What was it like to graduate from high school in the Roaring Twenties, or in the midst of the Great Depression? Here are a couple hints from Hopewell High School in 1924 and 1926, and from Central High School in Pennington in 1932.
First, we have two small leather-bound books from 1924 and 1926 with the Hopewell High School graduation week program.
The Hopewell High School Commencement book from June 1924 (PDF) lists the week’s events: the Baccalaureate Sermon on Sunday at the Calvary Baptist Church, followed by the Senior Dance and Class Day program at Columbia Hall in Hopewell on Wednesday evening, and the Commencement Exercises on Thursday evening at the Pennington Presbyterian Church.
The book lists the 23 class members, their class motto (“Facere est vita” / make life) and the class flower (pink rambler). The Class Day program includes “Gossipers” and “Fishing,” and ends with a “Last Will and Testament” and “Cremation”. (There must be some story behind this!)
The 1926 Hopewell High School Class Day book (PDF) then lists the 27 class members, with their stoic class motto (“Honor lies in honest Toil”) and the class flower (white rose).
These classes graduated from the High School building in Hopewell Borough at the corner of Columbia and South Greenwood (the current firehouse and former Boro Hall), which was built in 1912. Then in 1929 the high school moved to the new Central High School in Pennington Borough.
And we have the program for the Central High School Class of 1932 production, “The Tightwad / A Comedy in Three Acts” (PDF). For history buffs, this has lots of display ads for local businesses in Hopewell and Pennington. Note the listings do have a few phone numbers (J. B. Hills in Hopewell is “phone 5”, but the Trenton Transit Co. is “2-3728”), but no street addresses.
== View the Municipal Pamphlets Collection for these and more ==
Also check out the Hopewell High School “Blue and Gold: Yearbook from 1917, as the U. S. entered World War I.
And there’s a summary of the history of the Hopewell schools in the 1926 Dedicatory Exercises for the new Hopewell Grammar School (PDF).
Thanks to Carol Kehoe of Hopewell Antiques for kindly sharing these materials.