Wildcats’ Alumni Recall ‘Unspoken’ Vows
By MILES LAYTON
PADEN CITY – Sue Adcock and her Scottish terrier, Polly, were part of Wildcats’ alumni parade on Saturday through town. The event was one of many held during Paden City High School’s Alumni weekend.
Adcock, PCHS Class of ’56, drove a Mustang convertible with her little dog on duty in the passenger seat. Taped to the passenger door of her red car was a list of her classmates who have passed away over the years. Those names were Phyllis Wells Dieterich, Charles Gallagher, Stanley Hayes, Charles Headley, Lee Hizer, Bill J. Huffman, John Mooring, Larry Moser, Barbara Wells Richeson and Sally Inbody Stewart.
“I want people to remember,” Adcock said.
And that in essence was and always is the reason for alumni weekend – to reflect and remember.
The Class of 66 made a splash among alumni. See related story page 6.
“The highlight of this year’s alumni weekend for me was the banquet and seeing much the Class of 1966 enjoyed being together,” said Rodney McWilliams, Class of 84 and President of the Paden City Foundation. “You could see unabashed delight on each of their faces. We honored their classmates that served in our country’s military and all veterans from all classes and that really made the evening special.”
McWilliams said each of decades’ class speakers all did a wonderful job recollecting their time in school, but also talking why some of them choose to stay close to home and raise their families in PADEN city.
“As in many town schools and towns, generations of the same family are often taught by the same teachers and that lends a sense of security and continuity, but it does not stifle the notion of diversity in learning new ideas and perspectives,” he said.
Each generation has a different “take” on established norms but the traditions, especially those at small schools and those at Paden City High School, serve as a backbone or foundation for learning.
“The underlying and never-dying Wildcat Spirit prevails over all and drives each of us to excel. It is not a sense of entitlement and not just a sense of pride,” McWilliams said. “It is sense of legacy, of commitment, of dedication and a sense of responsibility that goes with each graduate of PCHS. We are bound to uphold certain values learned while we are in school. Hopefully, these annual alumni gatherings remind of us our understood, if often unspoken vows.”
Keith Van Camp, who graduated in 1974 from Paden City High School, explained the best part about being a Wildcat.
“The school spirit and because we were a small school we were able to know every one,” he said.
Van Camp gave high praise to alumni’ spirit.
“I think this years events went well,” he said. “We had 105 folks for the banquet. I think the reason people come back is because of a small school people get to know each other and like to keep in touch. I think the way the town keeps the school spirit alive is definitely good for the future. They tried to close the school once and the whole town packed the gym to keep it open.”
McWilliams said he would like to see the school’s faculty and administration become more active in the alumni activities and be more welcoming of contributions and efforts of our alumni.
“After all, the alumni of PCHS were the first vital part of efforts to secure the future of the school and keep those personnel employed there,” he said. “Additionally, they would do well to understand the time honored traditions of the school and should be receptive to making sure the continue.”
The alumni parade was a small affair this year. The highlights included the town’s fire engine, candy tossed from a truck for kids on the street and of course the dynamic duo of Adcock and Polly.
“Some years are much better than others,” McWilliams said. “It has never been a huge parade, but it doesn’t have to be. It needs help and that comes in the way of more classes getting involved. And more local organizations and clubs.”
Van Camp added, “I would like to see more interest in the parade. The alumni band comes to homecoming and I would like to see them come for the alumni parade as well. Since school is out we don’t have a band for that weekend. The officers have thought about changing the date of the event but most people want to keep it as it is.”
The reason alumni return home each year is that the visit and time together not only rekindles their youth, but their school spirit.
“I love seeing graduates from older classes,” McWilliams said. “It is always nice to meet them and talk with them and see several that come back every year. It is almost as if I graduated with them. I am always thrilled when younger classes start coming and hope they realize how this should mean to them. You see sparks in their eyes each year and the Wildcat fire is rekindled in them.”
Like John Denver’s classic song “Country Road”, the Wildcats’ alma mater strikes a chord deep within that echoes an eternity.
“We always end the banquet by singing the alma mater,” McWilliams said. “It sounded like a giant church or school choir singing a Capella this year and it was just beautiful. It always warms my heart.”
As a tribute to future generations and maybe historians who may look back on America, here is the Wildcats’ alma mater”
The words to the Alma Mater were composed mostly by Ray Price and members of the PCHS classes of 1952-1955.
VERSE 1 By Ohio’s Sunlight Waters, Let our voices rise! Paden City’s sons and daughters, Praise Her to the skies! Through the years in all endeavor, we will ever be; Loyal to our Alma Mater, Hail All Hail to Thee!
VERSE 2 Hallowed Halls that knew our laughter, Chains of Memory, Bind Us to thee Ever-after, To Eternity. Through the years in all endeavor, we will ever be; Loyal to our Alma Mater, Hail All Hail to Thee!
VERSE 3 Where majestic hills assemble, Raise our banner bright, Cheer until the Heavens tremble, for the Green and White. Through the years in all endeavor, we will ever be; Loyal to our Alma Mater, Hail All Hail to Thee!