Ilion High School

1954 Senior Class History

As reported in "The Mirror of 1954"

 

Rising out of the mist comes the ghost of the class of 1954. He is retracing the path of his high school days.

 

His first stop is at the stone which reads "Here lies the leaders of cheer, those of our Freshman year: Sally Harter, Ginger Briggs, Theresa Nalezny, Carol Parks, Barb Fager, Nancy Adams, Gall Furlong, Shirley Rasmussen, and Norma Conte." The ghost stumbles over a tiny stone which marks the Freshman Frolic; it died an early death. Recovering, he sights the tombstone of the Frosh class games.

 

Glowing in the moonlight is the marker of the Junior National Honor Society. On it are the names: Sylvia Leistyna, Sally Harter, Larry Bortel, Bud Powers, Ann Corwin, Edna Nelson, John Getman, Mike Letts, Bob Loomis and Carl Tuttle.

 

At the end of the first mile is a tomb containing the happy memories of the baseball game and the hot dogs at the Freshman picnic at Russell Park.

 

The phantom continues his journey to the grave of the Soph Sock Dance. He rushes by the hideous grave of the Sophomore's pink and purple colors that by mutual consent were changed to red and gray.

 

Old '54 passes over the score, 57 to 50, on the next monument, the Soph class games. The tomb of the Soph picnic recalls memories of boat rides and a ball game at Cedar Lake. He sees the marker bearing the inscription, Class Officers of 1951-52: Dick Wilson, Jack Pfeifer, Sylvia Leistyna, and Pat Sponburgh.

 

A gravestone resembling a snowman greets the ghost in the third mile and represents the Junior Christmas Ball with name Mike Lefts, chairman. The ghost remembers the frantic searches for Christmas trees. In a shallow trench is a heap of bones, symbol of the Junior Variety Show which was turned into a Gay 20's dance.

 

A black tombstone bears the names of the Pickaninnies who played in the class games, losing by a score of 54 to 50. He recalls our pickaninny cheerleaders Joan McDaniels, Ginger Briggs, Sally Harter, Theresa Nalezny, Barb Fager, and Nancy Adams, and a Negro Mammy played by Bob Donahue.

 

The ghost approaches a massive stone with names of the members of our class who went to New York with Miss Gordon: Mike Letts, Ruth McKelvie, Sylvia Leistyna, Bob Loomis. Peter Boyle, Sally Harter, Pat Sponburgh, Jack Bowers, Bud Powers, Carl Tuttle, Edna Nelson, and Larry Bortel. He comes to a marker inscribed "Sequel to Sophomore Picnic." Memories of sunburned noses and bathing beauties are recalled to him.

 

Our phantom recalls that the class officers of the junior year were Dick Wilson, Jack Pfeifer, Norma Conte, and Jack Bowers. The ghost sees a marker with names of students who left our class during this year: Jack Pfeifer, Jeanine Gay, and John Kennedy. He notices a stone for representatives to Boys' and Girls' State: Jerry Birr, Mike Letts, Bob Loomis, John Getman, and Sylvia Leistyna.

 

In the last mile the ghost sees the tombstone of the Senior class officers. and remembers the noisy loud-speaker campaigning and the flying saucers in the hall with Bob Loomis, Bud Powers, Barb Fager, and Peter Boyle finally winning out. The next stone has on it the score 12 to 6 of the snowy, rainy, Herkimer game where the cheerleaders: Nancy Adams, Sally Harter, Barb Fager, Sheila Del Grego, Theresa Nalezny, and Marlene Rands were unstinting in their cheers.

 

He sights the marker of the Senior class play, and Old '54 remembers the bustle backstage, opening night. An outstanding marker is that of the DAR good citizens Ruth McKelvie. The National Education week monument recalls to the ghost the Senior panels that entertained Kiwanis, Historical, and Travelers' Club. With a moan, he remembers the many windows washed by Senior Class members after Halloween.

 

The ghost comes to a stone the shape of a vault, and he reads the inscription Christmas Card sales, chairman, Frances Johnson. He comes to twin graves. These are of school publications, the Mirror and the Golden Quill. Our ghost remembers the Mirror's editor-in-chief was Sylvia Leistyna, and that the Quill's editor-in-chief was Ruth McKelvie. Monuments of the Senior Prom, class games, picnic and graduation loom up ahead of him.

 

The ghost of the Class of '54 is rounding out the last mile of his high school life. He has had a pleasant trip seeing and remembering the events that have gone behind him, and he is ready to-continue a trip into his future life.

 

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First Published October 4, 1997 - Modified Sept 21, 2014