Class of 1939

One huge school event was the $90,000 project of the building on Division Street, now named The Chester Byrnes Building. "the gym would be most substantial and supplied with all the modern conveniences." There was some interest in the community whether or not enough local men were hired, but of the group working, nineteen were East Troy men with only 8 outsiders. Inclement weather slowed the progress of the building, but in March the cornerstone was laid in a special ceremony. "Chester Byrnes' splendid remarks citing the 'fact that spending of money for education and an educational building is considered the best investment for mankind.'" Florence Zinn, representing the faculty, presented the items from the treasure box to be placed in the cornerstone. A few of the items were as follows:
  • copy of the day's program
  • high school enrollment
  • donation list
  • high school curriculum
  • members of the East Troy Lions Club
  • members of the American Legion and auxiliary
  • list of churches and pastors
  • village officials and committees
  • members of the volunteer Fire Department
  • can of condensed milk
  • copies of the East Troy News.
The community business leaders continued to support the school and its programs in other ways also. Auggie Geyer, owner of the Troy Theatre, allowed the school band to sponsor the film Elephant Boy both a Friday and Saturday night to replenish their bank account for the spring competition. The band was greatly pleased with the$40 made from that sponsorship and thanked Mr. Geyer and the community for attending. The Village Board gave the band $175 toward the account.

The East Troy News featured the school news in the student area called Hi Inklings. The editors were June Mocco and Mavis Deist. One special area was the "gossip" about the students. "Joyce Kehoe claimed the noise from the band room wasn't her: the horn played itself." "new romance in the building was Betty Christianson attracted to Bob Graff" "most popular books were The Bible, and Gone with the Wind."

A Double Quartet of Bernard Rieck, Lloyd and Boyd Henry, Burton Stobber, Leslie Linde, Mavis Deist, Mary Dickerman, and Dorothy Sweetnam performed throughout the year at various civic events such as Honey Creek PTA, Black Oat PTA, and County Council of American Legion. A saxophone quartet joined them at some of the performances.

A typing contest was held for weeks with Captains Shirley Somers and Alice Smith. The competition was keen throughout the weeks, but Alice Smith's team averaged two points higher at the conclusion of the competition. The highest typing test recorded was 38.2 wpm.

Professor Byrnes was very pleased with the fire drill. The school exited the building in less than 50 seconds; "…most orderly and best time on record."

The school boasted a wonderful musician and composer as the band director, Mr. Ed Mear, who had played with Sousa's band. He himself had two marches published, the latest, Toronto Bay, and Interlocken Spirit, which would be used for sight-reading at competitions. He and his son Sydney were featured at the American Band Masters' Association since they were brilliant cornets. The high school concert was presented at the Grand Theater with both the band under Mr. Mear's director and the chorus under Mrs. Tekla Rohleder's direction. Other schools attended the concert because of the high quality of the music in East Troy. A new concert idea was that the second half of the band portion would include a variety of pieces, which the band had learned. The audience would select the pieces they wanted to hear from the list. However, the finale was the Stars and Stripes Forever played in the true Sousa tradition. At the District Competition the band was selected to be involved in the evening concert and competed at one level above the size of the school. They were exceptionally strong at sight-reading. At the Solo and Ensemble concert there were twenty-five first awards and fifteen second awards.

Senior English classes studied historical classics the first semester with such books as Quo Vadis, and the second semester was spent on contemporary works such as Main Street and Gone with the Wind.

Classes used community members to lecture and demonstrate. Jesse Pomazal demonstrated the use of the slide rule. Andrew Goodman lectured on insurance. The Physics class used a practical application to determine the speed of sound. A gun was shot in the northern part of the village and listened for at a specified range to check the speed giving quite accurate results.

Spring Fever was the class play. Some of the cast members were Howard Brant played by Ray Sengebush, Anne Powell by Mavis Deist, Vic Lewis by Robert Rossmiller, Vivian George by Ruth Ells, and Ed Burns by Bernie Schwartz. Fort Atkinson also performed the same play so E.T.'s cast watched their performance for some tips. They returned the favor and came to East Troy's performance; both schools enjoyed a great cast party.

The thirty-nine graduates had their commencement exercises in the new gymnasium. The two top students were Ruth Ells and Robert Rossmiller (no indication who was valedictorian or salutatorian) with scores above 96%. The class chose Orchid and Silver as their colors with Lily of the Valley as their flower. The theme was Time Is! Man Marches On.


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