Reflections: Commencement — 95 years ago

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Sadly. this year seniors in every level of educational institutions from high school through college will not have the experience of walking across a platform to receive a diploma or toss their caps in the air as a final salute to their years of study.

Fortunately, with technology today, those seniors will not be ignored but will be honored. Compare the regular commencement exercises with that of May, 1925, some 95 years ago when the first Commencement was held in the newly built Cardington School.

The school was constructed in 1924 replacing the Old Union School, built in 1868. Almost 75 per cent of the Union building was encased in the new building which stands at 121 Nichols Street today and houses students from pre-school through fourth grade.

The 1925 Commencement was extremely long. The newspaper account describes the event held in the auditorium which was a “blaze of color” with flowers banked everywhere.

The school orchestra played several numbers and there were piano soloists, vocal soloists, songs by the Glee Club and the speaker was given a lengthy introduction by the school superintendent. The class colors, blue and grey, were used throughout the hall.

I’m going to name the members of this first class to graduate from the new school in 1925; Earl Beckel, Mauda Bond, Herbert Campbell, Doris Davis, Ethel Haycook, Ellis Hinderlong, Ilo Howard, Emerson Kramer, Phyllis Long, Suzanne Miller, Evelyn Moore, Evangeline Mosher, Martha Mosher, Edith Opper, Lowell Patterson, Ralph Rengert, Isabel Ruehrmund, Lloyd Ruehrmund, Sr., Ruby Sadler, Victor Shaw, Margaret Smith and Mary Teat.

According to the newspaper, Miss Moore was absent because she had pneumonia and Ralph Rengert missed his graduation because he had the mumps.

Class member Lowell Patterson went on to become a teacher, principal and then superintendent of his home school.

The 1925 Commencement program did not end with the presentation of diplomas to seniors. Diplomas were then awarded to 24 eighth grade students, one of whom was Ward Conaway, who would become editor of the Morrow County Independent, and another was Rarick Long, who would become editor of the Knox County Citizen.

Yet another was my mother, Adah Click. Then the orchestra played another number, the benediction given and the recessional ended the program.

Even under normal circumstances I don’t believe Commencement programs are that lengthy today, but I know the community was very proud of that new school in 1925.

70 years ago, May, 1950: W. D. “Shorty” Harris bought the former Guy Koon garage building on Park Avenue and moved into the upstairs apartment.

60 years ago, May 1960: Richard Reinehr and Bill May attended a football clinic at Kent State University Robert Breece was to appear on the Don Mack television show when he was to be interviewed regarding the All Ohio Fishing Derby sponsored by the Morrow County Sportsmen’s Club at the Hollis Jones Lake, south of Cardington.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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