Reflections: From Rosehill to Senn

Class History, by Dorothy Haupt

The last night of the old year, I sat in reverie. Another year had passed and left the unfolded pages of 1915 to be filled, but in a different way from the few preceding ones, for a new life would begin for the 1915 Mid-Years. The parting of the ways had almost been reached, the old and happy associations of high school days would soon terminate. “And what have the past four years meant to us?” I thought to myself. We grant that our class achievements are worthy of gong on record. A mere chronology of the facts, however, would not be interesting nor attractive. So we think back to the days when we started our career cautiously but unfalteringly upon the several thresholds of our respective high schools. We have not been together all the way, but have add to our numbers at intervals. Some of us started at Lake View, the school which has been the foundation of Senn, and upon which all of its traditions have been built, and some of us started at the little red schoolhouse on the hill. (We termed it thus – it was commonly called Rosehill.) To the latter class belongs the Historian, who will endeavor to tell you something about it.

It was a spooky old place and a ghost was said to dwell in the dark cellar, probably having escaped from the cemetery nearby. There were constant funeral processions (which required a good deal of our attention when we were Freshies) passing by the front door on their way to the burial ground. Do not gather from this, however, that the school was morose or gruesome, for it was exactly the opposite. The keen anvil’s ring which sounded next door was more of a true symbol of what our life there was like, for everybody was cheerful and hospitable. One of our achievements was the “Branchite,” a paper which was published monthly. Compare it with the Forum and smile if you wish, but it gave us our first taste of the elusive feeling classed as school spirit. I remember a strain of a lyric that one of the young hopefuls composed to the tune of ”Solomon Levy”:

Oh, we’re the Lake View School. So great,

Our Building’s small and our doings all

Must be rendered at the Hayt”

The rest is rather vague, but it ended with—

For we’ll be charter members then

Of the fine, new Nicholas Senn!”

The parties that the Branch gave were incomparable and after the various Valentine and Hallowe’en parties we would dance in Mr. Winslow’s room on a little two by for space and declare that we had the time of our lives two-stepping and waltzing. Can you imagine it? During our first few months a Freshmen, the Branch gave an entertainment in the assembly hall at Hayt school. I recall it but slightly, although Field Day, which was given by Lake View in June, 1911, was vividly impressed upon my mind. There was a parade and a band of waving caps and wands, and true athletic spirit was introduced into our lied, for the Branch, because of lack of equipment. Could not count athletics as her strong point.

February, 1913, it was time for us to leave the little red school, for after one completed the Sophomore year, it was the custom to transport him to the imposing and mysterious Lake View.

But this year tradition was broken, for Senn was opened and for his sake we deserted the dear, creaky, old stairs and the ghost in the basement. How elated the entire “Rosehill Family” felt as they marched, forming a line from the Branch all the way to the southwest exit of the beautiful new building, feeling indeed that they were the last coming upon the “Land of Their Desire.” Some of the Class of ’15 left us there, for they couldn’t get just what they wanted in the way of Science, Languages, etc. But those who were “true blue” stayed and took what was offered in the partially complete building, and one little row of Juniors sat in the sophomore room, blissfully contented. Soon after this was the time when many of our number joined us from other schools. Lake View contributing a goodly share of pupils, teachers, even unto her own principal to whom we have tried to be as helpful and loyal as she was.

The first semester in the new school was one of joy in contemplation of the building that was soon to be, and watching its growth. On the 17th of March, the Forum made its first appearance. What excitement pervaded every room! How eagerly everybody perused the short, twenty pages which seven hundred pupils had so bravely gathered together! And how it has grown in this two year period!

In June, 1913, a contest in marching was held, into which every one of us put his best efforts. School spirit ran high, as we practiced in the incomplete gymnasium. How happy Mr. Buck was, and how wonderfully he praised us! The girls wore white middies and green ties, the boys, coatless with green ties also, and we marched through the streets in the immediate neighborhood, for about two miles. We can at least say that satisfaction was our reward, for every on was very happy and well pleased with himself.

Then, the lunch room which was opened during that first year! We who had carried our few sandwiches for over two years, knew how to appreciate the new room and the kindness of the Rogers Park Woman’s Club, who supervised it. That first semester, two graduates from the business course held their exercises in the lunch room, for Senn Hall was incomplete. It was opened in the fall, as was the office, gym, swimming tank, the entire eastern part of the building, and the fully equipped science rooms. Lockers were at last installed and were quite a novelty to the inexperienced branchites.

When the equipment arrived for the gymnasium, library, and lecture room, new activities immediately followed. Athletics became a prominent part of our school life, and different school societies were formed. The musical organizations have given two of the first concerts that astonished us all with the possibilities of the department. It seems as though the “Rose Maiden” cantata was more directly connected with us, because two of the soloists are members of our own class and they contributed much toward its success.

The senior year was very full. After two parties that we gave, one for the poor children at the settlement (a mixture of dolls, bulging stockings, cocoa, Santa Claus, and goodwill) and one here at school for ourselves, came the holiday week. Directly after the Christmas vacation, the class was organized and the officers elected. After much discussion, a pin was decided upon which the classes after us could adopt. The class statistics were arranged and the pictures for the Forum were taken.

Just a few more days and to outward appearance, all will be over, and we shall never come back except as alumni. But our close connection with our school days and our memories and associations of the last four years will remain throughout our lifetime. And what will come to fill the unfolded pages of the years ahead! That we leave to our far-seeing and wise prophetess.