Washington High School History 1960s - 1980s

     The 1960s and 70s saw many changes at Washington High School. New additions were planned in the cafeteria and shop areas, and district owned property was used to create and accommodate the first child care class. A grading scale for the high school was adopted that is still in use today. Throughout the 60's and 80's Wash High had a few different principals, assistant principals, and Superintendents. In extra-curricular activities, the Prexie yearbook won the highest award possible on a national level, the Red Cross Youth Corps was formed, and students competed and won first place in a chess tournament. (The Quest) The band received their Revolutionary War uniforms in 1971 and "Yankee Doodle" was played by them for the first time. (Washington High School Yearbook)

     In sports, the football team went undefeated in 1963, while the wrestling team did the same in 1974. In 1972 and 1973 the boys' cross country team won the WPIALs. The girls tennis team was formed with Mr. Weaver. The Wash High Drill Team helped out at pep assemblies much like the band and cheerleaders do now. In 1984, the boys basketball team became the PA State Champion under Coach Ron Faust and Coach Bob Dickson, and they won again in 1986. In 1988-1989, the Wash High soccer team was started. (The Quest)

     In the 1980s, new opportunities were offered before school with "early bird classes", which helped students expand their knowledge and show their dedication by showing up to school early. In 1983, the Second Madrigal Dinner was held, those who participated dressed up and sang songs from the 16th century while directed by James Cope. (The Quest) New renovations were completed in 1987 to include our LGI, and other facilities that would help the school. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Homecoming during the 80's was very similar to our homecoming today. They dressed in different themes throughout the week and did the spirit chain competition. (The Quest)

     Notable alumni at Wash High included Carol Hummel, also known as Mrs. Balaz, (who later taught hundreds of students at Washington Park Elementary), who was "Girl of the Year"; and Leo Trich, who became a Pennsylvania state representative. Many people have been recognized as impressive athletes, such as Audra Rotella, Lynn Cameron and Bonnie Parleopf, Mark Jacobson, for ballet, swimming, and kayaking respectively. (The Quest) Washington High School remains a place where people can grow and achieve great things in their life.

Washington City History 1960s - 1980s

     In the 1960s, the once thriving economy of Washington began to fade. One cause was the use of tin and plastic for containers instead of glass. The steel industry & its manufacturers soon began to decline afterwards. The building of new shopping centers like the Washington Mall and Crown Center also impacted businesses on Main Street (Historic Preservation). The NAACP in Washington struggled for local businesses to hire blacks as there was still a racial barrier going on the city but soon came to an end in the early 60s. In 1961, LeMoyne & Washington Park pools were integrated due to the NAACP. Myra Campbell, Debra Thomas, & Linda Wade were known as "freedom swimmers", meaning that they were first blacks to ever swim at the park pool (Equal but Separate).

     On Oct. 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy came to Washington, PA a little less than a month before that year's midterm election and as it turned out, he ended up becoming POTUS on Jan. 20, 1961 (The Day President Kennedy Waved to us). In honor of his life and being the first Catholic president, the elementary school name Immaculate Conception was changed in his memory. John F. Kennedy School opened its doors on October 20, 1965 (History of JFK Catholic School). In 1963-1964 segregation ended at school in Washington. In April 1964, a march down Main Street in Washington took place to support the passage of the Civil Rights Bill led by Lou Waller, as during that time the United States was fighting for political and social equality for the rights of all citizens (OR Beyond the South) . W&J started buying up homes nearby in order to expand their campus, creating conflict with residents, but in September 1970 Washington and Jefferson College became co-educational. More advances for gender equality was taking place in the United States with the Equal Rights Amendment (History of Washington and Jefferson College).

     In the 1980s, factories were shutting down but the ones that remained more specialized were able to remain open longer, as a lot of glass factories closed down (David Ross). One cause of all the factories closing down was the fact that the United States was in its worst recession, forcing many businesses to shut down as the stock market crashed in 1987. Duncan & Miller Glass ceased production in 1980, as Brockway Glass closed down (, with Allegheny Ludlum (Jessop Steel Corp) being one of the factories that lasted through the eighties (James Moore). Washington County made National News for the karate chop killer named Roland Steele who was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death on March 25, 1988. (Murderpedia)

U.S. History 1960s - 1980s

     1960s: Jan. 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy became POTUS. He promised the New Frontier to eliminate injustice & inequality. JFK helped to ease tensions between communist Russia, Cuba and The U.S.A. The Cuban missile crisis ended with the U.S. embargo of Cuba, and an increased arms race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. JFK was shot in 1964. POTUS Lyndon B. Johnson enacted a program of reforms, making the U.S. turn into the Great Society. (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) Many were deployed in the continuation of the war in Vietnam which led to an Anti War sentiment which helped to create the 1960's counter culture. The fight for Civil Rights led to the Civil Rights Act & the Voting Rights Act. Student activists grew more radical during this time period, along with the feminist movement. Martin Luther King Jr. & Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. Richard Nixon became POTUS in 1968.

