Transcribed for the left hand alone by Leschetizky
Our Class Song
(to the tune of “Long Ago and Far Away”)
Long ago and far away
We dreamed of this our day,
The day we'd leave our friends behind us.
Now the time has come too fast,
Our Shorewood days are past,
But thoughts of you remain:
Thoughts of dances in the gym,
Our teams that always win.
These things will never be forgotten.
Soon our ways will part and then
Our thoughts return
To Shorewood High again.
In September 1938 we walked up the long walks that lead to Shorewood high school for the first time, The walks are long and we had time to ask ourselves all the questions about this new school life that we could think of; we were wondering if we would make new friends; if we would ever master algebra, geom-etry, and chemistry; would we ever look as polished as “those senior girls." And so six years ago we came to Shorewood and talked about our future -- tonight, it becomes our past.
The past of our class did begin six years ago, and many of us were here to see it, but our class is more than just those old timers, for along the walk we have met and been joined by many new friends, These new friends, along with the old, have grown into the class of 1944. It's funny, when you graduate your class gets labeled. Ours will be ‘44, and there'll be a ‘45, and ‘46, and ‘47, but to us, the class labeled ‘44 will mean the most, because behind that label, lie our memories.
Distant memories of the “days of our youth,” seventh grade. What strange creatures we must have looked like to the older students as we stood awestricken and lost in the front hall; girls in knee socks and hair cut straight, right below the ear lobe, and boys in knickers., with one pants leg up - - the other down. After we had gotten used to a few technicalities such as white slips, blue slips, and yellow slips, we began to carry that notebook with Shorewood high school printed on it very proudly. We found that this school was more than books and slips, it was tradition. Tradition of good sportsmanship and giving. We saw these traditions put to life in the fight for the Little Brawn Jug, and in the giving of pennies to the Hi-Y drive. Soon we shed that awkward feeling and waltzed into a lively seventh grade routine -- and I do mean waltzed, remember the seventh grade social dancing? And for the routine: Girls studied “How to repair an electric light socket,” under Mr. Newhauser, while the boys went all domestic and learned how to make apple sauce from Miss Robinson. Boys and girls went social together at the big May Dance. Everyone was given the name of some flower and then, daisy danced with daisy, and buttercup with buttercup. That was life at the end of the walk our first year.
As eighth graders, we liked to consider ourselves the seniors of the junior high school. We were feeling quite at home and thought we were pretty important people around school. The boys were becoming stars of Ocky’s Weasels and the girls never missed an opportunity to view their Friday afternoon tussles with Henry Clay or Holy Rosary. Many of us were two-year veterans in glee club or dramatics, and life at Shorewood was here to Stay.
Remember being called a “freshie?” Well, as “freshies” our class looked quite different as a whole, When we walked into that new freshman home room in September, we found a whole new gang of kids to get to know, They came from the Town of Milwaukee, St. Robert’s, and River Hills; but soon they became as much a part of Shorewood as the old-timers. Our freshman year gave us our first try at foreign languages, and to hear “Schprecken Sie Deutsch? or Coma esta oo stead?” was quite common in the halls. Books were put aside during the fourth hour and after school and we began our careers in the extra-curricular field. We ven-tured meek, single lines from a play script, dreaming of a heroine lead; we blew with gusto on a French horn, striving for a solo performance; boys played with “B” teams, hoping to make touchdowns for the Varsity. And almost as suddenly as it had begun, our freshman year passed.
When writing the Senior Class Day script, the giggle that goes, “Biology with its fish and bugs, learns us about amebas mugs, cutting up fish and fingers too, insides, outsides, icky goo,” seemed best to describe our sophomore year. Carrying around that famous blue and gold book known as Exploring Biology is all too reminiscent of the year 1941--1941, we were sitting right back there below the balcony, sitting near the same friends we are sitting with tonight, as we listened to the radio as President Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan. Pearl Harbor, though thousands of miles away, left its scar here too. The true significance of that event grew in size, as our class grew older.
As juniors, when not laboring over the cube root of Pi R2 or the perfect past in Latin III, we all kept a sharp look-out for Mr. Nowak and our junior class rings, Their arrival was almost equal to the Prom, but not quite, We'll never forget Ole’s booming voice as he marched us around the gym, by 2’s, 4’s, by 8’s, by 16’s, in preparation for the grand march -- and then, Prom night. Well, we had seen the gym full of cheering basketball crowds, we had seen it every day for the past six years during our gym class, but Prom night we walked into a Land of Story Book fantasies - not the gym.
When school began this past fall, we all agreed that being seniors didn't feel much different. We felt the weight of new responsibilities as our friends became leaders in Ripples, Hi-Y, Girl Reserves, and Dramatics. We saw the Weasels of 1938 become the Suburban Champions of 1943, extending the football victory streak to 34 undefeated games, We were still living by the traditions of good sportsmanship and giving we had learned about as seventh graders. There was a third element that was becoming tradition, that was service - war service. Ever mindful of the serious., we joined into the senior events of our last sem-ester bound to make it full and lasting. The corny jokes of Hobo Day and Senior Class Day are still repeated. The run of Stage Door will never close as far as the cast is concerned. Seniors are still peeling from the class picnic sunburn. Each of us has our personal memories of our senior year that no words can describe.
