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Mark Simonson

June 20, 2013

Graduates were given words of wisdom at OHS in 1923


Miss Cora Volwider began with her subject, “America and the World Court.” Her speech ended with the plea that America take its place in the court to assure that worldwide peace be assured, as a leader of nations.

Miss Gladys Ward later spoke of “American Immigration and Its Restrictions,” upholding the idea that “the restriction upon immigration is wise and just because it makes possible the best adjustment for the immigrant, the better economic control of the labor problems, the infinitely greater security for America, and a truer devotion to American principles and ideals.”

In her discussion of “The American Home,” Miss Esther Owen brought out many facts of interest in regard to the conditions that threaten the home as the backbone of civilization. She said that if men would talk of saving the home as much as they talk of saving the state, church and the nation, these latter institutions would be taken care of automatically.

Arthur Lewis spoke on “An American Economic Situation,” regarding a vital problem of the time, coal. The nation, despite being rich beyond all other nations in coal resources, experiences coal shortages and high prices. Lewis said “the coal industry will continue to give unsatisfactory service until the public realizes its deficiencies and demands a definite remedy.”

Other speeches were about music and poetry. Dr. George J. Dann, Oneonta’s superintendent of schools, was the final speaker and suggested the Class of 1923 enter life and follow five fundamental values, “a healthy body, a respect for sacred things, a respect for the flag, a well-informed mind, and a well-defined desire to achieve.”

One of the members of the Class of 1923 came back to Oneonta to be a longtime administrator at the Oneonta Junior High School, Miss Edna Tripp, principal.

On Monday: A fond farewell to a Portlandville school in 1983.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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