     1970s: New political movement, the New Right, celebrating the free market and decline of traditional values, located in the Sunbelt. First Earth Day, with Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act 2 years later. Equal Rights Amendment, but got defeated. Nixon continued the war instead of ending it, by limiting the draft. U.S. invaded Cambodia. Congress tried to revoke Gulf of Tonkin. N.Y. Times published the Pentagon papers. Watergate Scandal & Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford took Nixon's place.

     1980s: New Right inclined. Ronald Reagan became POTUS with supply-side economics (Reaganomics). During the end days of the Cold War, Reagan thought the spread of communism threatened freedom, resulting in him providing financial and military aid to anti communist gov. around the world. The exposed Iran-Contra affair changed the public's view of Reagan.. The U.S. experienced its worst recession, business closed, families lost their home, and the stock market crashed in 1987. George H. W. Bush became POTUS. 1989 Decade known as the "yuppie" (baby boomer w/ a college education & well-paying job) Age of the blockbuster & more people owned televisions.

Emigration and Immigration

     The Scots Irish and Germans were some of the first ethnic groups to settle in Western Pennsylvania including Washington County in the 17th and 18th centuries for work and refuge. Many came to Pennsylvania also as indentured servants. Southern and Eastern European immigrants to Pennsylvania began their large influx in the late 19th century. As part of the Great Migration, many African Americans also moved to Pennsylvania during the 19th and notably the 20th centuries. Other significant ethnic groups in Pennsylvania include the Swedish, Dutch, British, Irish, Welsh, and French. These groups are still prominent in today's demographics. (Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration)

     The people of Western Pennsylvania were involved in factory, agricultural, and iron, ore, coal mining work to name a few. There was a notable push by H.J. Heinz to better factory work conditions for workers during this time of nil protection for employees by the government. (Overview of Pennsylvania History)

Works Cited

  • "The Quest" Wash High Yearbook (1971-1972) Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sunday November 9, 1997
  • Taylor, Lynda G. "Washington High standing strong, proud." Pittsburgh Post Gazette Pittsburgh 9 Nov. 1997: W1,W7. Print.
  • B Washington High School. Wash High 1971-1972 Yearbook. Washington, PA: Graduating Class of 1972, 1972. Washington High School Library.
  • "The Fourth Quarter Century." The Quest 11.4 (Apr. 1992): n. pag. Print.
  • "The Present Quarter Century." The Quest 11.5 (July 1992): n. pag. Print.
  • "Varsity Xtra: Wash Machine - In Mid-1980s, Little Prexies Couldn't Be Beat." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Web. 29 May 2015.
  • "Home - Massaro Construction Management Services." Massaro Construction Management Services. Web. 29 May 2015.
  • "Mystery Solved." Observer-Reporter. Web. 29 May 2015.
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  • http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20150117/NEWS01/150119539 "Beyond the South - the Civil Rights Movement Made Its Mark in the Pittsburgh Region." Observer-Reporter. Brad Hundt, 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 May 2015.
  • http://www.washingtonpa.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Chapter7_HistoricPreservation.pdf) "Historic Preservation." Washingtonpa.us. Web. 26 May 2015
  • (http://jfkcatholic.com/jfk/ProspectiveFamilies/AboutUs/HistoryofJFKCatholicSchool.aspx) "History of JFK Catholic School." John F. Kennedy Catholic School Prospective Families About Us. Web. 21 May 2015.
  • (Newspaper Article) for the 1960s Warco, Kathie. "Equal But Separate." Observer Reporter 14 Nov. 2004, B2 sec.: B2-B3. Print.
  • http://scottbeveridge.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-president-kennedy-waived-to-us.html
  • "Travel with a Beveridge: The Day President Kennedy Waved to Us." Travel with a Beveridge: The Day President Kennedy Waved to Us. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Washington_%26_Jefferson_College "History of Washington & Jefferson College." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 May 2015.
  • http://freepages.nostalgia.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ebgschol/mainst1.htm "Main Street USA." Main Street USA. Web. 22 May 2015.
  • Roland Steele | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers." Roland Steele | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers. Juan Ignacio Blanco, n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
  • "Woman Buried, River Searched In Karate Chop Deaths." Woman Buried, River Searched In Karate Chop Deaths. Web. 22 May 2015. http://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/steele-roland.htm
  • Ross, David. "Washington History." Personal interview. 18 May 2015.
  • Moore, James. "Washington History." Personal interview. 20 May 2015.
  • http://www.history.com/topics/1960s "The 1960s." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
  • "Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration." Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration. Web. 3 June 2015.
  • "Overview of Pennsylvania History." Overview of Pennsylvania History. Web. 3 June 2015.
  • www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/Cuban-Missile-Crisis.aspx Web. 8 June 2015.
  • www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/reagan-iran/ Web. 8 June 2015
  • https://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/timelines/1960-1970/ Web. 8 June 2015