At local graduations 100 years ago, smaller class sizes and hopes for courage ‘so that you may do and dare’

Posted 23 June 2023 at 6:02 pm

Albion’s Graduating Class, 1923

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 3, No. 21

“Impossible is Un-American” was the class motto of the 1923 Lyndonville High School Class.

Commencement exercises for this class were held on Tuesday, June 26, 1923, at Lyndonville’s Lyndon Theater.

Attendance at the Class Day Exercise held on the previous evening was greatly reduced because of a power outage caused by severe electric and windstorms.

Mr. Richard F. Morgan of the University of Buffalo delivered the commencement speech. Donald F. Fraser, President of the Board of Education, presented diplomas to: Mable Marie Devonshire, Muriel Alene Fraser, Thelma Lillian Langdon, Kathryn Belle Peters, Donald G. Stroyan (Valedictorian), Claude F. Ticknor and Florence Emily Wheeler.

The Class of 1923 entered Albion High School in 1918. While Sophomores, they held a weiner roast at Rock Springs and a picnic at Point Breeze. In their Junior year, they hosted the Junior Prom which was “a howling success.” As Seniors, they sold candy and held dances in the halls, were involved in athletic activities and school plays, and hosted a party for the teachers at the Country Club. Several of the students joined the trip to Washington D.C. organized by the Medina Senior Class.

The June 1923 issue of the Chevron lists the following forty-five Senior students:

Alice Anderson, Iona Axtell, Edith Brignall, Alethe Clapp, Lewellyn Clark, John Cleary, William Curtis, Carolyn Cole, Geraldine Collins, Rosabel Colony, Alice Dingle, Archibald Dorrance, Henry Daum, Howard Dunham, Geraldine Ferris, Maybelle Ferris, Neva Joslyn, Thelma Keitel, Julius Kuck, Eldredge Lamont, Stanley Landauer, Virginia Lattin, Marion Finn, Ellen Forder, Theresa Forbes, Verna Gage, Kenneth Howlett, Patricia Hunt, John Larwood, Edmund Lasher, Lemuel Levinson, Belle Levinson, Daniel McGuire, Lucy McNall, Teresa Pasturkowski, Arda Persing, Mildred Sayers, Marion Sheret, Donald Smith, Madalyn Smith, Gladys Thompson, Winifred Tripp, Clayton Walters, Ethelyn Williams, Morris Wright.

Holley High School graduated the following sixteen students:

Ruth Bartlett, Mabel Brockway, Maurice Chadwick, Lucille Cole, Helen Hincher, John Moore, Catherine Murphy, Frederick Palmer, Antoinette Rago, Stanley Reid, Dorothy Seybold, Gertrude Tillman, Gladson Trimble, Lilah Turner, Lillian Vincella, John Young.

Medina’s Class of 1923

In their Senior Year, the Medina Class of 1923 organized a trip to Washington D.C. which necessitated some ambitious fundraising. They sold holly wreaths, candy, subscriptions to Ladies’ Home Journal and McCall’s Magazine, held bake sales and hosted a Senior Dance. This Class had the distinction of being the last to graduate from the old High School building.

Graduation Exercises were held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 1923, at the Baptist Church in Medina. The commencement address was given by W. Howard Pillsbury, Deputy Supt. of Schools, Buffalo, NY. Diplomas were presented to the following thirty-four students by Dr. Howard A. Maynard, Pres. of the Board of Education:

Glenn A. Armiger, Lavern E. Beeton, Marion L. Boyle, Lester F. Brewer (Salutatorian), Helen L. Brown, Vincent Campana, Arthur Eugene Carrel, Daniel J. Cleary, Jr., Francis E. Conley, Loraine I. Croach, Harold C. Daniels, Kathryn E. Dockery, Julia A. Fay (Valedictorian), Earl B. Goldman, Stanley M. Hill, John D. Horan, J. Lucille Howe, Dorothy Barry Hunt, Clayton J. Ives, Francis J. LeBar, Florence M. McElwee, Cleona L. Oderkirk, Mildred Esther Pettit, Elroy W. Powley, Margaret C. Pringle, Mark A. Pringle, Maude A. Rands, Elsie M. Rook, Raymond F. Rowe, M. Geraldine Ryan, Edward Soucie, Wellington Stork, Eva L. Taylor, Margaret E. Willett.

The good wishes expressed in “Toast to the Seniors” by Eleanor Hill, published in the 1923 Medina High School yearbook, The Mirror, are still relevant for our 2023 graduates:

“O Seniors, happy Seniors, as you leave the High School shore,

Starting out upon life’s voyage, you will treasure more and more

Memories of your happy school days, of your teachers’ love and care,

May their teachings give you courage, so that you may do and dare.

“May your lives be great and useful, may you reach the heights of fame,

On Life’s honor roll at Sunset, we must find each Senior name.

We wish you health and happiness, true strength for every need,

And from our hearts, dear loyal friends, we wish to you, God-Speed.”