Under Principal Fred McClure’s leadership, Independence High School opened for the 1977-78 school year with an enrollment of 420 students and 25 teachers. The school’s name was picked by the school board because of the bicentennial observance. The school was scheduled to open in the summer of 1976, but it was postponed due to construction and lack of demand from the district’s student population. Freshmen and sophomore students were the only ones attending that first year. The first graduating class was in 1980.

Two weeks after the school opened, a fire broke out, destroying parts of the lower level. However, classes resumed a few days later. Formal dedication ceremonies were held on November 17, 1977, with the Honorable Bob Stump, representative, as guest speaker.