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SLHS Class of 1924

August 4, 2008
By Howard Riley, hjriley@adelphia.net

I have this great picture of the Saranac Lake High School Class of 1924 which you are probably looking at right now that came in a collection of Ruth McClellan memorabilia from Lora Brown.

Michelle Tucker, curator of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, also has a large trove of local history saved by Miss McClellan that was turned over to the library when she died here in 1986 at age 80.

Before the creation of the present high school yearbook, the Canaras, the students published quite a sophisticated quarterly entitled the Mazda. One of the editors was Cornelius Carey who became a lawyer and a well-known Franklin County Judge.

Article Photos

This information was given to the library in 1990 by Jack Leary. Left to right — front row: Anthony Gedroiz, Edward Rice, Eileen Dupree, Marion Devereux, Marion Boulley, Jack Leary, Marion Burmaster, Amerasuda Acrivelis, Hyman Weiner, Margaret Massen and Filix Munn. Middle row: John Pedroni, Gertrude Clark, Ruth McClellan, Alice Billings, Alison Rice, Bernice Levy, Lucy Edelberg, Miss Janet Johnson (teacher, class chaperone), Genevieve Vandeburgh, Edward Summerville and Fremont Walker. Back row: Merrill Thomas, Daniel Hayes, Henry Leis, Richard Lytle, George Hogan, John Little, Alfred Bendell, Kenneth Toof, Ralph Davidson, Morrison Chambers and John Morgan.
(Photo courtesy of Lora Brown)

There was also a Joke Editor by the name of Merville Witherbee and here is a sample from his column: "Teacher: Johnny, give me a sentence using Ben Hur. Johnny answered: A friend of mine won a hundred dollars, I wish I could have been her."

The School Colors

A few years ago the school decided to get rid of the name Redskins for the sports teams because there were those who thought that label might be offensive to Native Americans. Apparently the Washington Redskins did not agree. Many of us argued at the time that the name was to honor the Indians, not insult them.

The school colors have always been Red & White and here is what Naomie MacDowell, Class of 1929, wrote in the Mazda about that subject:

"What do the school colors, red and white, mean to you? Your reply would probably be, 'A representation of the good old S.L.H.S' but there are other meanings of which you may never have heard.

"Before we Americans came to America the 'redskins' esteemed red as their precious color, their emblem of bravery, love, courage, danger and spirit. For their feathers, beads, war paint, clothing and other valuables they depended upon red. The warriors, chiefs and medicine men wore red.

"Thus we find that the red in our banner stands for school spirit, dangerous opponents, bravery, love and courage.

"White means purity or freedom from the stain of unfairness. White typifies truth and also faithfulness. Are you proud of our school colors?"

Comment on the picture

The students in the picture look more like college age, probably because of the style of clothes at the time. There is John Pedroni, tall, dressed in a suit, with a pen in his pocket like he is ready to start work the next day. I knew him as an optometrist and he was such an elegant guy, very precise in his speech and courteous to a fault.

We obviously lost Merrill Thomas to Lake Placid (much to Roby Politi's benefit) but he looked, years later, just like he looked in his high school picture. Dr. Gedroiz was a sharp guy then and always after. John Morgan went on to earn a four-year degree from a good school, but I can't remember where; he was a captain in the Army in WWII; then he was town clerk and always wore a shirt, tie and jacket to the office. He and his wife, Evelyn, owned that great house at 115 Main St. next to the library where Judge Paul Herrmann now has his home and law offices.

Junior High School - 1924

The students in junior high were allowed a page or two in the Mazda for their activities so we will list a few names of class officers and sports members from the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

The president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of grades 9, 8 and 7 in that order were: Lura Judson, Carl Smith, Burnice Burk and Frank Estes; Elmer Smith, Kenneth Wilkins, Hall Parker and Ruth Collins; Thomas Robinson, George Scollin, Jean Kelly and Richard Estes.

Ruth had a relative who was a "duly licensed teacher" named S. D. McClellan whose name appears on a Memorandum of Hiring dated September 6, 1892. This person was hired to teach in the public school in the town of Moriah, Essex County School District No. 7 for a term of 40 weeks "at a weekly compensation of fifteen dollars, payable monthly."

When Ruth McClellan died, she left no survivors. She was born in Saranac Lake on June 2, 1906, the daughter of Samuel D. and Sophia Ryan McClellan.

 
 

 

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