The Lakewood Public Schools - 1984: A Compilation of Histories

Lakewood High School - 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary - Lakewood High School
Paper by Mr. Will Lippert, Principal (1881-1888)
(Copied from original, Oct. 1, 1934. Mrs. Russel B. Wise)

There was a plank road from Warren Road to the City and a Toll Gate at Warren Road where you paid your fee if you wished to drive over the rickety planks. Fifty years ago there were no electric lights in Lakewood. Thomas Edison had invented the incandescent light, but had not yet put it on the market. There was the old dummy engine, certainly not “dummy” in a sense that went puffing and tooting along near the back porches, scaring the farmers’ chickens. This road was later bought by the Nickel Plate to get an opening across the Lake Shore R.R. and the right of way was located farther away from the kitchen doors. Large wooded tracts covered portions of the area, including all kinds of native trees. Where the tracks were, would be difficult for me to locate now, but I think they were principally between Detroit and Lake Roads. Nutting parties invaded these sylvan shades, and they were more popular than May Walks. These excursions were held about the latter part of October, after early frost had opened the burrs. It was great sport, out in the crisp autumn air, searching among the dry leaves for the fallen nuts. Chestnuts were sometimes within clubbing distance and the boys had the opportunity to try their muscles and marksmanship.

There are two questions, I imagine, uppermost in the minds of the student body. What about Athletics? (2) What of class routine? Of course boys of fifteen and sixteen must have some game in which to try their prowess. In the winter it was mostly snow balling, and soccer ball in the spring as soon as the ground was fit. I use the word soccer, though I doubt if any of us had heard of either Soccer or Rugby. We used a special rubber ball, half of the boys lined up on either side. No score was kept. When the ball reached one of the goals it was at once put into play again. It was made a pretty fast game for the short noon hour, but I am sure no one was killed nor even injured.

In regard to class routing, you may well believe that when there were only two or three in a recitation each student would be pretty thoroughly quizzed. In the fall of 1881, I was elected by the School Board of East Rockport Special School District to take charge of their schools. There had been good teachers before me and excellent work done. During the school year 1881-2 I began to compile a course of study to work by, a goal, an objective for the ambitious student of the High School department to strive for. I cannot now recall where I obtained my material. There were several important schools in the county, but to the best of my knowledge none of them had adopted a course of study which lead to any academic honor. Hence in all fairness I can say that here in what is now Lakewood was laid the beginning of the first High School in Cuyahoga County outside the city of Cleveland.

At the beginning of the school year 1882-3 this course of study had been adopted covering three years and including most of the so called High School branches. 1882-3 was the first year under the new regime; 1883-4 the second year; and 1884-5 the third year. This brought us to the completion of the course of study and consequent graduation exercises. The school community, all responded with enthusiasm, everybody was interested. Mr. L. W. Day, who was then Superintendent of the Cleveland Schools had consented to deliver the address, but for some reason, I do not recall, he could not keep the engagement, and suggested Dr. C. F. Dutton to act in his stead. Dr. Dutton’s subject quite a suggestive “The difference between a Dead Ant and a Live One”.

But the one who was the main attraction on the occasion was the young lady graduate. One who had completed the course with credit, and was entitled to the full honors of the school. I am more than happy to say that she is with us today and the honor has been conceded me to introduce her to you. She is known to neighbors and friends as Mrs. C. L. Weeks, but graduated under the name of Miss May Hutchins. I take extreme pleasure in presenting to you, Mrs. C. L. Weeks, the first graduate and the first alumnus of Lakewood High.

There is another person here who I know did valiant service in the early years of lakewood Schools. I have the pleasure of presenting Mrs. W. D. Pudney, who presided over what was then called the East Primary situated where Garfield School now is.

Will Lippert, Superintendent of the Lakewood Schools (1881-1888), wrote and read this paper, Lakewood High School, at the 50th Anniversary – Lakewood High School observance.