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Delving into Bridgeville High School's history from 1939 to 1941

| Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, 2:33 a.m.

This month the Bridgeville Area Historical Society “Second Tuesday” workshop returned to its review of the history of Bridgeville High School, this time focusing on the Classes of 1939, 1940 and 1941.

The discussion actually began in the middle of 1938. The football team was on the upswing that fall and celebrated a thumping of Clark High, 12-0. The senior dramatists presented a comedy, “The Nut Farm,” with a cast that included Gloria Lutz.

The basketball team was quite successful, led by Clair “Tay” Malarkey. They topped Bethel, 31-25, to win the championship of their section. The star center for Bethel in that game was Robert Hast, who would make history at BHS a decade later. Their run through the WPIAL playoffs ended with a decisive 41-32 loss to Springdale.

There were 74 graduates in the Class of 1939. They included Alex Asti, Bridgeville's first fatal casualty of World War II; future coach and teacher Clyde “Tiny” Carson; and Bob Weise, elder brother of society President Mary Weise.

BHS' football team met a lot of success in the fall of 1939. They were unbeaten in Class B with a clear path to the WPIAL championship when they met South Fayette in their annual rivalry game. Their opponents, winless in eight games, once again proved the old adage that past records are meaningless in rivalry games by pulling off the biggest upset in the history of this long series, 6-0.

The facilitator showed a lovely photograph of the 1940 Senior Ball that he found in a scrapbook in the society's archives. The gymnasium in the high school is lavishly decorated. The girls all look like May Queens; their escorts, like Lochinvars. Two years later they would be wrapped up in the horrors of war. The Class of 1940 included 108 graduates, by far the biggest group for the high school up to that time.

The 1940 fall football team was a powerhouse featuring halfbacks “Smiles” Perkins and Perry Hackley. They capped an undefeated season with a 12-0 drubbing of South Fayette, avenging the previous year's loss. BHS and Masontown ended in a tie for second place in WPIAL Class B and were forced to play an elimination game to earn the right to the playoff game, a game that the locals lost, 6-0.

The BHS basketball team repeated as section champions before losing to Sharpsburg in the playoffs 33-23. The track and field team fared much better, winning the Class B WPIAL title.

Pattee Kelley provided a wealth of information on the Class of 1941 by bringing in programs from their Class Night and Commencement that her mother, Margaret “Pat” True, had lovingly saved. There were 86 seniors in the Class of 1941.

The next “Second Tuesday” workshop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Bridge­ville Area Historical Society, 441 Station St. We will attempt to cover the Classes of 1942, 1943 and 1944.

John Oyler is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. Reach him at 412-343-1652 or Read more from him at

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