A Look Back in Time: Graduation Week Comes for Chehalis High School’s 50th Batch of Seniors in 1942


The formerly named Chehalis High School — now W.F. West High School — embarked on its graduate programs for the week of May 27, 1942.

The week-long graduation proceedings were set to culminate the following Thursday in the junior high school’s auditorium as the 50th graduating class of the institution would enjoy its commencement ceremony and related exercises.

The program was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., kicking off with a “colorful pageant,” reported The Chronicle.

Numerous students at the high school had participating roles in the pageant, which was written and produced under the direction of Martha Fenstermacher, entitled “United We Stand.”

“Patriotic in its theme, (the pageant) features four acts, the first, ‘1620 – A New Land;’ second, ‘1776 – A New Nation;’ third, ‘1892 – A New School,’ and the fourth, ‘1918 – A New Hope,’ reported The Chronicle.

Sam Stone was to be the music director; Margaret Luft, the costume director; T.K. Van Nice, the stage director; and Winifred Clifton, the scenery director.

After the pageant, the graduating seniors were to take the stage and walk for their diplomas.

Chehalis School District Superintendent J.D. Glann would present the class of 1942 while W.M. Luebke, of the board of education, was to have the honor of presenting the diplomas.

In addition, several awards were planned to be bestowed upon exceptional students.

Principal B.C. Jacobs planned to present the “coveted faculty achievement award,” which was given annually to one boy and one girl judged “outstanding” by members of the Chehalis High School faculty.

William Judd was the class valedictorian and Frances Hewitt was the salutatorian.

Centralia High School seniors were set to graduate the same week.


May 28, 1932:

• A Memorial Day program was set to be held at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, 1932, in “Greenwood Burial Park,” according to The Chronicle. Stores, banks and public offices were set to be closed for the holiday.

• Centralia High School’s manual training class constructed a 16-foot long cabin cruiser boat model, which was christened May 27, 1932. The model vessel was named “Pinafore,” after the operetta that was performed at the high school the year prior.

• “We are now moving toward greater achievements,” said Christable Pankhurst at a ministerial association meeting at the First Presbyterian Church. Pankhurst was referring to the suffrage movement that had just achieved a major victory in her home city of London, England. Pankhurst’s famous mother, Emeline Pankhurst was known in Britain as the primary force in the English suffrage movement before her death.

• “Chicken thieves were active on Waunch Prairie last night, three henhouses being looted, according to reports to the police department,” reported The Chronicle. Of the stolen hens, Robert Waddel reported 24 Plymouth Rocks missing.

• U.S. Presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, then governor of New York, was receiving nationwide support for his campaign, most notably seen in Colorado and Utah, but locally as well. Roosevelt had just announced his running mate to be George H. Dern.

• A caravan sponsored by the local chamber of commerce was set to leave for Grand Mound at 8 p.m. the following Tuesday for the fifth annual Strawberry festival of the Grand Mound Fruit Growers Association.

• A headline showed the different times the citizens of 1932’s Twin Cities were living in as compared to now. The headline read: “Negro Motorist in Found Guilty.”

• A classified ad listed a five-room modern house at 718 S. Gold St. for rent at $14 a month with the first month free. A house at 218 W. 6th Street was set at a bargain price of $8 a month, and a dwelling at 1204 S. Tower Ave. was set the cheapest at $6 a month.


May 28, 1942:

• Chehalis was on fire for war bond sales, with its haul alone bringing in the amount that was set as a quota for Lewis County as a whole. The sales topped $67,800.

• “Twenty-seven Centralia schoolboy patrolmen who graduate with the eighth-grade classes this week were awarded merit certificates Tuesday evening for faithful service in guarding the streets for their fellow students,” reported The Chronicle. The certificates were presented at Centralia City Hall, with the ceremony marking the end of the program’s ninth year.

• The start of the 1942 strawberry harvest descended upon the region as children, who were the primary pickers, were released from classes for the summer. The crop was set to yield a harvest on par with the previous year.

• The driver of a sedan attempted to pass two semi-truck drivers on Pacific Highway near Toledo, crashing his vehicle while traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver, Wellman J. Van Kuren, nearly killed two motorists, with one woman receiving either a back injury or broken ribs. Van Kuren was booked in the Lewis County Jail on a $50 bail.

• Bennie Diesburg, then 56, died the previous Monday in a Seattle hospital. Diesburg, whose name was a bit unfortunate given his fate, had resided in Bucoda and then Centralia for an aggregate 21 years after moving to the region from Wisconsin.

• The ninth annual exhibit of the Lewis County Rose Show was set to be staged Saturday, June 6, 1942, in Centralia. The event was announced on May 28, 1942.

• Help Wanted: “Married man to operate milking machine. $100 month. House furnished. No field work. Steady.” The ad did not stipulate why the man needed to be married to be hired.


May 28, 1952:

• Five Lewis County bridges needed a paint job and a good cleaning, so the Lewis County Commissioners issued a call for bids on the project.

• “A young Centralian, Hugh G. Hafer, has been elected president (of) the St. Martin’s College student body, it was announced Wednesday,” reported The Chronicle. “Hafner, a sophomore at the college near Olympia, has also been initiated in the ETA chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, national forensic fraternity.”

• The Sears Roebuck store was the site of a robbery the previous Tuesday when $50 was stolen from the cash drawer. The crime was still under investigation as of May 28, 1952.

• Centralia seniors of the class of 1952 were set to walk in their commencement ceremony the following Wednesday, while the Chehalis grads would walk on Thursday.

• The Sylvan Plywood, Inc. manufacturing plant, which was opened in July 1951, had been closed for five months prior to the end of May 1952 for reorganization. The plant’s reopening, which was worth a $700,000 investment in the local economy, needed between 25 and 40 employees to operate.

• With only $10,000 in cash assets remaining, the Grange Co-operative store in Winlock, helmed by shareholder H. Mandy, was the subject of a receivership suit filed with the Lewis County clerk’s office. “The complaint charges that the objects of the organization have ‘wholly failed and the organization no longer is engaged in any business,’” reported The Chronicle.

• The Fox Theater was set to show two films on May 28, 1952. “Denver and Rio Grande,” was set to play at 7 and 10:40 p.m., and “Two Tickets to Broadway,” was scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

• A card of thanks was published for those who aided the family during a time of illness and subsequent death of Harold E. Hakes, a “beloved husband and father,” as posted in The Chronicle.


“A Look Back in Time,” is published in every Saturday edition of The Chronicle. News clips were reviewed at the Lewis County Historical Museum.