After yesterday’s post, I got interested in the very first graduating class of the Old Monroe City High School. I stumbled across an article in the Shreveport Journal newspaper (June 2, 1901, Page 10) that described the commencement:
CLASS DAY AT MONROE
COMMENCEMENT OF CITY HIGH SCHOOL WAS NOTABLE EVENT.
Unequalled Facilities of the Famous School Never Before so Exemplified as Now.
Special to the Journal.
Monroe, La., June 1.
The closing of the Monroe city high school last evening with the commencement exercises, held in High School auditorium, was a brilliant and memorable event, witnessed by the parents, relatives, and friends of the graduates. The spacious building was crowded to overflowing long before the time for the exercises. The occasion marked the turning point in Monroe’s educational future, and manifested in the extreme what public spirit, unstinted methods and high regard our people entertain for the higher education of their youth.
Since the erection of the new High School there has been an undying impetus infused into all educational work, which never before blessed this community; and to say that the past session in the city high school under the capable superintendence of Prof. Showalter has achieved more in an educational way, than any previous year’s record in the public schools of this place, is but just praise to that educator and his efficient corps of teachers.
The four graduates, comprising Misses Nina Sanders, Lillie Wetzel and Luci Nunn, and Mr. Rudolph Wollank had the honor of being the first full fledged graduates to finish up their studies in the new high school building. They graduated from the eleventh grade, and with the most satisfactory marks to their school superintendent, who is glowing in his praise of their efforts during the past year.
Miss Sanders is just budding into perfect womanhood, and is in her 18th year. Miss Lucie Nunn, the chosen president of the graduating class, is an attentive student, combined with a charming personality. Miss Lillian Wetzel is a tall and graceful blonde, having an equally pleasing personality all her own. Mr. Wollank has for some time ranked among the talent of Monroe, being an accomplished performer upon the violin. he is now an applicant for the vacancy for West Point, and his mental attainments are apt to win for him the appointment now pending before Congressman Ransdall. (He did get into West Point!)
The doors of the auditorium were thrown open at 7:30 o’clock, and before 8 o’clock the large theater was crowded almost to overflowing. The regular routine was carried out according to the published program.
Rev. Dr. J.R. Moore, pastor of the First Methodist church, delivered the invocation, which was very impressive and approprate.
“Work” was the subject of Miss Nunn’s essay. “The Modern Sir Laufal” was the essay of Miss Nina Sanders, followed by enjoyable music. “The Brook and the Wave,” the subject taken for Miss Wetzel’s essay was beautiful. The oration: “Well Begun is Half Done,” by Mr. Rudolph Wollank, was beautiful in conception and clever in delivery. Following this portion of the exercises came the address and presentation of the diplomas to the graduates by Hon. A.C. Dawkins, Editor of the News, who spoke in his usual pleasing manner in words well calculated to impress those to whom his words were addressed.
Monroe claims the distinction of having the most modern, elaborately constructed and commodious public school building in not only the State, but also in the South and the United States. The credit for it is due to Mayor Forsythe.
The building cost something like $65,000. Besides the three storise [sic] of class rooms, the building contains a magnificent and modern auditorium, which has a modernly built stage and scenery which may be utilized to prsent any modern dramatic production. The city high school stands as a monument to the energy and pluck of our mayor, whose name will hold a prominent place on the scroll of Monroe’s history.
Whew! Can you imagine having to give an essay for your commencement? Yikes!