Cleveland. In 1960, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he played through 1967. In 1961, he had 26 home runs, helping the Reds win the National League Pennant. Gordy hit a home run in the 1961 World Series. In 1962, he had 28 home runs. In 1965, he maintained a.302 batting average. He is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. He was the Red's color analyst at the time of his death in 1994.
Click HERE for more on Gordon Coleman.
On April 20, 2009, the RM baseball field was named for Gordon Coleman as part of the dedication ceremonies for the new RM building. As a collaboration between RM alumni, RM families, and community partners, new scoreboards were purchased for the baseball and softball fields; the scoreboards were installed for the 2011 season.
Roy Lester Stadium
E. Roy Lester was the head football coach at RM from 1959 through 1968 and compiled an 86 - 10 - 1 record with six undefeated seasons. Lester's teams were considered some of the best in the state, holding a 25 game winning streak at the end of his tenure at Richard Montgomery. One of the notable players in his program was the future NFL linebacker Mike Curtis (Baltimore Colts).
Roy Lester left RM to become the head football coach at the University of Maryland College Park, serving from 1969 to 1971. In 1972, Mr. Lester returned to coaching Montgomery County high school football, first at Paint Branch, then at Magruder, where he enjoyed great success. Roy Lester coached teams to three Maryland State Championships, and concluded his coaching career with 260 wins at Montgomery County high schools.
In 2002, Richard Montgomery's football stadium (in the old school) was named in Roy Lester's honor. When the old school's stadium was closed to construct the new RM building, the RM Booster Club saved the stadium sign (and the RM Rocket, see above). On November 8 2008, the new artificial turf football field and stadium was dedicated to Roy Lester in a ceremony attended by Mr. Lester and many of his RM players. The original stadium sign is now found on the concession stand building outside of the spirit wear store.
Old Gym Floor 1952 - 2007
The main gym of the old RMHS building was the setting for many important events for generations of RM students: pep rallies, sock hops, hotly contested basketball games, wrestling matches, volleyball games, homecoming dances. As the RM Athletic Booster Club began planning to support the transition from the old RM building to the new RM building, they felt it was important to preserve this symbol of Rocket spirit from the past. This floor saw such events as the 2005 boys basketball team's county championship season, the 2004 and 2003 boys volleyball county championship seasons, and the 1996 girls basketball state championship season. The center medallion of the main gym floor was removed, restored, and remounted in the new gym complex. Be sure to look for it on the wall outside the gym doors.
Richard Montgomery High School Spirit and Traditions - 11/30/11