A History of George Rogers Clark High School – 1946-1959
By Frank Vargo
As the men and women who had served in the Second World War returned home, life in the United States started to return to normal again. Some of the students who left Clark early to serve in the Armed Forces even returned to GRC to finish their high school education. Others worked to earn their GED. Their names are also included in the Armed Forces Honor Plaque outside the main office along with all the other Clark graduates who took part in World War II.
These are the events that took place in the years from 1946 to 1959 at George Rogers Clark High School.
For the very first time Clark’s prom was held at Madura’s Danceland. One hundred and forty couples attended this event which had the theme “Moonbeam Mist.”
Fourteen soloists and thirteen ensembles from the Pioneer band won first-place ratings at the state contest.
For the first time in the history of the school, the Pioneer News was named the “Pacemaker” of mimeographed publications and was awarded its sixth All-American rating.
Paper drives, along with lunchtime milk and pop selling projects, raised money that was used to maintain the Armed Forces Honor Plaque.
The Y-Teens (girls) initiated a point system whereby girls were required to provide service to others. The Hi-Y (boys) held their first Father and Son Banquet.
In the Indiana State Tournament, the Debate team captured first-place laurels.
Clark had four Latin and three Spanish clubs.
More than half of the boys were active in at least one of the eight inter-scholastic sports sponsored by the Pioneers.
Television, the exciting invention which became increasingly popular in the 40s, was the theme of the Powder Horn.
For the first time at Clark, the Hi-Y held Easter Services which were conducted by the boys themselves.
Students could now choose to participate in three new activities: The Future Teachers of America (first school in Hammond to organize such a group); a Student Panel which acted as a court for cases of tardiness, absenteeism and other misdemeanors; and the Photography Club.
A large Y-Teen project involved collecting clothing for the people in war-torn Europe.
The following tips on dancing were included in the yearbook: “Boys, hold your partner lightly on your right arm, not tensely. Your body should be parallel with hers, unless in a so-called ‘open position,’ in which case you both face the same direction side by side.” In spite of this advice, 184 couples attended the Junior-Senior Prom.
The Student Council continued sending aid to their adopted schools in the city of Bremen, Germany.
The Student Panel formed last year announced that their main purpose was “To promote lady-like and gentlemen-like manners among all Clark students.”
The Pioneer News, Debate team and Band all earned state-wide honors.
The goal for the Student Council this year was to raise funds to purchase a public address system for the school. A successful magazine drive accomplished this goal by year’s-end.
Clarks’ underrated basketball cagers surprised everyone by making it to the final game of the Hammond sectional.
The first “Homecoming Dance” was sponsored by the Pioneer News. Over three hundred alumni and students attended.
Other special dances included the “Yuletide Interlude,” and the Prom – “Silhouettes in the Night”.
Clark defeated Whiting in a thrilling 53-51 basketball sectional victory.
The Booster Club sponsored the first bonfire and rally which included the crowning of a football queen and court before the Clark-Whiting football game.
Eleven band members formed the “Starlighters,” a group that played popular music.
The Pioneers beat Bishop Noll 52-47 to capture the Holiday Tourney basketball championship.
For the first time, students were issued I.D. cards.
The Student Council created rules for conduct to be administered and enforced by the Student Review Board headed by three student judges. The Student Council became responsible for the raising and lowering of the flag each school day.
The Track Queen, the Football Queen and the Homecoming Queen were all chosen by popular vote.
The post-prom party, sponsored by the P.T.A., was held at Phil Smidt’s.
“Hit Parade of ‘55” was the theme of the Powder Horn. This reflected the musical mood of the students. “Record Hops” were a popular form of entertainment.
Most girls followed current fashion by having very short haircuts and wearing saddle shoes, bobby socks, and skirts with hems just twelve inches from the floor. Boys styled their hair in a crew-cut or pompadour.
Twenty-five dances, ranging from sock hops to the Prom, were held throughout the year.
Five hundred and sixty subscriptions of the Powder Horn were sold this year.
Eleven all-school assemblies were held throughout the year ranging from professional entertainment to student programs.
German was added to the curriculum.
Dances became even more popular with the gym decorated nearly every Saturday when there wasn’t a basketball game. The basketball team even sponsored a dance called the “Basket Ball.”
In 1957, Clark High School was twenty-five years old. The Class of 1957 brought the number of graduates to a total of 3,315. To celebrate the Silver Anniversary, many special activities were sponsored by the Student Council.
The Tennis team won the league championship and was ranked second in the state of Indiana.
The Debate team won the N.F.L. state championship.
As far as fashion, the mode of the day called for the Ivy League look. Buckles, crew-neck sweaters, car coats and pin stripes dominated the scene. Blue jeans were practically extinct as they gave way to flannels or wash pants for boys and Bermuda shorts or plaid slacks for girls for informal wear. Girls, of course, wore skirts to school. This year the “flat-top” was in for boys.
A special activity or club period was held every Wednesday morning.
Because the huge crowds of Clark boosters became too large to be accommodated in Clark’s gym, home basketball games were played at Whiting High School’s gym.
The Tennis team earned its third consecutive Western Division crown and qualified for the state championship.
This year was big for rock ‘n roll and the hula hoop.