Memories of the Hill: Hilltop Newspapers Offer Look at 1959, 60, 61 Classes

Science Hill High School’s classes of 1959-60-61 will celebrate a joint reunion on July 9-10. During the three senior years from a half-century ago, the city proposed, approved and constructed a new high school building along John Exum Parkway.

The old name was retained, although the new sprawling complex was not located on a hill. On June 2, the class of 1961 became the first to graduate from the new facility, having relocated there just three months prior. Three Hilltop newspapers from that era offer a nostalgic peek of school life. Sadly, several mentioned alumni are now deceased.

          1958-59: James White, Editor 

Through a school-wide election, seniors Roy Chatman and Carol Carr became the first “Mr. and Miss Science Hill High School.” He was chosen as the most athletic boy of the Senior Class and she was captain of the cheerleading squad and sweetheart of the Key Club.

The junior/senior prom held in the gym carried the theme, “Treasure Island,” with the local Joe Henley Band providing music. Guest dates had to be approved by a special board comprised of faculty and students. Mrs. Ruth McPherson was designated sponsor.

Under “Fads ‘n Fashions,” Lou Ann Siler reported seeing Jud Mast wearing bright orange pants and a shirt to match, Smitty Mast adorning a cinnamon colored shirt and pants, Betsy Harmon in a cute plaid vest and Nancy Gregg decked out in a Valentine’s Day red blouse. 

The Hilltop made several popular song dedications to students and staff: “Tragedy,” Brenda Greene; “Hurtin’ Inside,” Lana Sharp; “Alvin’s Harmonica,” Mr. Weddle and the SHHS Band; “South of the Border,” Jean Arthur Woods and her Girl Scout Troop; and “Please Love Me Forever,” Jimmy Snyder.

The “Boy and Girl of the Month” picks were Eddie Washburn and Joann Crowe: Eddie enjoyed sports especially football, while Joann favored basketball. Seniors on the baseball team were Sammy Broyles, Bob Bryan, Delbert Carroll, Bobby Little and Jim Phipps.

Larry Carroll penned a poignant four-stanza poem titled “Some Things Remembered.” The first one read, “Some things remembered, From childhood to old, The spring with its flowers, And Winters so Cold.”

Several T&I (Trade & Industrial) Education Club members extolled the organization: Gordon Jenkins, Brenda Greene, Pat Dempsey, Charlotte Bowers, Martha Richardson, Wayne Dyer, Carol Ann Whitlock, John Webb, Robert Johnson, Bonnie Hicks, Patsy Goode and Marie Morgan. 

1959-60: Ann Scott, Editor 

Senior class members and faculty chose Diane Burkhalter to receive the 1960 DAR award, based on her leadership, scholarship and citizenship qualities.

The seniors presented a talent show, “The Click Dart Show” that was derived from the hit television program, “The Dick Clark Show.” It was written by Brenda Greene and sponsored by Beechnut baby foods. David Newell and Mackey Therrell received honorable mention.

The Key Club had a banner year with regard to fund raising and social and service projects. The group celebrated at Betty Gayle Young’s cabin on Boone Lake for an evening capped off with stunning fireworks. The Jr. Civitan Club’s annual fruitcake sale was a huge success with 2500 pounds of the sweet delicacy sold.

ROTC sponsors were Lt. Colonel Judy McKinney; Major Janice Taylor; Captains Joan Haire, Ann Scott, Mary Charles Williams, Pat Muse and Carol Alexander; Lieutenants Harriet Baker, Carol Montgomery, Frances Wood and Betty Miles.

The Topper’s beat Kingsport in basketball by a score of 55 to 51, giving Coach Bill Wilkins his first win over the D.B. Indians in six years. Players mentioned were Steve Wilson, Graham Spurrier, Gary Scheuerman, Bob France, Finley Cook, Larry Miller and Al Ferguson.

A section titled, “Tonto Says” offered several clever musings: “Eddie no bakes, Eddie no fries, Eddie Broyles. Patsy no ancient, Patsy no old, Patsy Young. Walter no bear, Walter no rabbit, Walter Beaver. Calvin no snap, Calvin no pop, Calvin Click. Fulton no few, Fulton no less, Fulton Moore.”

Mrs. W. Shumate thoughtfully dedicated a book, “The Story Behind Popular Songs” by Elizabeth Montgomery, to the school library in memory of classmate Eddie Moore.  

1960-61: Monty Shoun, Editor

 Dr. William S. Steele, pastor of Munsey Memorial Church, conducted the Baccalaureate service on Sunday, May 28 at the new school gym. Graduation followed on Friday night, June 2.

Seniors receiving awards were Graham Norman, Manhood; Betsy Harmon, DAR; Carolyn Ledford, First Honors; Tommy Grogg, Second Honors; Booney Vance, Athletic; Lorna Hampton, Spanish; Kathy Golden, Business; Sharon Hite, T&I; Janice Loudy, Intramural; and Rosalie Berry, Latin.

The “Senior Alphabet” identified 26 students such as A-dorable, Jean Senter; C-ute, Carol Bolton; D-elightful, Mary Perkins; H-andsome, Kip Carr; I-deal, Buddy Talley; O-bedient, Dan Mahoney; and Z-estful, Judy Spiro.

The Roving Reporter asked students what they will miss about their high school years: “being in the senior play, Tom Wilkerson; fussing and fighting with my friends, Nancy Smalling; going to ballgames and yelling my head off, Carolyn Wishon; and getting up at the crack of dawn, Marianne Hale.”

Another section, “Lend an Ear” offered advice from seniors to juniors: “Study hard and don’t put off until the last minute, Marcia Lawson; Have fun and don’t study too hard, Sarah Hagood; Place the things of real importance first, Susan Shields; and keep cool but do not freeze, Booney Vance (quoting from a mayonnaise jar).

Five drill squads, one from each company, practiced from about 6:30 to 8:00 each weekday morning in preparation for competition at the ROTC Ball. Leaders (and squads) were Freddie Sharpe (Drum and Bugle Corps), David Allen (“A”), Jud Mast (“B”), Bill Wood (“C”) and John Price (“D”).

Several students shared their most exciting moments in high school: “named Key Club Sweetheart, Carol Ann Greene; first date with a Yankee, Nancy Lee Worley; tying Kingsport in football, Jerry Jones; graduation, Judy Leach; and running an intercepted pass back 75 yards for a touchdown against Bristol, Fred Deneen.”

Many students likely recall the friendly, jovial school custodian, affectionately known as “Willie.” Graham Spurrier identified his last name as Muston.

(Note: Bob Cox is an alumni of SHHS’s class of 1961.)