Washington High School History 1930s - 1950s

     1930's: By the start of the decade more than 2,500 students have graduated from Washington high school, while Meyers Horner took over as superintendent and R.E. Boyles became the new principal. Basketbal was also revitalized as an interscholastic sport after a new basketbal court was made. In 1932 construction of a new and bigger high school was approved after the widow of J. Earnest Miller, head of Duncan and Miller Glass, sold her house to the Washington School District. The new building had 146 rooms and a capacity of 1,750-2,010, its new style was described as "American Modernistic". In 1936 10th graders were required to take national achievement tests in which they averaged 128, 26 points above the norm. The first May Queen was chosen this year as well with Miss Marion Baringer being the first May Queen in Wash High history. Washington High School was completed and opened its doors on September 6, 1936 with 1,700 students being enrolled. During the school year of 1936-1937 Wash High Athletics had exceptional seasons with the football team going 6-2-1 and the basketball team making it to the WPIAL Semifinals with a 19-3 record. Also school clubs were beginning to emerge with 8 clubs available for students to join. In 1938 Wash High completed the new athletic field for the new football season and the band had 7 members named to the all-district band and 3 members named all-state. (Trelka)

     1940's: This era in Wash High history was met with war yet it was still marked with progress and achievements. Student clubs began to increase in their size, such as the Yearbook Club, and several other clubs were created. Wash High firsts included Student Council, the Honor Roll System, Foreign Language laboratory, and more. The Prexies shined in athletics with the Section 2 basketball champions in 1944 and the undefeated wrestling team in 1949. With the upcoming war looming, Wash High assisted toward the war effort. The Girls Reserve Club sold $15,020 in stamps and bonds for the war. The student enrollment had reached up to 1,705 students at the time yet only twenty-two students and six faculty members joined the armed forces in World War II. In December of 1944 the Wash High students started the nomination of classmates for ideal traits such as eyes, hair, etc. The year 1945 marked change with the appointment of Homer Lowry as principal and Sheldon Kelly as his assistant. The Washington High School Band celebrated its 20th anniversary and the May Queen celebrated its 13th anniversary in 1948. In March of 1949, the "Melody Kings" dance band was created playing at Wash High and Trinity school affairs only. (Trelka1-4)

     1950's: The 1950s started with a Wash High graduate gaining national recognition. Tony "Babe" Gizoni, who graduated in 1948 and was a three time WPIAL and PIAA wrestling champion, became a national champion in wrestling while attending Waynesburg College. A driving school was started in the 1950-1951 school year to help young people practice their driving skills. The Wash High Prexies football team in 1952 would have a perfect season having zero losses. The 1952 basketball team under coach Bill Laughlin followed the football team marking their best season going undefeated. Wrestling also had its winning ways as Tom Diamond and Nick Petronka won the state championship in their respective weight classes in 1953. The Little President school newspaper had its 25th anniversary in 1953 having a readership of 700 readers. 1953 also marked the 10th year anniversary of the Student Council. The Student Court was created in 1954 to try any student accused of breaking school rules. Nick Petronka would again win the state championship in wrestling in 1954. World Famous singer Vaughn Monroe performed at Wash High in 1956 singing many songs including his hit "Racing with the Moon." Senior recognition and the Junior move-up day were first held in the spring of 1956 and are continued to this day. By the 1956-1957 school year the total enrollment had reached 3,583. Only 20% of Wash High graduates went on to colleges or universities so the Go-To-College Club sponsored the first College Night in 1957 to help students get in touch with college representatives. The Washington Teachers' Association also established a 4-year scholarship of $500 a year to a student who was interested in a career in teaching. In 1958, Peggy Schaffer represented Washington at the State Chorus Festival and Dorothy Ermacoff received the highest score possible in a written examination. The Little President was awarded a Second Honor's Award for excellence in journalism in 1958 at the High School Student Publications Institute. In the 1958-1959 year, Louis Dibello and William Kelley were semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship competition. The same year, a proposal for a new cafeteria and other improvements was defeated. After 26 years of being with the Washington High School principal Homer M. Lowry resigned in 1959 and was replaced by Emil F. Dupke. Dupke planned to make more clubs, activities, and improvements in Wash High.A six-period schedule from 8:30 to 3:15 was made in 1959 that had an additional seventh and eighth period for make-up work and discipline. A new honor roll system was created in which a student was required to take at least four major subjects to qualify. In 1959 a survey now showed that 43% of the graduated class was attending advanced training after high school. (Trelka1-4)

