NEW PALESTINE — In 1946, New Palestine School was all grades. It housed the high school as well as junior high and elementary.
We were a community coming out of a sad war, and the school’s yearbook dedication reflected that.
“Dedicated to the boys who lost their lives in the service of their country in World War II.”
Listed in the yearbook were Aquilla Jones, Jim Robling, John Larrabee, Tom Kitley and William Wulf.
This was a list of those who had served from the New Palestine school system who had died for their community and country.
During this time, S.R. Boring was serving as school superintendent, with F.A. Wheeler as principal. Guy More was Sugar Creek Township trustee. Vern Mattingly became class president and would later go on to own Mattingly Shell, which was located on the northwest corner of Bittner Road and Main Street (U.S. 52).
Another member of the Class of 1946 was Paul Frey. His son, Randy, owned Frey Water Conditioning on West Main Street, and now Randy’s son runs it.
Paul’s other son, Jeff, owns Frey Construction on North Bittner Road.
Don Ortel graduated in the Class of 1946 and still farms in this area.
Other graduates were Bill Irick, Lowell Cain, Jane Trautmann, Marcile Boring, Carl Drinkut, Donald Grabhorn, Joyce Drehobl, Charles Homsher, Richard Kuhns, Robert Gunn, Marilyn Irvine, Norma Mayes, Jean Logan, Beverly McDaniels, Ralph Noelting, Lenora Ortel, Patricia Werner and Max Sommers.
The Class of 1946 was 22 members strong. Members had no cellphones nor video games to entertain themselves with, but they were still a very busy group of people.
The school start date was Sept. 12, 1945, and by Oct. 24 they had organized a class party at Charles Homsher’s home. Some of the seniors enjoyed attending the Butler and Valparaiso football game at the Butler Bowl.
New Palestine did not have a football team in ’46, so going to other games was a very exciting event.
Janey Trautmann was named the Avalon editor.
Big events of the day were sports. The Dragons basketball team participated in the county tourney Jan. 10 to 12, 1946. The basketball team consisted of Max Sommers, Bob Sleeth, Ralph Noelting, Vern Mattingly, Jerry Reynolds, Charles Homsher, Bill Sutherland, Bob Hawkins, Lowell Cain, Bill Irick and manager Bob Smith.
Their season ended with 11 defeats in 19 games when on Feb. 22, in the sectional tournament, the Dragons lost to the Eden Fliers in the Greenfield gymnasium by a score of 51-28.
Hours of practice went into the senior class play from March 1 to the dates of the performances on April 10 and 11. The play’s title was “You’re the Doctor.”
The senior class was invited by the junior class to be their guests at the Columbia Club in Greenfield. The class attended its baccalaureate services on April 21 and graduated April 25, 1946, with its class motto “If we rest, we rust!”
The music department consisted of a school band and orchestra, along with the chorus. I found it interesting the school also had a barbershop quartet.
The four singers were Richard Arthur, Paul Curry, Gene Wilkins and Junior Wiatt.
Many students were a part of the Dramatic Club and the Art Club. Of course, there was the Crimson Messenger newspaper staff and the Avalon yearbook staff.
I couldn’t help but notice the wording of the dedication to those lost in war in the 1946 yearbook that stated those who served were “boys.” That was an accurate description. They were young and in the prime of their lives, but they all died as men from New Palestine. We must always thank them for their dedicated service.
I always look forward to looking back, and it has been very enjoyable looking back on the Class of 1946.
An all-alumni gathering is scheduled at the New Palestine Lions Club Festival/Fish Fry starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, following the parade that morning at 11 a.m. Be sure to come out and enjoy the three-day event Sept. 8, 9 and 10, and reunite with your classmates Saturday evening. See you there!
If you have a story or infor- mation, visit the New Palestine History Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednes- days, or send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.