Bridgeville High School classes of 1958-59 explored
The February “Second Tuesday” workshop of the Bridgeville Area Historical Society focused on the penultimate graduating classes of the Bridgeville High School, 1958 and 1959. The audience included several members of each class; their participation was greatly appreciated.
The BHS football team started the season with a 20-18 win over Cecil. Ironically, according to Tom Volovich, Cecil’s placekicker was Bruce Gossett, who would go on to a fine career in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Ineffective kicking plagued the Indians the rest of the season, including a 6-6 tie with Rankin that eliminated them from playoff consideration.
Dan Gillis reported that our coaching staff downplayed the importance of “extra points,” preferring to concentrate on touchdowns. In addition to the Rankin tie, several losses because of missed kicks proved the folly of that philosophy and converted a potentially successful season into a disappointing one.
One highlight of the season was a 15-0 rout of Fairchance. When the facilitator mentioned the game, Lucille Kovach Herman announced that she had distinct memories of it.
After the band’s halftime performance, she and the other majorettes decided to visit the restrooms. They had to use the battery-operated lights in their batons to locate the facilities.
Tom Munnell was president of the ’58 Class, Dan Gillis its social chairman. Polly McKee served as May Queen; she was crowned by the previous year’s Queen, her sister, Judy.
Tom Grossi acted in the class play, “Come out of the Closet.” Gloria Lutz was the play’s sponsor. Tom reported reminiscing about the play with her just before she passed away.
The next football season began optimistically, an attitude that was quickly dampened by a 7-0 loss to Crafton, later negated when it was learned that they had used an ineligible player. The team then proceeded to roll off eight straight wins. Unfortunately, they lacked sufficient “Gardner System” points to make the playoffs. The BHS team that year was destined to be “Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited.”
The facilitator showed a clipping dated Oct. 6, 1958, which reported the tragic death of a 13-year-old Boy Scout, David Houston. Hiking home from a campout in Cecil, he was killed by a train while crossing a trestle. Frank Tome promptly announced that he had been a witness to this event. Also a member of the troop, he had safely negotiated the trestle before the train arrived.
The basketball team ended its season with tie for first place in the section, then lost its first playoff game, to Snowden. Led by Alex Kwasniewski, the soccer team won the WPIAL championship.
Bill Novelli was class president, indicating early the leadership potential which eventually led to his successful career culminating in serving as chief executive officer for AARP. His brother, Jerry, a loyal supporter of the Historical Society, was in the audience for the workshop.
Other class officers included Albert Bigi and Bob Cimarolli. Faith Whitby was the 1959 May Queen, with Louise Capozzoli as her maid of honor.
Next month’s “Second Tuesday” workshop will deal with George Washington’s dispute with the Seceder Squatters on his property in the Venice area in 1784. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 12 in the History Center.