Washington City History 1930s - 1950s

     During the 1930s in Washington, Pennsylvania, the population was 24,545 (Washington, Pennsylvania). Robert Forrest used his house to aid the poor and he also fed them, he later left his house and 3 acres to the African American community when he died would lead to the LeMoyne Community Center later (My Business - The Center's History). The Tyler Tube and Pipe Company in Washington closed. The were a group that would close and then reopen due to their economic struggles (Mossburg Fish Market).

     In 1938 the "Pennsylvanians" were founded and became hugely popular in Washington over the radio station WJPA and soon were well known all over America. Also In the late 1930s musical families became a huge part of Washington as well as American society. In the transition from 1930s to the 1940s Washington population increased to 26,166 (Washington, Pennsylvania). From 1948 to 1955 the "Blue Jays" were another music group in Washington that formed and they became popular over WMBS radio.

     Andrew Jr. was a band member with his father until 1949 when he left to serve in the army. There he became the first Greene County servicemen wounded in Korea. As prosperity returned in the 1940s, Washington/Pittsburgh was called the "Arsenal of Democracy" because of its production of munitions for the allied forces. Later on in the 40s the City Mission moved to West Chestnut. By the 1950s Washington Pa's population had only increased to 26,280 (Washington, Pennsylvania).

     Sports and music became more prominent in the 1950s as well, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey visit the LeMoyne Community Center (My Business - The Center's History). The "Blue Jays" a large singing group changed to the "Serenaders in 1955. The PONY (Protect Our Nation's Youth) organization began as well as the Pony league world series which attracted people from all over the world as places as far as Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Germany came to compete in the series.

U.S History 1930s - 1950s

     The U.S. population had increased to 122,775,046 by April 1, 1930 (1930 United States Census). And as the economy weakened it became a huge part of campaigning for presidential candidates and the average income in the U.S. dropped 40% to $1500 a year. Also in the 1930s 15 million peopleor a quarter of the U.S. population were unemployed. At this time, a decade long drought also took place in the Plain States and it became remembered as the "Dust Bowl". Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal helped to mend the depression and many people owned radios and went to the movies although they had little money thanks to the depression (The 1930s).

     In 1940 the U.S. population continued to increase to 132,164,569 (1940 United States Census) later On December 7, 1941, America entered World War II after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The wars happening was enough to push the United States out of the Great Depression thanks to the war effort stimulating industry (1940s News, Events, Popular Culture and Prices). The baby boom began after WWII in 1946 and continued into the 1950s (The 1950s). Rock 'n' Roll was born and continued to expand even more in the 1950s.

     By April 1, 1950 the U.S. population had increased to 150,697,361 (1950 United States Census) and a limit was put on the amount of terms a president can serve with the 22nd amendment. Although the North had won the civil war decades ago, in Montgomery, Alabama Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus leading to a boycott of bus rides for 13 months (The 1950s). Also in the case of Brown v. Board of Education school segregation was outlawed in any U.S. territory. Walt Disney's Disneyland opened in 1955 in California creating an amusement park which would continue to rise in visitors and profits (Early History of Disneyland, in Pictures). NASA formed in 1958 in attempts to explore space. 1952- 1960 Dwight D. Eisenhower President of the United States. Alaska and Hawaii were the final two states added to the U.S. in 1959 (Timeline of United States History).

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