“Look us over, look us over Come right down the line,
We can stand first class inspection ‘Cause we’re right up to perfection We’re from Henry, we’re from Henry, That’s the reason why!
Rah rah rah rah rah rah For Henry High!”
Yes, that was our school song back in the 1940s and it set the tone for the school’s atmosphere. Patrick Henry at that time was known as the “fun school” and one step further, as “Porter’s Folly.” This wasn’t a bad thing. Mr. Porter loved students and wanted to see them happy. As the Henry principal he did everything in his power to see that his students enjoyed themselves while learning. His theory behind it all was that if the students loved coming to school, they would enjoy learning and there would also be less absenteeism. His theory worked!
Among the many fun things at school was the lunch hour. You could do what you wanted — eat in the lunchroom, go home to eat, sit outside on the lawn or eat in the auditorium which at noon was converted into a dark movie theater. You could watch a film alone or with friends while chowing down. Many boy and girlfriend couples ate together that way.
Another fun thing was the Pep Fests held once a week in the auditorium. A group
from the marching band, the “Pep Band” played jazzy music and got everyone excited. It was led by a super musician, Bud Yager, who was way ahead of himself in the music department, including the orchestra.
Aside from that, we were allowed to have a dance after school hours every Friday afternoon. In the lunchroom they set up a record player and played the
latest music from Boogie Woogie to Rock & Roll. The fad at that time was doing the “Lindy Hop” and that was done the most. By Prom time everyone was a pretty good dancer.
An extra bonus activity was to go to the gym after school and watch the wrestling
team work out. Some of the best in school were Gus Lindgren and Joe Zelinsky. They were wrestling at its best!
But the thing the “fun school” was most noted for was the annual celebration of “Sadie Hawkins Day.” As you probably remember Sadie Hawkins Day was taken from the cartoon strip Li’l Abner. The story went that on Sadie Hawkins Day any and all females could go and kiss any man they wanted to. This is what Daisy Mae and all her friends did. So on Sadie Hawkins Day, all female students at Henry did just that – and danced! It was the ultimate fun thing of the year!