Delving into Shippensburg’s past brings back so many memories, and this week I will take you through the hallways of the former high school, Central Elementary and the current middle school.
I thought this journey would be fun after flipping through the pages of several old yearbooks, newspaper clippings, photos and resources at my disposal.
My first throwback memory is taken from the 1954 Scroll when the senior high school was located on Burd and Prince streets. In my day, this was the location of my beloved Central Elementary, but in 1954 it was quite a different story.
The 1954 Class Motto was “Forward Ever, Backward Never”; the Class Theme was Music Forever; the Class Colors were maroon and white; and the Class Flower was the carnation. Looking through the pages of The Scroll, I saw many faces of faculty members that were still teaching when I attended junior and senior high school some two and a half decades later. I’m sure my memories of these educators are different from those of students before me, but it is interesting to know that the memories of their teachings, and yes, even their personalities, are still thought of today.
Take for instance Stewart Askins. I remember him as being funny, quick-witted and a very complimentary person. Even though I only had him for one class, he always made me laugh; but he also had a very serious side and was sincere about his teaching, and he was always helpful in making you understand his lessons. Probably the most admirable quality, and one that I remember most, was that of his personality. If you happened to run into him outside of the classroom or beyond the walls of the high school, he was still the same person-funny and very approachable.
How about Harold Bishop? I honestly don’t remember much about Mr. Bishop other than he was a soft-spoken fellow. He wasn’t one of my teachers, but I do remember his face and having met him once or twice in my earlier years as a student in his wife’s fifth grade class at Central. She was a sweetheart, too, so I can only imagine he must have been, as well.
I’m sure many of my classmates remember Vernon Dyer. He was my music teacher in junior high school, as was Donald Rohlar. Though, I must admit, I wasn’t much of a music fan back then, at least not as far as instruments were concerned.
Now Mr. Kenneth Rineard – there’s a man I’ll always remember. If it weren’t for him, I would know how to type! I remember learning to use the typewriter and learning to type without looking at the keyboard. I thought I’d never get through that class, but luckily I did and with flying colors, too! Thank you, Mr. Rineard for teaching me the fine art of typing and paying attention!
Fast forward to 1960 when the senior high school was located where the middle school is today. I remember being so excited to be entering seventh grade here and wondering what it would be like going to the ‘big’ school. I also remember being afraid of getting lost, having a huge fear of being late for classes because this was going to be all new to not only me, but all of my classmates! The biggest thing I remember going into junior high was the building itself. The front of the school always intrigued me with its T-shaped structures in the front as you walked in. I seem to remember always seeing photos of sketches done by other students of the outside of the building and the entranceway.
This is where I see several differences in what took place in the ‘60s, compared to my days in the same building in the late ‘70s.
The first photo that caught my eye was that of students dancing in the lobby during lunch. That’s right, I said dancing…in the lobby…during lunch. When I saw this photo and read the caption, I remember laughing and asking myself,‘Really, you were allowed to dance in the lobby during lunch?’
Apparently this was something students did quite often back then. It was a way to unwind and relax after a hard morning of lessons and hitting the books. Personally, I would have loved being able to dance after lunch, or any time for that matter. I loved to dance, still do, although I haven’t danced in a long time. Of course, that’s not to say that I can’t bust a move now and then when the right song comes on the radio!
Continuing to look through the pages of The Scroll from the ‘60s, I saw photos of the many different clubs, classes and activities that used to be the norm. Clubs like the Rifle Club, Archery Club, Secretarial Club, Stamp Club and Dance Clubs (in the ‘60s), and classes like Typing, Shorthand, Home Economics and Business Education and others. I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to classes and clubs like these? They were so beneficial to students like me and so many others that if we had not had the opportunity to attend these classes, we would have missed out on so many very important life skills that are so much a part of what we do in our everyday lives.
While we are still very much in the beginning of the first part of the school year, what are your memories of school days gone by? Who were your favorite teachers? How did they influence your future plans and decisions back then? How many of you have attended a class reunion in the past 5, 10, 20 or 30 years? Why, or why not? Do you keep in touch with classmates? Would you change anything about your high school days? In the coming weeks, I’ll wrap up my school day reflections series, but until then, I’d like to hear from anyone who has memories they’d like to share of school days gone by. It’s fun to reflect, and even more fun to share memories of the past…so stay tuned for more memories of school days gone by, a time for some when life was really a blast!