Key Club Member Shares 1940s Memories of Student Groups

Glenn Stroup recently commented on my Science Hill High School Key Club article. He was mentioned in it as being a charter member when the club reorganized in 1949 after a hiatus during the World War II years.

Club members were (photo, l to r, f to b): 1- Bob Spencer, Tommy Coleman (V. Pres.), Delbert Marks (Tres.), Darrell Mullins (Pres.), Charles Day (Sec.), George Crisp. 2- Jimmy Overbay, Robert Moffitt, Jimmy Seehorn, Jim Greene, Robert McFall, Teddy Ottinger. 3- Ambers Wilson, Charles Stamm, Jim Berry, Reuben Treadway, Glenn Stroup.

Glenn noted that the Key Club was not the only student organization sponsored by a civic club; the Junior Civitan Club operated under the watchful eye of the local Civitan Club.

“Both groups were not social clubs, although we had social events,” said Glenn. “We were more oriented toward public service. We helped the parent civic clubs in their charity activities and sometimes attended their luncheon or dinner meetings. I recall that most of those were held at the John Sevier Hotel or the Peerless Steak House. There was a plethora of clubs and activities in school back then, all encouraged and supported by faculty and staff. We had activities that were extensions of classes such as Band, Orchestra, ROTC and Glee Club.”

Stroup examined his Science Hill annuals to identify some of the clubs of 60 years ago. Several of them were exclusively male or female organizations. The clubs (and sponsors) that he remembered were …

The Y-Teen Club (Nona Siler, boys only), Hi-Y Club (Frank Tannewitz, girls only), Library Service Club, T & I Club (Cecil King), Camera Club (Eddie LaSueur, president), Auditorium Club (appears the entire school was a member of it), FHA (no boys), Red Cross Club (apparently only for girls), Folk Dancing Club (only one boy visible in the photo), Allied Youth Club (Ruth McPherson), National Forensic League (a major influence in schools then), Drama Club (consisted of separate senior, junior and sophomore clubs), Girls' Athletic Club (obviously girls only), Rod and Gun Club (boys and girls, most famous classmate was journalist Bill Kovach, president), Football Club (obviously all male with another famous classmate: Big League baseball player, Joe McClain, president), Archery Club, Boys' and Girls' Swimming Clubs (two clubs) and finally, a Boys' and Girls' Chorus.

“I think our schools today have lost a lot by not having a wide range of clubs and activities,” said Stroup. “The old administrations were much more flexible and clubs could be created and discontinued rather quickly. My personal resume in the 1951 annual shows membership in the ‘Radio Announcers Club,’ which is not one of those listed in the Annual. I also have a 1950 Annual and note that there were a couple of clubs that year that did not show up in 1951.

“For example, 1950 shows a Latin Club as well as a Projection Club. I belonged to the latter one that sometimes enabled students to earn some money. Once trained, the person could volunteer to show movies at night meetings of various organizations and get paid for it. I did that for civic clubs and The Unaka Rod and Gun Club.” Glenn said that he planned to discuss the subject of school clubs at his next 1951 quarterly social.

The former Key Clubber suggested that I write a column about local bands and musicians from the 1940s and 50s: “We know that Mr. Weddle, the Science Hill Band director, played drums for a nationally known band and that George Eiche, Sr. of George's Men’s Shop had played professionally.”

Send me any information you have about local bands and I will include it in a future column.