For the memories, big and little, that we are taking with us tonight, we owe a debt of gratitude and thanks. Two words, like thank you, don't seem sufficient to cover six years and a multitude of memories, but behind that thank you, which every one of us is saying tonight to you, our parents, our teachers, and our community -- behind that thank you is all the happiness of living and the chance of building memories that you have given us these past six years. To our parents, we want you to know how grateful we are for that warm, firm, ever ready hand that has meant encouragement and love. To our teachers, thank you for that friendly bit of informality you made us feel, for you generosity in giving us those minutes of “extra help,” and for teaching us democracy by letting us live it. To the school board and community, our thanks for every bit of this beautiful campus and these stately buildings, from the smallest bit of glass tubing in the chemistry lab to the beautiful pool, These thanks are as real and sincere as our memories,
Tonight was the last night we walked up the walks as students of Shorewood high school. “Soon our ways will part and then -- our thoughts return to Shorewood high again."
A TOAST TO THE FUTURE
Tonight, the door opens on the walk leading away from Shorewood high school The ultimate destination of our individual paths is naturally most uncertain. But the immediate path we must take is quite clear.
For some of us it leads into the sheltered hall of higher education, for others it leads straight into the noisy, confusing business or industrial world, and for a good many of us, it leads into the unknown dangers in the service of our country.
- Wherever the path leads, we accept its challenge.
Those of us following the path toward higher education advance with the first quality for success, that of self-confidence. A confidence that comes from the knowledge of the records that past Shorewood students have achieved in the field of higher education. A confidence that comes from the fact that we know we are as well prepared as they were. A confidence that has come from the opportunity to exercise our individual interests and assume individual responsibilities. We have been given the opportunity to major in fields of Science, Mathematics, Languages, and English if we so desire. Those among us going on to higher education have utilized these opportunities completely. We also know that a reason Shorewood students succeed in college is because they have been taught that the responsibility of completing their assignments was their own, always being aware that the helpful guidance of their instructors was theirs for the asking.
Many of us will enter wage earning jobs, where the competition is keen and where the best prepared advance farthest and quickest. Our training here in Shorewood has been such that we will be able to meet new people and to present what we have to offer to our potential employers. Furthermore, we are anxious to build on our background whatever is asked of us.
The path leading into the service of our country is one most of us would not follow under ordinary circumstances. But because of the present conflict, we are more than willing, we are eager, to do our bit, to help in the fight for freedom. The next few months will see most of the boys of our class in the service of our country and undoubtedly in the not to distant future, we will be joined by some of the girls. We know we are ready for this, a new challenge to our generation. For behind our democratic school life we have been taught respect, honor, and leadership. We also advance into this field with the proper attitude, and this is important. We know what we went in the future. We want to make certain that our younger brothers and sisters, and our own children will have the opportunity to walk up and down walks like these here at Shorewood, in a world at peace.
On your copy of this Commencement program, it says, “Robert Smith will talk on the future,” But I am just a young boy, who is as confused about the future as any young American, or any young person in any part of the world. We can only hope and pray that some day, some day soon we will all lay down our arms, and that the men of the Allied countries will make certain for us a peaceful world in which to live. Before this day is realized there is a long and diffi-cult road ahead of us. On June 6, another step was taken, but this will and must be followed by another and another, until we have beaten these warped minded individuals into submission. Then and only then can we come back to the peace-ful America we love. Regardless of what may occur along this path, we must keep our chins up and our thoughts in the future that we are helping to make for the entire world. And when our prayers are realized, we must remember that the world is bigger than we are, and peace in the next century will depend on how well we can get along with our neighbors.
I have confidence that every member of this class of 1944 is ready to meet his or her challenge, and that all of us have the same goal in view.
Now as the last door of our high school career closes behind us, let us look around us and wish our classmates the best of luck and may God bless us all.
Remarks by Principal Grant Rahn
I liked the flavor of the talks by Bette Schanglies and Bob Smith; for they reflected very real progress toward several of the goals which we have tried to help you achieve,
The three goals which I have in mind are:
First, the ability to think through a group problem co-operatively. To illustrate your progress toward this goal: Following a panel discussion on “Full Employment” by members of your class before the suburban school adminis-trators, one of them said, “The respect those students had for one another’s viewpoints was unusual, even among adults. They are certainly learning to weigh and consider objectively.”
