The original Clark is made of concrete block and steel. It may have had a 1950's look, but it was as solid as a slab of granite. Built during the Cold War, Clark's steel and girder roof was designed to support helicopters and short-take-off fighter jets in case of war. The school sat on a slab of hardened concrete approaching six feet deep, built with hardened concrete blocks that chew up several drill bits whenever someone tries to add a new board or make a change. The building was designed as both a fallout shelter and a school. It survived the 1964 earthquake with barely a shake, and up until it the time of its demolition, Clark was probably the safest place to be in Anchorage in the event of a disaster.
The first students to attend Clark in 1959-60 made many important decisions. They named the student newspaper the Falcon Flash, chose the falcon mascot, and picked black and gold for the school colors. (This was changed in the mid-60's to blue and gold.)
In 1915, Orah Dee Clark became the first principal and the first superintendent of Anchorage schools. Miss Clark was a teacher back in the days when a teacher was forbidden to marry. Staying single was a requirement for female teachers before World War II, as it was for nurses. A woman who became a teacher either remained unmarried and devoted her entire life to her students, or left the profession if she married.
In the late 1950's, when Anchorage's first junior high school was envisioned, the decision was made to name the school after Miss Clark. Miss Clark visited Clark students quite often in the school's early years, and students enjoyed talking with her between classes and after school.
Outside the multipurpose room at Clark, a double-mirror is attached to a beveled piece of wood. Miss Clark personally paid to have the mirror installed and she told the students, "This is for you to see yourselves as others see you."
Orah Dee Clark Day August 25, 1962
Robert B. Clifton presenting Orah Dee Clark with a "scroll of honor" from the Cook Inlet Historical Society. This took place at the Providence Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska. The scroll read as follows: "The Cook Inlet Historical Society presents its "Scroll of Honor" to Orah Dee Clark. Charter member of our Society and teacher in the Territory of Alaska schools. Presented in recognition and appreciation of the many years of service and noteworthy contribution to the welfare and educational development of our Great Land. Alaska is deeply indebted to you."