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Bridgeville HS through the years focus of 'Second Tuesday'

| Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, 10:42 a.m.
An image of the old Bridgeville High School.
Submitted
An image of the old Bridgeville High School.

The Bridgeville Area Historical Society “Second Tuesday” workshop for July continued its review of the history of Bridgeville High School.

The Class of 1926 was the first to spend its senior year in the new building on Gregg Avenue.

Consequently, we spent the evening discussing that class and the consequences of moving to the new facility.

It is difficult to imagine the culture shock this class experienced. For 11 years they were shoehorned into Washington School and several temporary buildings erected on the playground.

Suddenly they were transported to an environment that included all of the conveniences of a 20th century high school — a large auditorium, a stage that also could be used as a gymnasium or a dance floor, a large library, a home economics room, a wood shop, a mechanical drafting room, locker rooms, etc.

The new building's facilities generated an expansion in the activities available to the students, many of which were illustrated in the 1926 yearbook. Sports were emphasized. The football team won four games — including an exciting upset of Carnegie — lost two and tied one.

Despite playing in the new gymnasium, “one of the finest in the country,” the basketball team had less success.

Soccer was a different story. BHS was in the midst of a three-year run in which the soccer team was awarded the Allegheny County championship each year. The yearbook reports the team was so good, it was difficult to schedule games with other schools.

Perhaps the most impressive sports story was the school fielded a girls' basketball team, pretty much unheard of at that time.

Non-athletic activities also proliferated. The Glee Club boasted 50 voices. There was a 13-piece orchestra, but no marching band.

Other activities included the Spanish Club, French Club, Lincoln Literary Club and the debating team. The “Go-to-College” club consisted of 30 girls preparing to continue their education — a stark contrast to our perception of the role of women in those days. The senior play was a contemporary classic, “Golden Days” — a masterpiece of misunderstandings and unrequited love.

The faculty was supervised by Superintendent W. C. Bedillon and Principal Olive Hickman. The other 14 teachers included two who were familiar to the older participants of the workshop — Mrs. Carman and Mrs. Cronin — because of their longevity.

The Class of 1926 continued the trend of larger classes each year by graduating 38 seniors. The yearbook is full of optimism. It was the era of the Roaring Twenties when business was booming and the future was unlimited.

There was culture shock ahead for these unsuspecting youngsters — the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression and World War II.

The next workshop will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 in the Bridgeville Area Historical Society, 441 Station St. The discussion of Bridgeville High School history will move into the mid-1930s.

John Oyler is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. He can be reached at 412-343-1652 or joylerpa@icloud.com. Read more from him at mywutb.blogspot.com.

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