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Staples High School was named after its founder, Horace Staples, a “savvy Yankee trader”.
Staples opened for business in 1885. The very first graduating class was the class of 1887, making us the 69th.
Construction of the school was completed in 1884—the original free-standing brick structure on Riverside Avenue we called the “old building”. [Let’s be honest: if you were a little kid, wouldn’t this gothic horror scare the bejeesus out of you…?]
In 1958 Staples’ new home on North Avenue opened its doors for business; the “old” building along with the “new” building became the home of Bedford Junior High. Below is an aerial view of our old school grounds, courtesy of Tippi Rounds (class of ’53). More history at wikipedia.com.
Strange that no class photo seems to have been taken… Or was it? Maybe the class was too big…?
Staples graduating class, 1955…
For the ages here we is as listed on the commencement program—each and every one of us who received a diploma on Friday, June 10, 1955, at approximately 8:15 pm. (Getting the name exactly right as between the commencement program and the Yearbook was guesswork on my part.) Classmates with “High Honors”6 are shown in red:
|Staples High School—Class of ’55|
|Agranov, Robert Frederick||Freeman, Madelyn||Oreste, Palma Josephine|
|Alcott, Tama Lou||Frey, Sanford Philip||Ottinger, John Christopher|
|Allen, Bernice Ann||Gault, Julia||Palazzo, John Anthony|
|Allen, Richard Steve||Giannitti, Theodore Anthony||Palmer, Betty Elizabeth|
|Anastasia, John Robert||Gilbert, Richard Olmstead||Papagno, Marie Carmel|
|Armitage, Gail||Gilbertie, Anthony Thomas||Peterson, Carole Whitfield|
|Audley, Edwin Alan||Gill, Pamela Whiting||Plocar, Patricia Ann|
|Baker, June Rae||Green, Christopher||Rainey, Carol Ann|
|Ball, John Harold||Gutman, Brook Darrow||Restieri, Philip Lee|
|Banks, Charles Green Jr.||Hackley, Lyn||Reuss, Barbara Elvera|
|Bannon, Mary Suzanne||Hammer, Jo-Ann H.||Reynolds, Margaret Dyer|
|Barnett, William James||Harding, Lynn||Rice, Shirley Ann|
|Bartek, Dorothy M.||Hardy, Sandra E.||Rippe, Mary Jane|
|Basta, Deanna Madeline||Hartley, Barbara||Roberts, Lawrence Gilman|
|Beck, Richard Stevenson||Harris, Charlotte Dorothy||Roeder, Kenneth Paul|
|Bennett, Francis Leroy||Hayes, Melvin||Ruckert, David Norton|
|Bennett, Gloria Gertrude||Helferich, Suzanne||Ruggles, Martha Franc|
|Benson, Pamela Eleanor||Hesse, Carol Ann||Saviano, Thomas John|
|Bertasi, Diane J.||Higgins, John Christopher||Scofield, Shirley Elizabeth|
|Blundell, David John||Isaacs, Jules Gilbert||Schick, Martha Ellen|
|Boland, Joseph Louis III||Johnson, Mary Ann||Seagle, Gale|
|Booth, Frances Eleanora||Jones, Robert Haydon Jr.||Sedgwick, Thomas Joseph|
|Bregy, Robert S.||Keehan, Mary Jane||Shoemaker, Martha Jane|
|Brubaker, David B.||Keene, Emma Marguerite||Smith, Fraser Wood|
|Burke, Muriel Anne||Kent, Bruce John||Smith, Herman Edward|
|Butner, Mary Ann||Kenyon, Hazel Virginia||Smith, Tyler Jay|
|Call, George Everett||Kline, Marion Suzanne||Soderlund, Walter Charles|
|Campbell, Harriett DeGarmo||Kouns, Judith Hinchman||Speidel, Linda Moore|
|Carpenter, Hilary James||Kunin, George Meyer||Spero, Robert Joseph|
|Carson, Christopher Morehouse||Landes, Gail B.||Spooner, Samuel Owen|
|Castiglia, Noel F. J.||Lehn, Mary Elizabeth||Studwell, Marion Agnes|
|Chadwick, Henry Dexter||Leopold, John||Sutton, Michael|
|Clark, Elizabeth Ann||Levin, Karen Louise||Thomas, Gordon Jean|
|Cleary, Michael P.||MacGregor, Ethel Ann||van Dernoot, Susan R.|
|Clifford, George Towne||MacLeod, Orrin Wood||Van Duyn, Ruth Bartlett|
|Cooper, Robert Craig||Macon, Karl E.||vonLiebermann, Donald Michael|
|Cotton, Dudley Page Jr.||Malkin, George Edward||Wahrlich, Janet Ida|
|DeAngelis, Howard J.||Malone, Ronald Francis||Walker, Leann|
|Delaney, Patrick Ennis||Manning, John Thomas||Walton, Robert Prentiss|
