By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
This year’s Moapa Valley High School Homecoming Grand Marshall is a well known Moapa Valley personality, former MVHS principal, and a lifetime educator. Dr. Larry Moses and his wife, Jean, will lead this year’s parade on Thursday, October 12, and be honored at the pep assembly that follows, as well as being honored at the football game Friday evening.
Although Moses has a long history with MVHS, he didn’t start out in Moapa Valley; or even the state of Nevada. Moses was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from North High School in 1958.
“We were the North High School polar bears and our colors were pink and green,” Moses said. “Our school was built on top of an old apple orchard and I guess they chose our school colors to represent apple blossoms. They were certainly unique.”
Following high school, Moses left Des Moines and played football for one year for a junior college in Tarkio, Missouri. When his year was up, he moved back to Des Moines to attend Drake University, where he stayed for only one semester before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps for the next four years.
Moses began his Marine Corp career shipboard as a seagoing marine. He was a marine guard on the aircraft carrier that took the first Marine Corp helicopter squadron into Vietnam in 1961. Later he moved on to be an air intelligence clerk at a top secret library for a fighter squadron. In 1962, he took time to marry his high school sweetheart, Jean. According to Moses, Jean was the only girl he ever wanted to date. She had spent the time while Moses was deployed becoming a registered nurse. The two have been married for 55 years.
Upon leaving the Marine Corp, Larry and Jean went to Logan, Utah, to visit a friend. They fell in love with the area. Ironically, their friend moved to Las Vegas the same day they moved to Logan, leaving them in a new area where they didn’t know a soul. But things worked out and Larry enrolled at Utah State University. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 1966 in US history, with a minor in political science. He went on to get his Master’s degree in 1967 also in US history.
Moses left Logan to get his first teaching job at a junior high in Idaho Falls, ID. He stayed there for one year before taking the leap to join the Clark County School District.
“At the time, CCSD was on of the best school districts in the nation,” Moses said. “I got a $3,000 raise to come to Vegas.”
Moses spent the next 17 years teaching school in various Las Vegas classrooms, beginning at Cashman Jr. High, and moving in turn to Freeman Jr. High, Valley HS, and Bonanza HS.
Moses left Bonanza to make the jump to administration, serving around the state before beginning his history with Moapa Valley High School in 1987 as vice-principal for 2 years. After a brief stint as principal in Vegas, Moses returned to Moapa Valley in January of 1991 as the newly appointed principal of Moapa Valley High School where he stayed for the next 7 years until his retirement in 1997.
The time that Moses served as principal was a great time in the history of the high school. The new school building was finished and high school students left what is currently Mack Lyon Middle School to take up residence in their own building.
Additionally, while Moses was principal, MVHS was selected as one of the 100 best high schools in the nation and one of the top 2 high schools in Nevada by Redbook magazine. The school had a graduation rate of 97.7% of students and over 80% were enrolled in a fine arts program.
Moses credits the success of the school during this time to the outstanding faculty and staff that he served with. “All achievement during this time was not based on me, but rather on the faculty and staff I served with every day,” he said. “It was easy to be the principal in a place that ran itself, thanks to them. Kay Batchelor was the office manager and kept us on track. Everyone was outstanding from the janitors, teachers, and coaches, to the other members of the administrative team.”
During this time, the band, under the direction of Kim Delgadillo, was known throughout the state for their superior musicianship. The theater program, under Ron Dalley, was also top in the state. John Kendell ran a full auto shop program and Pat Grow ran a full-blown home economics program at the school.
The school’s volleyball team was in the midst of a 7-year state championship winning streak, and the track and football teams teams were also perennial state champions. In total, in the seven years Moses was principal, the school won a total of 15 state championships, averaging over 2 state championships a year.
Since his retirement, Moses has not slowed down much. He has written three novels that he sells at the Pomegranate Festival each year, and an additional history of the High Company of the 334th Battalion of the 84th infantry division in WWII. He has headed up 3 local historical reconstruction projects, including the Old Logandale School, the Old Overton Gym, and the old hospital now occupied by the DUP. Moses also writes a weekly newspaper column for the Moapa Valley Progress.
Larry and Jean are the parents of 3 boys, who all became teachers and married teachers, and they have seven grandchildren.
Moses is honored by his selection as grand marshal. “I think it’s a great honor they would choose me as grand marshal,” he said. “There are many others who deserve it. I have a great love for Moapa Valley High School and this community and the way they support their high school. It really is amazing.”