School: Unity High School - Last Graduation (1954)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Jeske, Johnson, Knuf, Rachu, Hebert, Molle, Mohan, Tennis, Willecke, Wagner, Vander Stoep, Nevins, Anderson, Brewer, Cook, Kenyon, Mews, Misener, Purkis, Ringle, Schulz, Seefeldt, McCormick, Frome, Jansen, Wiedenhoeft

----Source: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) Thursday, 05/20/1954

Unity High School End Long Service To Its Area

Finis was written at Unity last week Wednesday night to the long established Unity, Wisconsin High School as a class of nine received diplomas in the last commencement exercises of the high school which is believed to be the first established between Stevens Point and Ashland. The high school district was recently added to the Colby district. The school was established more than 70 years ago.

The last high school commencement in the history of this village was held in Memorial Hall with an attendance estimated at slightly more than the 1950 federal census of Unity - 355.

Members of the last graduating class who received diplomas and congratulations from Albert Jeske, a director of the school board, were Renata Johnson, the class valedictorian, Philip Knuf, the salutatorian, Robert Johnson, Shirley Johnson, Darlene Rachu, Gerald Hebert, Darlene Molle, Charlotte Mohan and Jerome Tennis.

The latter, because the diplomas were given out alphabetically, was the last person in the school’s history to receive a diploma.

G. K. Willecke, an honor student with the class of 1930 who subsequently returned to the school as a teacher in 1933 before engaging in the teaching profession in Stevens Point, Kiel and at Lawrence College, Appleton, gave the final commencement address. He is now a technical director for an electric manufacturing concern in Appleton.

The commencement speaker asserted that he did not subscribe to the reasoning that modern life does not have a place for high schools the size of Unity, where the high school enrollment during the concluding term was less than 55.

Willecke said that science, over the years, had been able to find answers for most problems facing the world. But, he added, it has been unable to do anything about changing man and he urged the graduates "to be yourselves."

The speaker lauded the conduct of Unity High School graduates since the first class received diplomas in 1883 and said that "none has brought dishonor to the school."

Commencement activities opened with the capped and gowned graduates marching to the stage in single file as the school band, directed by A. C. Wagner, Edgar, played the processional.

The invocation and benediction were delivered by the Rev. Claude Vander Stoep. The salutation was given by Phillip Knauf; the class history by Darlene Molle; the class message by the president, Charlotte Mohan, and the class motto by Darlene Rachu.

Following a musical interlude by the Junior Choir of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Robert Johnson gave the class will; Shirley Johnson, the class poem; Gerald Hebert presented a favorite sayings of the graduates, and Jerome Tennis gave the class prophecy.

The presentation of awards, including a Salter Scholarship to Phillip Knuf as an outstanding senior who plans to continue in the field of education, was made by Ray Nevins, the school principal. The latter also introduced the speaker.

Aquamarine and silver were the colors of the final graduating class, the white rose was the class flower and the motto was "In Ourselves Our Future Lies."

Diplomas were also presented the following eighth grade graduates: Diana Anderson, Victor Brewer, Dennis Cook, Jean Hebert, Harley Johnson, Carol Kenyon, Doreen Mews, Mary Ann Misener, Delbert Purkis, Nancy Ringle, Ronald Schulz, Jerry Seefeldt and Janice Tennis.

Members of the high school faculty during the school’s final year were Nevins, principal; Patrick McCormick, English and physical education; Mrs. Lucille Frome, English and library; Richard Jansen, science and social sciences; and Wagner, music.

Members of the Unity School Board were, Jeske, Gilbert Wiedenhoeft and Walter Anderson.

Grade school classes are expected to be continued in the present brick building - the third for Unity since the first frame building was erected in 1874 - while the high school pupils will attend school in Colby, Wis.

One of the rural schools formed *** Note: The remainder of this article was missing.



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