Golden Class Turns Silver
The 1967 graduating class of Springfield High School was the 50th or “golden anniversary” class since the building opened in 1917. Now, 25 years later, the “golden anniversary” Class of 1967 is celebrating its silver anniversary with a reunion.
The largest class ever to graduate from Springfield High School, we began as the baby boom generation. For us the taxpayers of Springfield hired more teachers, opened kindergartens and restructured the old grade schools (grades 1-8) into elementary schools (grades 1-6). For us the taxpayers of Springfield built the first junior high schools: Edison, Franklin, Grant, Jefferson and Washington. When we reached high school, we swelled the buildings beyond tolerance, and split shifts began.
When the Class of ‘67 graduated from Springfield High School, there were 2207 students crowded into the building. At one time the class of ‘67 itself numbered 861, though not all survived that population density until graduation day, June 1, 1967.
Our numbers thinned out at lunch. In 1967 McDonald’s had a virtual monopoly on fast food. A school cafeteria lunch cost 35 cents (and catsup wasn’t yet categorized as a vegetable). The Beatles had already been around for several years; so had Elvis, for that matter, but ask us seniors what we’d like to see, and a likely answer would have been a red Ford Mustang or a Jag or any movie other than the year’s Academy Award-winning A Man for All Seasons--or just Bonanza every week.
Going to high school almost in the shadow of the Illinois State Capitol, and growing up in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln, the Class of ‘67 heard an address by Illinois Gov. Sam Shapiro in its school auditorium, and watched on TV as President Lyndon B. Johnson simultaneously waged a war on poverty and a war in Vietnam. Few in the Class of ‘67 could have predicted the expense both those wars would ring up in the national debt--and, more sobering, what a toll of mortality and injury that war in Vietnam would take.
Closer to home, in the spring of 1967, the PTA celebrated 50 years of the building (which had replaced the old Central High School) and inaugurated the SHS Alumni Hall of Fame.
Little did the Class of ‘67 know then that one of their number, John O. Norquist, would become the mayor of Milwaukee before the class’s silver anniversary.
Also in the spring of 1967, basketball star Dave Robisch led SHS to third place in the state basketball championship. It was no surprise to see him go on to a major pro basketball career.
Other stories of greatness attempted, greatness achieved could he told, perhaps will be told. For now, they are gathering for a tour of the 75-year-old Springfield High School building on Saturday, August 8. Then on to other reunion activities at the Holiday Inn East.
A QUARTER OF A CENTURY LATER, AND YOU STILL GO “H-m-m?”
Why wouldn’t even the greasiest greaser ever think of calling Miss Body, Miss body? H-m-m?
Why did a few pieces of Christmas concert confetti “snow” fall from the stage ceiling during every assembly afterwards, even the spring concert Faure Requiem? H-m-m?
Why could college-prep students take music but not art or shop, because Miss Hausen said so? H-m-m?
Why did all the cafeteria ladies look like nurses aides from St. John’s Hospital with hairnets, or like Ruth Buzzi? H-m-m?
What really is a “School Boy Apple” or “Arabian Salad,’ Alice Powers? H-m-m?
Why did we learn more about cameras than history in Mr. Truesdale’s class? Or more about used cars than biology in Mr. Mayerle’s class? H-m-m? What’s an invite, really? H -m-m?
Why did students have to leave the schools grounds to smoke, while the smoke from the teacher’s lounge fogged the halls? Is “Prom” really an abbreviation for “Promenade”? (but there was so much staggering going on.) H-m-m?
How did Ivan Maras memorize the entire chemistry textbook?
What did Rick Plain say in his monologue at the Senior Assembly that made Mr. Frank so angry that he ordered Les Vuylsteke to “get him off the stage NOW.” H-m-m.
What was in the inflammatory article that forced the suppression of a whole issue of the Senator after it had been printed?
How did we put up with those dungeons of locker rooms until the new gymnasium opened in our senior year? H-m-m.
How did we cram everything into our lockers? Some of us shared with 3 or 4 people. H-m-m.
How could counselor Barbara Zeller confidently address hundreds of students by name—but seldom the right name? H-m-m?
Q: Who from the class of ‘67 wrote these words in 1977 in order to complete a Ph.D. at Cal Tech?
“Parameters of repetitive DNA sequence organization have been measured in the rat, Drosophila and the pea genomes.”
A: Bill Pearson
SPORTS HERO REMEMBERED
The SHS trophy case. Does it still contain the 1967 Big 12 Basketball Championship trophy? Remember that championship season: on to the State Tournament? Earlier, in regular season play, SHS had beaten Champaign. Then Champaign, with a conference record rivaling SHS, re-matched the Solons. If Champaign would win that game, SHS would have to share the conference title with them.
That rematch game was hair-raising. Champaign scored and led SHS by a single point SHS had possession of the ball, but for what? Was it only two seconds left on the clock?
Would SHS lose the game and have to share the Big 12 Conference title with Champaign?
It looked like a heart-breaker for SHS.
Then Tom Langford, SHS Class of ‘67, threw that basketball almost the full length of the court. It went in. The winning basket. Tom Langford secured that trophy outright for SHS.
The SHS trophy case. Look for it. And remember Tom.