Polytechnic High School 1921


(From The Yearbooks)




When we of Polytechnic speak of the Student Body we mean the eighteen hundred students who attend this school; for during the spring term 99.7% of all the pupils enrolled paid their dues and became voting members of the organization. This is indeed a fact of for all of us to be proud of, but it is a very special triumph for Treasurer James Rolph, who planned and carried out the membership campaign to so successful a conclusion. . . The comparatively large sum realized from dues enabled the governing body to give more ample assistance to various activities. . . It has always been a settled policy to make generous allowances to all forms of athletics and to encourage the teams in every way possible. . . Dancing is now a school function, sponsored by the Student Body and carried on to the music of a school orchestra.



This term has been successful one for the Polytechnic Bi-Weekly. For the first time in several terms it has lived up to its name, and has been distributed every two weeks to its expectant readers. . . beginning Journalism class under Miss Gleeson. . . Departments [included] R.O.T.C.; Jokes; Social Notes; Exchanges; Girls’ Sports; Boys’ Sports [with Coleman Francis].

 . . The largest paid circulation of any San Francisco High School paper. A new tradition was also inaugurated this term when a Senior edition was published. This proved so successful that it will doubtless become a biennial custom.


R. O. T. C.

On the green fields of France the white crosses rise, marking the resting places of those who sleep the long sleep. To them the song of the lark and the silence of the night are the same, and only the sound of feet above recalls the past. They gave their lives to make the world better. It is to perpetuate the spirit of these dead that the Reserve Officers Training Corps was formed; not to train for future conquest, but to preserve by preparedness the place America has gained among the nations. At first organized only in the Universities, the R.O.T.C. was later extended to the larger high schools, and this year marks the sixth term in Polytechnic [so the program began ca1918].

Four companies, two extra platoons of Company M. . . A carefully picked medium sized unit is held preferable to a large division. The program for the term provided military work on five periods. . . theory was given on Monday, drill with a Battalion Review on Tuesday, and gymnasium on Wednesday and Thursday. . . Athletics with company baseball teams. . . The rifle team won third place in the Ninth Corps Area shoot, in which all the Universities in the Area participated. The R.O.T.C. has been allowed to use the State Armory for shooting every Wednesday. On Dec. 14, 1920, Colonel Falls reviewed and inspected the unit and declared it to be the best in the city. The Fort Baker Easter camp was attended by 43 Polytechnic men. . . Each year innovations are made in the R.O.T.C., and each year sees a better spirit among the men. After all, it is the individual, not the machine, that the Reserve Officers Training Corps seeks to build.



THE ORCHESTRA has completed its eleventh successful term under the capable leadership of Mr. C. J. Lamp. . . three groups, advanced, intermediate, and beginning.  The organization has proved its worth and ability by winning first honors for two consecutive years at the Orchestral Competition held at the University of California.  This year it won second place.  The Polytechnic Orchestra is complete, including many instruments seldom found in school orchestras.  Besides ordinary instruments such as the violin, viola, ‘cello, bass, flue, cornet, French horn, trombone, piano and tympani, it includes the bassoon, oboe and clarinet.  Many of the players have become so proficient that they are today connected with the leading orchestras of San Francisco.

THE POLYTECHNIC QUARTET appeared before the wounded soldiers at the Presidio and Palo Alto Base Hospitals and also sang aboard the dreadnaught [sic] ‘Mississippi’ where they were heartily applauded.

DRAMA produced the Merchant of Venice; THE FORUM CLUB promotes oral expression; DEBATE awarded numerals for first and second place;  POLY POSTER CLUB helped to advertise all the activities of the school.  Only twenty members, it has been organized for three years; H.M.S. PINAFORE was presented by Miss Keohan’s music classes. . . with an almost professional standard.



During the late war, much was heard throughout the country about the necessity for thrift and saving. Responding to the call that was then issued, the students of Polytechnic brought thrift and war saving stamps, saved old newspapers, old clothing and tin foil, and in every way showed great enthusiasm in this matter of thrift. But with the close of the war our eagerness in this direction died and a need was manifest for something to take the place. . .

Realizing this, the Anglo California Trust Company instituted a savings system in the high schools of San Francisco. Although such a system had long been in use in the grammar schools it had never been tried in the high schools. The experiment, however, has proven to be a great success. . .

