December 28, 2011 Edition

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Remembering
WRHS in 1953



Johnny Shields

A street photographer in Hot Springs snapped this photo of three Walnut Ridge High School seniors in April 1953, while they were strolling down Central Avenue.

They are (from left) Bill Floyd, Billy Joe Rogers and Johnny Shields. We were with a group of singers that had traveled to the spa city to be judged and evaluated for talent, presentation, harmony and stage presence. Participating from WRHS were the Girls Glee Club, the Mixed Chorus and the Boys Glee Club. Clara Weir was choral director of the group.

There were many other Arkansas high school singers that were in Hot Springs at the same time to be evaluated including Hoxie High School where Maxine Bracy was the choral director.

At the same time Miss Weir directed the glee clubs at WRHS, A. W. Rainwater was superintendent of schools, Van Ellis was high school principal, Virginia Bland was the commercial instructor (typing, bookkeeping, shorthand), as well as advisor to the yearbook staff; Ida Rainwater taught high school English and was the school librarian, Edna Rose (Mrs. Butler) Weir taught American government classes, J. Kenneth Taylor instructed students in science and biology (and also drove one of the bus routes for years.) In fact, Mr. Taylor drove the school bus that transported the glee clubs to Hot Springs for the festival.

Other teachers in the system were John (Jake) Grigsby, agriculture; Ruth Helen Forrester, home economics; Marjorie Ottinger, junior high English and was in charge of the Dramatics Club; Gladys (McPike) Hudgens was the girls physical education teacher and was coach of the girls basketball program as well as sponsoring the high school cheerleaders; Ben Jones was the boys football coach and W. R. Glenn was the boys basketball mentor.

There were other instructors in the Walnut Ridge junior and senior high system at the time, but the writer of this article who provided the above photo and the written contents for this column developed “memory block” and yet decided to furnish The TD with some of “yesterday's memories.”

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