I have fond memories of attending Henry Johnson School (W. Market Street opposite Kiwanis Park) in the 1950s. When I transferred there after completing the first grade at West Side School, I received a warm reception from the principal, Miss Margaret Crouch who escorted Mom and me on a tour of the school.
Recently, my wife and I attended my 55th Science Hill High School reunion, which included the combined classes of 1959-60-61. We were the "babies" of the attendees. While many classmates go to these events faithfully every five years, others never attend or make an occasional appearance. Sadly, many have left us; some cannot be present for a multiplicity of reasons, which include health issues. At the urging of Bernie Gray, I want to pay homage in today's column to my three favorite classes by providing a brief early history of our school. I will feature more later.
On Friday, May 25, 1894, the Johnson City Institute, a vocational school of sorts, closed another term of its most successful work. In the previous three years, the city had enjoyed having one of among the best institutes of the South. Prof. R. L. Couch initiated the school in the fall of 1891 with a modest beginning, but it soon became a school second to none.
The late George Buda once shared with me some ETSC student newspapers, the Tennessee Collegian. George had a heart for Johnson City and, over time, helped me piece together numerous Yesteryear articles. One edition from the November 1947 Collegian should bring back memories for many of my readers. That year, ETSC revived "Rat Week," the custom of initiating freshmen into the college ranks. It was a tradition that was dropped and almost forgotten because of the anxiety that resulted from our country's involvement in World War II.
It was August 1918 and the world was at war. If the Hun (Germany) was to be trampled to his knees, it had to be done by trained men under the able direction of capable leaders. That year, the Student's Army Training Corps (SATC) was opened to all American boys 18 years of age who aspired to enter college.