At present Girls High leads in the amount of deposits, with Poly running a close second. Next term we hope that Polytechnic, which has the largest enrollment in San Francisco, will also have the largest amount of money in the school bank.



Since its organization in 1919, the Polytechnic Radio Club has steadily progressed. . . A complete honeycomb tuner and a two-step amplifier have been added to the receiving set; while the transmitter is being redesigned for operation with the new antennae which is to be erected soon. It has always been the aim of the club to encourage the members to obtain a fuller understanding of the intricacies of wireless telegraphy.



This semester has proved that the students and faculty appreciate a lunch room in the school building where wholesome, well-prepared, moderately priced food is available. On an average, 350 students are served each day in the main lunch room and at the counters. A boy’s counter has long been a regular thing, but recently a girl’s counter was established where hot dogs, ice cream, pastry and candy are sold. Cafeteria committee. . . fifty student workers. . . three women who prepare the food under the supervision of the Household Arts Department.



The feature which distinguishes the Polytechnic High School from other high schools in San Francisco is its complete set of shops, in which the students may obtain instruction in any of the modern crafts.

Wood working is the first of the shops entered. Grammar school manual training is enlarged upon by allowing the boys to build their own projects. This is made possible by Polytechnic’s three shops equipped with such up-to-date machinery as wood-turning lathes, a single surface planer, a model double arbor circular saw, and a thirty-inch band saw, all controlled by individual motors, using both D.C. and A.C. current. Besides these machines there are wood working benches, with a complete assortment of wood working tools. Such equipment enables this school to offer one of the most practical courses given on the Pacific Coast, the students making almost everything from handkerchief boxes to automobiles and boats.

From the wood shop the student goes to the forge, the pattern shop and the foundry. The former contains about sixty forges, a trip-hammer, and other machinery such as is found in modern commercial blacksmith shops. All the equipment in the pattern shop, with the exception of five lathes, has been made and set up by the boys themselves. The foundry finds all its problems in equipment work, for which patterns are made by the pattern shop. The foundry contains a furnace, an electric crane, a brass furnace and a core oven. The classes are now working on lockers for this room.

The next shop in order is the machine shop. Polytechnic has the most completely equipped shop in the San Francisco schools. In it are found lathes, ranging in size from eight-inch to twenty-inch, two universal milling machines, three sharpers, a planer, a twenty-inch drill, a sensitive drill, a drill grinder, and a tool grinder. The beginner here is given a series of problems to familiarize him with the various machines, and then he is advanced to practical problems of machine work. Wood work and forge or foundry are prerequisite to machine shop.

At the present time, the electric shop has the poorest equipment of any of our shops, Mr. Tinsley being unable to get the proper tools for the instruction he wishes to give. Nevertheless, the work turned out by the boys in conjunction with the Radio Club and Mr. Jordan’s electrical classes is very commendable. The work done is the construction of transformers, small motors, electric toasters, wireless instruments, and various other small electrical machines.

The art-metal shop is open to both girls and boys. Preliminary work includes the making of bookends, trays and other small ornaments; advanced work gives an opportunity to design and make objects of use and beauty.

Plans are under consideration for construction of a sheet metal, welding and plumbing shop [which would] open up a new field of instruction.



BASKETBALL games were played on the Coliseum court; UNLIMITED TEAM: These unlimited players started the season by defeating Commerce 26-21, after playing them two games, due to Commerce using an ineligible player. Lowell, our old enemy, was victorious by a close score in one of the best games seen in San Francisco this year. The Red and Black fought desperately for ten minutes of extra time, but came out loser in a 20-18 score. This game later proved to be for the championship, as each team easily won over all other rivals.

THE 145 lb. TEAM opened the season by defeating Lowell; THE 130 lb. TEAM were our best bet. . . In the semi-finals Lowell and Poly met in the third of the basketball games between these rival schools. Poly proved too strong for the Red and White after ten minutes of extra play, and the game was ours by a score of 29-26. St. Ignatius won the championship game 32-17.

