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1893 Washington High DC Graduates

Direct link to article:
Submitted by: Susan

Article Title: The Washington Post

Article Date: June 23 1893

Article Description: Three Hundred Diplomas ’Äì
Washington High School Graduates, Class of 1893

Article Text:

Three Hundred Diplomas ’Äì Washington High School Graduates, Class of 1893

[Transcriber’Äôs Note: The students listed as
graduates under Central High’Äôs Executive
Committee are also listed as graduates under
Eastern High ’Äì so one list is clearly in error.
I know that Joseph Finckel (listed under both
Eastern and Central) actually graduated from
Central since his name appears in the Central
High School section of the 1893 Washington High
School Yearbook. Despite the obvious errors, I
have transcribed the article exactly as it
appeared in the paper. ]

The vast new convention hall in the northern
liberty market building held last evening an
audience in keeping with its splendid
proportions, and the largest public gathering in
its history. The rain pattering on the great
arched roof did not keep people away on this
occasion, for it was the annual commencement of
the Washington High School, in which every
citizen of the District is more or less

The class of ’Äò93 numbered nearly 300 members,
and on a conservative estimate each one of these
graduates had 200 friends and relatives who were
anxious to witness the exercises. Accordingly
the seating capacity of the great auditorium was
taxed almost to its limit, and fully 6,000 people
were gathered in the great vaulted hall.

The audience commenced to assemble early, and the
2,000 programmes which had been provided for
distribution melted away like snowflakes under a
hot sun. The stage had been placed at the side
instead of the end of the hall, and the seats
arranged about so that all were brought within
range of the speaker’Äôs voice, although
opera-glasses were still essential in the back

Above the stage sat the District Commissioners
and the officers of the schools, hung the emblem
of the class an immense trefoil bearing on its
leaves the letters ’ÄúW.H.S. ’Äì ’Äò93’Äù in
colored electric light. After several selections
by the Marine Band under Prof. Fanciulli, the
class marched in an filled the tier of raised

The girls, in all the snowy splendor of correct
commencement costumes, with flowers in their hair
and hands, formed a beautiful picture, which was
set off effectively in contrast with the dark
coats or blue uniforms of the boys.

Commissioner Ross’Äô Remarks

Commissioner Ross presided and Rev. Byron
Sunderland delivered an eloquent invocation.

In opening the exercises Commissioner Ross said
that as he looked over the vast audience, the
greatest ever gathered under one roof in the
District of Columbia, he was convinced of the
fact that no interest was dearer to the people
than the public schools. This class was the
flower of eight or ten years’Äô cultivation in
our educational conservatories, and he asked
those present if they ever gazed upon a fairer
human bouquet. Applause echoed this sentiment.
Back of the great work, continued the
Commissioner, was the superintendent, his able
corps of assistants, an army of teachers, and the
school board, the president of which he then
introduced in the person of Mr. John T. Mitchell.

President Mitchell

Mr. Mitchell commenced in a humorous vein by
regretting that the unpropitious weather had kept
many away, whereas the hall was about as full as
it could be. Still he was glad to see such
evidences of interest in the public school of the
District of Columbia, which ranked among the best
in the country. The support given to them by the
people was largely the cause of this excellence,
and Washington could afford to do away with
almost any of the improvement than to take away
one cent from the support of the public schools.
Furthermore, Mr. Mitchell said he doubted if
there was a more efficient system of teachers’Äô
examinations in the country. The interests of
the children could not be sacrificed to any
individual interests; the standard was therefore
made high, and the best teachers were secured.

The idea was not to get bookworms, but practical
people, acquainted with the topics of the day as
well as ancient history.

The annual output of the public schools was
before them; he pointed with pride to the class
of 282 students, for whom he predicted good and
useful if not always brilliant futures.

Mr. Mitchell’Äôs remarks were listened to
attentively and frequently interrupted with
applauce. In conclusion, he bade the people
guard jealously the public schools as the
foundation of all free institutions and the
bulwarks of the Republic.

Supt. Powell’Äôs Speech

After a characteristic selection by the
orchestra, ’ÄúA trip to Moscow,’Äù Supt. Powell
was called upon to say a few words in the absence
of Mr. Leonard C. Wood, who was to have delivered
the formal address. Although called upon merely
to create an interval between two pieces of
music, said the superintendent, he was very glad
to speak to the parents and friends and of the
30,000 children who were under his charge. There
was as great a difference between the public
schools of today and those of the last century as
there was between the modern perfecting printing
press and the old hand-power machine of Benjamin
Franklin. The theory of the present system, said
he did not consider that the mind of the pupil
was a blank page upon which the teacher could
impress what he pleased. Neither was the mind
’Äúdrawn out,’Äù as the word education indicated,
but by original investigation and experience were
the children taught the way to think and work for
themselves. In this connecti!
on he cited the exhibit of industrial work at
the Franklin School, which all were invited to

Supt. Powell said that he felt especial pride in
the literary exhibit, a collection of
compositions called out on short notice, which he
thought would convince cavillers that the public
schools were not run to fads, but developed in
the pupils the ability not only to think well,
but to express their thoughts in the purest

President Mitchell rose again to speak some good
words for the High School Cadets. They were a
boy of young men to be proud of, and he recounted
the comment of one of the foremost military men
in the country, Col. John M. Wilson, recent
commandant at the United States Military Academy,
who, after witnessing the cadets’Äô dress parade
on the White Lot last week, declared that he had
never seen it excelled outside of West Point.
Cheers greeted this tribute to the prowess of the
student regiment.

Presentation of Diplomas

After Mr. Henry Jaeger of the Marine Band had
responded to an encore on his piccolo solo, about
a half a bushel of diplomas were carried to the
state, where Hon. Myron M. Parker, of the Board
of Commissioners, presented them to the
graduates, ad they advanced one by one. Each was
received with applause, and the ceremony occupied
some time.

Before handing out the sheepskins, however,
Commissioner Parker offered a few words of advice
to the graduates, chief of which was ’ÄúDon’Äôt
seek office.’Äù He advised the boys to enter
business life in preference to professional, and
the girls he advised to seek something better
than the doubtful honor of shining in society.

After all had received their diplomas, the
graduates held a reception with their friends in
the lobby, while the band played the ’ÄúHigh
School Cadets’Äù march as a fitting conclusion to
the very enjoyable exercises.

Messages In This Thread

1893 Washington High DC Graduates
The following is a list of the graduates:
Re: The following is a list of the graduates:

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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