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Decorah High School
1894 Graduates

Source: Decorah Republican June 28, 1894 P 4 C 2, 3

this page was last updated on Monday, 16 November 2020


The Twelfth Annual Commencement Exercises—Six Graduates.

The usual large Audience fills the Grand Opera House from Pit to Gallery.

The school year has closed. For two months the clang of the school bell will not be heard, and when the doors of the Decorah public schools open again there will be one more class which will not enter, while another has stepped forward to take its place.

The twelfth annual graduating exercises of the Decorah High School occurred at the Grand Opera House last Friday evening. The customary large audience was present, but not such a one as did at one time fill the seats on occasions of this nature. The audience was a representative one—not of the curious sort, but of patrons, graduates and friends of the school who were really interested in what is being done for the youth of our city.

The graduating class, which was composed of

Asseln, Tillie
Coughlin, Agnus
Hegner, Emma
Jaeger, Lucy
Johnson, Eugene
Reum, Ida

is one of the two largest classes that has gone from the school in ten years. That it is a creditable class is not to be again said.

The exercises opened with music by the orchestra, followed by prayer by Rev. H. H. Green. Another number by the orchestra preceded the first oration, “Zeros, Minus and Plus Quantities,” by Miss Emma Hegner. Her thought was — What is our character—a zero, a minus or a plus quantity? It will be whatever we make it; our will power alone may govern us in that. If it be a zero it is nothing, while if it be a plus quantity there may be no limit to its usefulness.

“The Language of Nature” was discussed by Miss Tillie Asseln. She said the love and appreciation of the works of nature require but simple education, yet there are millions who live in utter blindness to the surroundings. The love of nature should be cultivated for "There's a lesson in each flower, A story in each tree and bower. In every herb on which we tread, Are written words, which rightly read, Will lead ns from earth’s fragrant sod To hope and holiness in God.”

A selection by the orchestra intervened between this effort, and that of Miss Ida Reum:s essay on “Mosaics.” ‘‘There is, perhaps, no more familiar form of fine art than mosaic work,” she said. Humanity is a large mosaic of living figures, constantly changing with the tide of human emotions and conflicting influences. “A finished life is one that has made the most of every opportunity and of all materials granted to it, whether its mosaics be dark or bright, its pattern clear or clouded: the one that has utilized the moments that divide and announce the indistinguishable lapse of time, and given to each a definite character.”

In her essay “Let There be Light,” Miss Agnus Coughlin signalized education as “light.” In her closing thought the whole matter is admirably summed up—“Of all the experiences which we shall have in life, of all the blessings which it shall please Providence to allow us to cultivate, there is not one which will breath a purer fragrance or bear a more heavenly aspect than education. It will be a companion which no misfortune can repress, no enemy alienate, no despotism enslave. At home a friend, abroad an introduction, in solitude a solace, in society an ornament, in life a guiding light.

The subject of Miss Lucy Jaeger’s essay was “Enter Every Open Door.” The door to wealth, honor, usefulness and happiness is open to all, and all who will may enter with almost certain prospect of success. It is by entering each and everyone, by steadily working as we pass from room to room that we in a measure perfect ourselves. As we reach the last threshold we pause before entering the more stately mansion and cast one backward glance at the years of toil, care and sorrow nnd, with a free and easy conscience, inscribe above the door, “We have done what we could, Angels could do no more.”

“National Characteristics” was the title of Eugene Johnson’s oration. In opening he said “National characteristics are applied to those traits which appear most prominent in a nation taken as a whole." The quality of the units constitute the importance of these characteristics. The noblest of all possessions is character. The homes are where the character of a nation is found. This is seen in our country, where civilization, culture and patriotism are taught as the chief characteristics of a prosperous nation. The day is rapidly approaching when the glory and grandeur of Greece will be revived in this western world—when America shall be denominated the land of science and song.

Each speaker was very heartily received: and was presented with numerous floral tributes of friendship nnd esteem. Their several selections were good and delivered in a pleasing and easy manner.

The dumb bell drill by a number of young misses dressed in white with powdered hair was a very novel and entertaining number, being performed with great accuracy of time and movement. It called forth a hearty encore and was responded to by a very prettily arranged tableaux.

The closing number on the program was an address by Supt. Townsley and presentation of diplomas. This was commendatory to the retiring, class paternal in its advise, and contained some practical thoughts relating to the general welfare of the schools.

The stage decorations, the arrangement of which was due to Mrs. Warren, were exceedingly tasteful. Of course the parlor scene was used. The door was draped in the class colors, and above it was the class motto in gold, “The way must be tried.” Hanging above the center of the stage was a large horn of plenty filled with daisies, —the class flower. On the left of the stage was a stand also trimmed with daisies. On the right stood an easle trimmed with roses and most of the baskets of flowers which were presented to the graduates.

Saturday evening the B and C high school classes tendered the graduates a reception at the residence of Mrs. D. H. Hughes which was attended by quite a number of their friends.

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