FIRST GRADUATION OF NORWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
FRIDAY, JULY 13 1934- THE NORWOOD MESSENGER
By DR. RALPH METCALF FOGG
What a wonderful high school we have in these days. I feel proud of the fact, that I am the father of the high school of Norwood, being the only male graduate of the first graduation, March 21, 1873. Not only that, but four girls and myself formed the first class in Latin which started the studies of Norwood high school.
There was no fuss and feathers, when Norwood got her high school. It came about in this way: We were a part of Dedham, by name South Dedham. The schools were not graded as they are now, they were the primary, intermediate, grammar and high grammar. Any pupil finishing his studies in the high grammar room of the Everett School, second floor, who wished a high school education, would be obliged to go in the steam cars to East street station, now called Endicott and walk two and a half miles to the high school building on School street, which was one-half mile from Dedham square.
Susie Fales, sister of the late Hon. Frank A. Fales, and I took that walk for one written examination to enter the school. I purposely failed. I did not like the way Dedham Village people were using South Dedham folks. We wanted a high school. They wanted a steam fire engine. South Dedham said they would vote for a fire engine if they would help us for a high school, but they would not and said they would have an engine anyway. They got their engine. We got our high school, only by separating from the mother town and forming the new town of Norwood, Feb. 23, 1872.
On March 6, 1872 the citizens celebrated the birth of cur town in Village hall. His Excellency Gov. Washburn of Massachusetts, addressed the gathering.
On July 12, 1871 Everett school closed for summer vacation. The next two days was my examination to enter Dedham high. I have already stated that I did not pass. So to get a higher education, I commenced Sept. 20, 1871 to go to Rev. Calvin Locke’s private school on Clapboardtree street, West Dedham now Westwood. I attended this school till April 30, 1872. I was the first one to leave Everett school. Finally, there were 24 of us at the private school, from our district. In the meantime, after the new town of Norwood got fairly started, a new school committee was chosen: F. O. Winslow, Geo. W. Gay and Rev. Theron Brown.
The last part of the summer vacation, in August, Mr. Winslow came to see me. He said they had finally got an appropriation from the town to employ a principal for the Everett school, who could take on a high school class, and that if I would come back the others would follow and the school committee would call it the Norwood high school with classes in the prevailing studies in high schools.
So we came back and the date, Sept 9. 1872 was the birth of the Norwood high school.
The first list of studies for the use in the school was given out in a circular by the school committee.
The first graduation from the Norwood high school was on the regular public examination day, Friday, March 21, 1873. Mr. L. V. N. Peck, was principal and Miss Annie L. Boyden, assistant. There were 24 pupils in the school whose names were: Walter Chickering, John Hennessey, Thomas Casey, George Talbot, Edgar Wheelock, Lucius White, Ellis Worthington, Walter Fairbanks. Ralph Fogg, James Brennan, Cornelius Horgan, Emma Wheelock, Fannie Cragin, Alla Thayer, Jessie Hill, Carri Capen, Nellie Kingsbury, Annie Pratt, Addie Thompson, Flora Ingraham, Ada Fogg, Kate Pender, Sarah Wallace, Maggie Williamson.
The exercises were held in the east and west wings of the Everett school, second floor. There were folding doors between the two rooms, which opened the full width.
The program included dialogues, speaking, compositions and classes. The master’s class in philosophy and physiology were highly praised. There were five graduates, four girls and one boy: Emma Wheelock, valedictorian; Fannie Cragin, Alla Thayer, Jessie Hill and Ralph Fogg.
Ralph Fogg’s essay subject was “Health.” I do not recall the other essays. We received no medals and not even a diploma.
The school committee had not arranged for diplomas. No appropriation from the new town of Norwood, for anything of that sort.
Both Mr. Peck and Miss Boyden resigned at this time. We presented through Emma Wheelock an elegant cake basket to Mr. Peck and to Miss Boyden a chrome and silver fruit.
The four girls and myself took up a post graduate course under the new teacher, April 23, 1873 Mr. Joseph W. Cross, Jr., principal, Miss Anna L. Savil assistant. Some of the studies were Latin,; French, chemistry, philosophy, physics, rhetoric, bookkeeping.
On Feb. 12, 1874 my horse running away with me, causing a serious accident, finished my career, at our dear old Everett school. In the fall of that year Fannie Cragin and myself went to Dean Academy at Franklin to receive a little more education.
I believe the rest of the girls left school for good. Later on we all got married, I married our school marm of 1873. Three of the girls married business men of Norwood. The fourth girl also married a Norwood man and went to California, he as manager for his business firm. So we are all alive.
I congratulate the graduates of Norwood high school, 1934. I am wishing they may all be as happy and prosperous through the years to come as has been the lot of the class of 1873, 61 years ago.
There has been quite a change in the school system of Norwood, and also in high school buildings, from 61 years ago.
On June 12, 1934 the high school of today graduated and gave out diplomas to 233 pupils. The exercises were held in the state armory and 2200 relatives and friends were in attendance.
The high school of 1873 graduated 5 pupils and gave out no diplomas; relatives and friends attending, 80.
Quite a contrast, but Norwood high school had been in existence only six months. We had only 373 scholars of school age in the whole town, 286 average attendance during the school year. 31 scholars over 15 years of age. $6,000.00 was raised by taxes for support of our public schools. $500.00 for slating the Everett schoolhouse roof.
It was recommended by the Finance commission, 1934, to te raised by taxation, for the support of schools, $323,290.00
1872-73—Teachers employed, 10
Number of scholars, 373
1933-34—Teachers employed, 132
Number of scholars, 3127
1873—High School Pupils, 24.
1934—High Schol Pupils 763.