The second goal is the realization that membership in a group places upon you responsibilities to that group and to the community of which it is a part. For example, as a member of the Ripples staff, you not only had the responsibility of meeting deadlines, but of making sure that your contributions reported the facts as they happened,
Or, as a good school citizen you voluntarily obeyed the rules of the school. You did not try to evade them when the teacher was not looking; for such lack of responsibility to the school’s good name would have undermined your own self-respect as well as the regard in which others held you. And if you did fall short -- as we all do -- and were corrected, you thoughtfully sought to incorporate the criticism into your future behavior.
The third goal is willingness to give freely of self in carrying to success a group project with which you have identified yourself. Those of you who faithfully served as block captains or hospital aides or as workers on the various drives understand the cost of such service. That service required the laying aside of personal convenience in order that the public interest or the welfare of others might be advanced.
Your faculty has laid emphasis on group projects in school and community because the best means Of developing a civic minded citizenry is to provide energetic, enthusiastic, idealistic youth in their early teens with the oppor-tunity of helping in the solution of school and community problems.
As a class you have made commendable progress toward these goals: Ability in co-operative thinking, sense of social responsibility, participation in com-munity activities.
But instead of making Commencement a time for glorification of class achievement, let us make it inventory time for the individual. This thought prompts me to ask each of you to answer in his own heart such questions as these: Do I constructively help the group to the best decision possible, or do I seek only to force my will upon the group, or do I hold my tongue until after the decision is made and then gripe over it? Do I conform to the best traditions of groups to which I belong; that is, am I a law-abiding citizen or do I try to get by with evasions so long as I’m not caught? Do I give freely of myself to projects with which I have identified myself, or am I a “joiner,” a “sitter,” more concerned with dates, dances, and a general good time than with worthy service?
You can give worthy answer to these questions to the extent that your be-havior conforms to such ideas as these: The other fellow’s point of view deserves respect and evaluation in any decision I may help to make affecting him; judg-ments and decisions should follow the evidence, not my personal preference; my school or community can be no more worthy than I am; I can find enduring success and happiness to the extent that I serve rather than exploit others.
In the degree that your personal behavior exemplifies these principles, you have made progress in ability to do group thinking, in sense of social responsi-bility, in the spirit of civic participation.
But, you may wonder, why do I direct your thoughts to these three goals on this your Commencement night.
I do so for these reasons:
It is evident to every thoughtful person that the future of our democracy requires that all citizens make greater progress toward these goals.
Now every one of you has had more and richer opportunities for progress toward these goals than have the great majority of American youth; yes, I would say, than the great majority of American citizens.
And so, Shorewood, by virtue of its great investment in you, expects divi-dends from you -- in citizenship. Accordingly, in your dealings with others you have the responsibility of so conducting yourself as to make further worthy progress toward the three goals. In the process of such living, you will grow in leadership and in personal and social effectiveness.
But do not think that in the work-a-day world you will find eager acceptance of your ideas. There are too many people who have not yet learned the practicality of working together for common ends. They still think that they can really solve problems by force, by organizing pressure groups for selfish ends. They have not learned that careful weighing of ideas, really understanding and taking into con-sideration the other fellow’s viewpoint, will result in sounder, more satisfying solution of problems than exercising pressure or yielding to pressure. They have not learned the truth of a motto which I saw on a wall of the Palmer House in Chicago, “Co-operation, not competition, is the life of trade.” They are motivated by a too narrow conception of self-interest. Self-interest will ever be a driving force in man’s behavior; but self-interest can be fully realized only as it takes into consideration the self-interest of other people and other groups.
In presenting these obstacles I would not discourage you in your ideals. I simply want you to be realistic in working toward them.
You will have your difficulties; but there are many encouraging
signs on the horizon, For example, America is utterly sick of the unsocial
tactics of such willful men as John L, Lewis and Sewell Avcry. Each thinks
he has the right answer. Each seems to accord little or no validity to
the rights of the other side. Each seems unwilling to sit down and judicially
solve problems on their merits. And so American public opinion is moving
gradually toward those ideas of co-operation observed by such organizations
as the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company, Endicott-Johnson, The Hormel Company, The
Proctor Gamble Company, the National Electrical Contrac-tors and Workers.
As another hopeful sign you may recall the remarks addressed to labor by
Mr. Eric Johnston, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In substance
he said, “Why must management and labor constantly fight one another? In
the twenties, management was in the saddle. It rode rough-shod over the
Unless we learn to co-operate at home, all talk of international co-operation for a lasting peace will prove nonsense. Unless we have the enlightened self-interest to co-operate at home and with other nations, the inevitable outcome will be that your sons will also fare forth to war.
And so your ideals for a more worthy democracy face a challenge which it will take your lifetime to meet, Yet I have much confidence that as the days pass your ability to do group thinking will become more effective, your sense of social responsibility will expand and deepen, and your participation in civic affairs will make better communities, a better America.
It is in this hope that I now award to you your diplomas.
GRANT RAHN, Principal
The Program, Class Song, "A ToastTo The Past" , "A Toast To The Future" and Remarks