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Uniquely Medfield: MHS Class of 1963

A weekly column on Medfield history by Town Historian Richard DeSorgher. This week looks back 50 years to the Medfield High School Class of 1963.

In 1963, the seniors at Medfield High School called themselves “The children of war.”

They dedicated their yearbook to “peace” and wrote,

Born in a time of war, nourished in a world torn with fear and strife, introduced to education in the days of the Korean War, and challenged to maturity in the years of the Cold War, we the children of war share the universal hope and yearning for a time of peace—a time when mankind will lift the pipe of peace to its lips.

It was 50 years ago this year when the 56 members of the Class of 1963 roamed the halls of Medfield High School, then located on 24 Pound Street (today’s Blake Middle School). The young and charismatic John F. Kennedy was in the White House, Tom Blake was superintendent of Medfield schools, and Charlie Mains was the high school principal with Jim Morris as vice principal. The teaching staff included among others: Elaine Pederzini, Estelle Stahl, Julia Warburton, Olive Potter, Paul Carbone, Laura Smith, Charlie Laverty, Louise Richardson, Pat Lutazzi, Jim Morris, Francis Bibby, John Cuoco, Ed Keys, Nancy Kelly, Myrtle Cobb and the Music Man, Bob Hersee.

When the Class of 1963 were freshmen and 63 strong, they entered Medfield High School when it was still located in the Dale Street School.  They started off with a Welcome Dance/Carnival that featured a hula hoop contest and then a night of dancing in the gym. Another freshman year highlight was arriving to school in the pre-dawn hours to witness the eclipse, only to have cloudy skies block it out. But that new invention, the television, came to the rescue when the students crowded around it to watch the eclipse inside the school while eating donuts.

Sophomore year again started off with a dance in the gym.  During the year, five new students joined the class and nine departed. Melissa McQuillan, Nancy Kennedy, Margaret Stubblebine, Nancy McGary, Jerry Wills and Cameron Daley were inducted into the National Honor Society.

After trying to look in the windows all summer, in September of their junior year they entered the brand new Medfield High School built at 24 Pound Street. 

For the first time, the morning announcements came over the Public Address (PA) System instead of being read individually in each homeroom. Student Council Week featured different dress-up days.  In the fall, all juniors were measured for their class rings which they received in March, and a school newspaper (called "The Chieftain”) was published by the students. The Junior-Senior Christmas Dance was christened in the new school gymnasium. The school play that year was Tammy Tell Me True.  The prom was held in the King Philip Ballroom in Wrentham and seven new students joined the class.

Senior year, 50 years ago, opened with a successful fundraising paper drive. Households around the town left their newspapers, that they had been saving, tied up outside their houses. Students in cars and trucks drove around picking up the bundles of papers which were then sold to a recycling company.

Class members also sold refreshments at the football games to earn money for the class along with a second dance to raise more money.  Female seniors only, could go outside the required dress code and were permitted to wear slacks during the mid-terms and final exams. Moving pictures were shown to the class in the auditorium for the first time, and a second paper drive secured enough money for the class treasury.  Class officers during the senior year were: Nancy McGary, president; Nancy Kennedy, vice president; Barbara Nelson, secretary; and Anita Karle, treasurer.

The student council started the senior year with a “Sock Hop.” They sold magazine subscriptions for the Student Council Scholarship Fund, held a Christmas pageant, and collected hundreds of dollars for CARE. A school store was opened, run by Student Council and monthly class meetings run by the Student Council took place to keep students informed on a variety of school issues and concerns. Members of the National Honor Society ran a book store and raised enough money from the profits to pay for the annual trip. The yearbook, named "The Peak" (which was first begun in 1925) was published under the guidance of Co-Editors in Chief, Nancy Kennedy and Nancy McGary. Sports editor was Mike Rogers.

The high school chorus now contained 100 members and the band consisted of 50 players who participated in both school and town functions. The MHS Majorettes, which were established in the fall of 1960 and were under the leadership of Mrs. Ruth Luke, added to school spirit and marched through town before all home football games and after all victories; they also took part in the Memorial Day and Little League parades, Spring Festivals and Pep Rallies. The cheerleaders cheered at all football and basketball games and brought the Tri-County cheerleading championship trophy to Medfield for the fourth year in a row.

The high school football team had its most successful season in several years, finishing with a 5-3-0 record. One of the victories was over the defending Class D Champions, Manchester. Under the skills of Captain Mike Rogers, the boys' basketball team placed second in the Tri-County League and, for the second year in a row, the girls’ basketball team tied for the league championship. The baseball team returned seniors Mike Rogers, Steve Harrison and Bob Hurd and the girls’ softball team under Coach Kelly had a spectacular season. The cross country team had its first successful season since its beginning five years before.

Graduation exercises took place in the gym of Medfield High School. Invocation was given by Rev. William Moors. The choral group sang “No Man Is an Island” and “The Halls of Ivy.” The 56 graduates received their diplomas from Joseph Donahue, Chairman of the Medfield School Committee, and Tom Blake, Superintendent of Schools. The students marched out of Medfield High School to the tune of Souza’s “Washington Post,” and into the open oceans of their future that have now become their present, 50 years later.

Chad January 12, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Among others I remember Ruth Luke. Did the MHS Majorettes disband when her energy subsided or was it the other way around? I don't remember their presence after the early '70s (only a ten year 'run'?).

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