|DeMattia, Gloria||Maurer, Georgiann Margaret||Wardell, James William|
|Dennert, Mary Ann||McAlarney, Marianna||Weber, Constance B.|
|DePierro, Vincent Kenneth||McCluckie, Jacqueline Reid||Weisheit, Warren Taylor|
|Dexter, Shirley||McMahon, Joseph David||Weiss, Joan Marie|
|DiBlanda, Charles Eugene||Mead, Beverly Ann||Weisman, Judith Arline|
|Doino, Rose Marie||Merryman, Heather Ann||White, Norman Bennett|
|Dow, Alicia Fay||Mills, Homer Lawrence||Whitehead, Cynthia M.|
|Ellis, Patricia Ann||Morehouse, Virginia Ann||Whittaker, Linda|
|Eskey, Leonard Osborne||Mullen, Peter John||Wiberg, Bjorn Storesson|
|Faltings, Mary Jane||Nappa, Barbara Ann||Wilson, John D. Bruce|
|Farr, Helen Tremain||Needham, Nancy Christine||Williams, Norman Edward|
|Ferrone, Marie Angela||Nichols, Judith Nancy||Zeoli, Marilyn T.|
|Finneran, Nancie Lee||Odell, Alexa Lou||Zimmerli, Sara Jane|
|Fitzgerald, Richard Thomas||Oliver, John Lee||ZweckBronner, Stanley L. Jr.|
|Follett, Ethel Edna||Ornstein, Robert|
Here were the select few we voted best suited to “govern” our arguably ungovernable class:
Funny thing about the choice for president. Were it not for a chance conversation between yours truly and John Leopold at the 50th Anniversary picnic at Compo Beach, this little item might have been lost to history for all time! Here—for the very first time in print!—was how that choice actually went down back in the fall of 1954:
John told me that it was he, himself, who had, in fact, been nominated or at least asked to run for class president. For reasons I have forgotten, he told the then senior class power brokers that he could not or would not take on the responsibility, but that he knew someone who might be acceptable to the class and available: i.e., our very own warm and cuddly Bob Walton…! And the rest, as they say…
(Now, if—by outing this long-lost senior class factoid—I have betrayed a closely held class secret or trampled on somebody’s feelings, I will perhaps burn in hell.)
But not quite yet… :-)
Staples has a “new” mascot, designed by a graduate of the class of 1980.
Ever wonder how Staples teams acquired the name, “Wreckers”? Once upon a time Staples teams were called the Minutemen. However, all that changed during the Roaring Twenties. Here’s how, according to the writeup on Staples website.
At that time, Norwalk High School was having a great undefeated season on the gridiron. They specifically chose Staples to play during their Homecoming game, knowing that Staples was an ‘easy’ win. Unfortunately for Norwalk, the Staples football team came in and crushed the ‘undefeated’ team. Headlines the following day read, “Staples High Wrecks Norwalk’s Homecoming!”
Since that time, Staples High School teams have been known as
Note that our Yearbook had no writeups and photos of the baseball and track teams for the 1954/1955 class year— just the team composition as it stood in 1953/1954 (did it run out of funding in ’55…?).5 Here were the Yearbook photos of the track and baseball teams. Note class of ’54 athletes: Bradley, Burke, Rast, Marcroft, Greiner, King twins, et. al.
Here are the class leaders by team:
Here is our old crew in pyramid formation. Listed below, by popular student vote, is the talented threesome what ran the show. I think I was in love with all three of them. For years…! Where have the years gone? Sigh… :-(
After all these years—memory perhaps somewhat dimmed—I am amazed at how civilized and well-behaved all this constructive student activity appears to be as suggested by the sheer number of school clubs (see list, below)! Is this what we did after school hours: go to a school-sponsored club and participate in some wholesome activity…?
I ask you: Was there no inmate rioting? Were there no protest marches for “social justice” (whatever that is…)? No student “liberation movements”? No schoolyard rumbles? Student walkouts? No gang wars? Drive-by shootings…?