THE TUMBLING TEAM There was a Poly tumbling team way back in ‘17 [note: only four years previously], when a boy from Los Angeles began practicing with half a dozen old-timers. The team as we all know it is directly due to the efforts of Mr. Elmer Harris, who changed it from an all-around gym team to a straight tumbling team. This group has put on exhibitions in all the Bay cities, at Y.M.C.A.’s, schools and other organizations.

SWIMMING Another term has rolled by and still Poly has not won the swimming championship. But we lost by a scant eleven points, 53-42, and Poly put up one of the best fights ever staged at Sutro Baths. . . Several times Poly was in the lead, only to lose it again. . . The relay pulled the big surprise of the day when our team defeated the Lowell aggregation for the first time in seventeen terms.

BASEBALL Polytechnic’s hopes for the baseball championship are not bright this term. We have held the trophy for two years, and this must reconcile us to the loss of it in the third year. . . St. Ignatius is the best contender so far.

TENNIS is a sport which seems to be gaining rapidly in popularity. . . Two tournaments for boys were held, one by the Gymnasium Class and the other by the Journalism Class. . . We started the S. F. A. L. series with success. . .

UNLIMITED TRACK team picked its hardest meet first. They did very well against the California Freshmen, considering the fact that only six of the team were present. . . The Poly-Cogswell battle ‘over there’ in ‘no man’s land’ at Cogswell’s field proved a hot one. Poly came out on the long end of a 67-54 score. . . On April 26 the team met Berkeley High and Oakland Technical High at the California Oval. . . Francis has broken the discus record in every meet this term.



Although the Polytechnic alumni is still unorganized, it has been unusually active this term. The class of December ‘20 headed by Bruce Wale and ‘Bones’ Sorenson gave a very enjoyable reunion dance at the Century Club on April the 23rd. . . Some of the alumni attending the University of California are: Dorothy Mansfield, Virginia Williams, Ottilia Bindewald, Consuelo Swan, Loretta Street, Eva Schwartz, Mabel Wiles, Ann McKee, Sybil Bouton, Juliette Graff, Frieda Sievert, Romelda Kennedy, Edith Hyde, Rosalia Burge, James Cronin, Jimmy DeWitt, Budd Dixon, Harold Heinicke, Gus Hoffman, Julius Goldsand, Delbert Radke, Henry Brann, Marshall Davies and many others.

Harold Toso and Phil Fawke are both passing time at Santa Clara College.

Stanford has claimed many also. Among them are: Sidney Hawkins, Ethel Mohr, Cecil Van Wyck, Lee Prior, Theodore Hesselmeyer, George Lysaght, Elmer Collett and Roland Tognazzini.

There is also to be found a group who could not break away from Polytechnic so suddenly and so are back taking post graduate courses. These are: Willard Auger, Phil Code, Harre Demoro, Wesley Gardiner, Charles Hennessey, Ed. Hogan, Paul Jaccard, Russell Sievers, Will Hocking and Eugene Coburn.

Zara Witkin, an honor graduate of four years ago, has been elected to numerous scientific honor societies at U.C.; and she is one of four students selected to speak at Commencement this year. Rizal Musser, after one quarter at Stanford, has gone down into the oil fields, accompanied by Nat Spieller, a former Poly boy.

Polytechnic is always represented at the California School of fine Arts. James Hyde, the editor of last year’s Journal is there now, as is also Emily Michels. A large number of graduates of December ‘20 are working temporarily and expect to enter college in the fall. Such are: Ernest Holmes, Percy Peterson, Sumner Dodge, Ford Myers, Linwood Ginder and Harry Witt.

A trip around the world was all that Roy Tregaskis wanted when he graduated in June ‘19, and he has it now. He shipped from San Francisco on a freight boat as a quartermaster, and in April landed in New York, thus practically completing his voyage. ‘Hoot Mon’ Miller, one of Poly’s former star football players and member of the champion unlimited basket ball team of 1919, took a fancy to see the country whence came his popular name. About this time he is en route to London, and we hope he isn’t seasick.

“Mexico is a nice place, but the rattle snakes are too chummy,” says bill Garrett, one of our former swimmers. Anyway, there was no place to swim in Baja California, so Bill came back and is now with the Otis Elevator Company right near the water. Bill Tomlinson, Student Body President during the spring term of 1920, is now working for the Robert Dollar Steamship Company.


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