Hard to believe…
Then again, perhaps I (among many—you know who you are…!) suffer lasting brain damage from too much after-school bad coffee down at Jack’s Diner…
I think we participated in the state a capella choir competition the year before—the year we were juniors. I recall the near-professional voice of soprano, Dorothy Babineau, class of ’54. In any case here we wuz (in the photo) in senior year, perhaps not quite as good without Dorothy and some of her classmates…
Also the band, orchestra, boys’ and girls’ glee clubs:
Not sure how these people got picked. Looks like half the graduating class. I thought both Inklings and Soundings were impressive efforts for a bunch of 17-year-olds. In charge of organizing all that talent were:
Some trivia, just for the hell of it…
Here are some interesting tidbits about our class. [A disclaimer of sorts: Many of you may not find this “interesting” at all. But that is because your minds may not yet be broken like mine. To those of you who find this trivia of little or no interest—or just plain dull as a Civics class in June of senior year—I have this to say: “Just wait… :-)!”]
- Size of class 161.
- Men (ok, boys…) 75.
- Women 86.
- Oldest classmate Tom Sedgwick, we think.
- Youngest Tom Saviano (who knew…?).
The only birthdates we have come from obituaries, some of which may be linked from the Deceased page. We only have a few obituaries: less than half. In other words there may be classmates, dead or alive, older than those listed below. Based on such skimpy data, however, Tom Sedgwick appears to be our oldest classmate, but I’m guessing Gordon Thomas is up there, too. Quite alarming that they are all now gone…
If you have any updates, please forward (see Contact page).
Again classmate birthdays are largely unknown.7 With the exception of Diane Bertasi’s obit, the only way I know the birthdays of the other worthies listed below, is that I know them. (And, by the way, I also know what they are capable of…)
Another note: although not a Staples graduate, it is possible that the honor of being the youngest graduate belongs to our one-time classmate, Terry Meguire, whose family moved to Germany in senior year. She graduated from the American School in Frankfurt, Germany (assume June, 1955). At age 16!
What’s in a name… ?
“Award” for the longest (known) name goes to Donald Michael vonLiebermann (wouldn’t you know it?) and Christopher Morehouse Carson (26 letters). (But then, we’re not sure of Noel’s two middle initials… :-). In 2nd place: Theodore Anthony Gilbertie: 24 letters. There are seven with 23 letters.
Our shortest (known) name is another tie: Lyn Hackley and Gale Seagle (10 letters).
Following were the most popular names in our class. Back in our day it’s likely that “John” and “Mary” were the most popular names in every graduating class:
|9||John||Anastasia, Ball, Higgins, Leopold, Manning, Oliver, Ottinger, Palazzo, Wilson|
|7||Robert||Agranov, Bregy, Cooper, Jones, Ornstein, Spero, Walton|
|4||George||Call, Clifford, Kunin, Malkin|
|4||Richard||Allen, Beck, Fitzgerald, Gilbert|
|3||David||Blundell, Brubaker, Ruckert|
|8||Mary||Bannon, Butner, Dennert, Faltings, Johnson, Keehan, Lehn, Rippe|
|3||Barbara||Hartley, Nappa, Reuss|
|3||Carol/e||Hesse, Peterson, Rainey|
|3||Judith||Kouns, Nichols, Weisman|
|3||Martha||Ruggles, Schick, Shoemaker|
|3||Shirley||Dexter, Rice, Scofield|
Here is a list of 1955 classmates who married fellow Stapleites. Surprised at how many marriages (11). If I’ve missed any please let me know.8
1Baseball I am just guessing it was Mel. Yearbook doesn’t say for some reason.
2Track Ditto. Yearbook doesn’t say. (Was there not a girls’ track team back then…?)
3Girls’ Glee Club Yearbook doesn’t say.
4A Capella Choir For the record (I was absent during the voting) someone told me that I had actually won the popular vote for president. I think it might have been Deanna. However, since I was also the Big Dog of the Boys’ Glee Club and School Orchestra, someone (no doubt O’Hanion) thought it might be better if someone else took the job. Just wanted to state that for the record. Future textbooks on American History and all…
5Nick Weiner (maybe a Stapleite) commented that the most likely reason was the need to get the Yearbook to the publishers before spring competitions had taken place and photos taken. See comment, below. This was back then, he explained, before the 90s. Back in Olden Times. Makes sense. Before photography and the printing press…
6Not sure what the GPA standard for “high honors” was: 3.5? Higher?
7I appear on the list because—no doubt like others born around the first of the new year—I was skipped through kindergarten after passing a developmental maturity test of sorts. (I recall the “test” clearly. There I was—five years old in a small town outside Providence, RI, mom standing by—a female teacher/administrator asked me to walk up a flight of mock stairs (five or six steps) as an adult would, i.e., left then right then left, etc. That was it! Today they’d ask me how I felt about my inner adult…) For a time, I believed I was the youngest member of the class. As it turned out, not so…
8Judy Schacte and Gary Malkin became wife and husband probably during or shortly after high school.