Memories of High School Days
This page was created to give EVERYONE the opportunity to tell us something about their memories of Vilas. Ideally, we would like to hear from ALL the graduates, teachers and friends. There is no limit as to the number of “Memories” for any year, and you may write as much or as little as you wish, although we do reserve the right to edit for content and/or length in some instances. Our goal is to communicate with our friends, our families and the future generations that may not know our stories. We welcome your contributions, via e-mail or post, so PLEASE take a moment and send us your recollections.
- Leroy “Dutch” Mosher
"We were supposed to start classes at Vilas in the fall of 1934, but the school wasn't quite ready, so we all had our classes at the Alstead Town Hall (since burned) until just before Christmas. One day, they told us to each collect our books and we walked up the street to the new High School. We went to our assigned home rooms, put away our materials and met in the gymnasium, where they wished us Merry Christmas, and told us that when we came back from vacation, we were to report to Vilas High School."
- Harry Neal
"We managed to pack a lot of baseball games into that first spring. It was fun, but although the high school was brand new there were still a lot of things that were in short supply, like school buses. For quite awhile, Acworth was the only town that supplied transportation for their kids. The rest had to find their own way back and forth from home."
- Ken Pelton
"My family went to high school in Bellows Falls and in Walpole before Vilas High School opened. I met Dan Metcalf at an FFA conference in 1935, and liked him, so I was very happy to see him in a classroom at Vilas when I got there in 1936. We had a good time, and my brother Arthur and I bought a Hudson that year so we could drive to school after we made our morning milk pick-ups from the area farms."
- Wallace Nowak
"My father died in 1927, a victim of TB. I was in my eighth year, the second eldest child. I came to Vilas High in the fall of 1934, an orphan by the standards of the day. In the fall of 1936, Dan announced a 'fathers and sons' night. I wanted to attend, but I had no one to bring, and when Dan asked if I would be attending, I blurted out; 'I don't have a father!' Without hesitation, Dan replied, 'Don't worry, you can come with me.' A kind gesture which I have never forgotten."
- Irene (Simino) Neal
"My parents moved to Walpole my senior year, but I stayed with Leon & Ida Britton in Alstead so that I could graduate from Vilas. Our class loved to have fun and we were all quite close. We knew the war had started in Europe, but none of us thought much about it then."
(editors note: I spoke with Irene and her husband Harry (1935) on June 8, 2007. They have been married 67 years!)
- Estella (Mousley) Winham
"There weren't a lot of sports for girls, but we did play basketball, and because it was a small school we all got a chance to play. It was a lot of fun. We also had a school fair each year, and their were three one-act plays for the students that were interested in acting. Paul Fenton was very well liked, and several of us also enjoyed babysitting for his two young sons. He and his wife were very nice people."
- Gertrude (Batchelder) Robbins
"My family insisted that I finish high school, although my plans were always to work on the family farm and in the family store. When I graduated that's exactly what I did. My best friend at Vilas High School was Earlah Miles, and we still correspond occasionally."
- Helen (Carmen) Bascom
"There was only one other girl in my class, so the boys got to make most of the decisions our senior year. We only had nine (9) graduates, making us the smallest class ever at Vilas High School. Paul Fenton was the Principal, and he encouraged me to lead the class into the auditorium at graduation, even though I didn't think I could do it. When we were all done, he congratulated me and told me to always remember that I could do anything I set my mind to. He was a wonderful Principal."
- Earl Rhoades
“Many of the guys in our class went right into the service after graduation. Some, like my good friend Jimmy Porter, enlisted before graduation. He died during the D-Day invasion. I was in the Navy on a destroyer in the Pacific for 3 years. My friends Charlie Strickland and Walt Brightman went into the Navy too.”
- Charles Strickland
“In 1943 we were already actively involved in such things as scrap drives, collecting savings stamps, and converting them into war bonds. The Savings Bank of Walpole set up accounts for students and you could save as little as 5 cents a week toward a bond. Bonds sold for $18.50 and were worth $25 when they matured. Everyone wanted to be involved and support the effort.”
- Barbara (Strickland) Clark
"Being in high school during the war years created some unique situations. I remember staying with friends most of the time when their were games or events at Vilas I wanted to attend. Gas was hard to find, and often my parents didn't have enough to travel back and forth from Marlow. I also remember going to Bascom's farm in Acworth on the school bus to help pick potatoes when there was a shortage of workers to help with the crops. Mr. Metcalf bet me a nickel I couldn't pick 25 pounds. I won! My high school years were a special time."
- Roberta (Monty) Bath
"I still take great pride in telling my grandchildren that in my junior year I was selected by the class of 1946 to lead them into the auditorium during their graduation. It was an honor I never expected to receive. When my family moved to Alstead in 1940, I was a part of the 5th grade class that started attending school at Vilas, so I had the advantage of spending many years at Vilas. Mrs. Mildred Moultrop was our teacher that first year."
- Margaret (Rhoades) Bost
“Early in the 1939-1940 school year the fifth and sixth grades in Alstead with their teacher, Mrs. Moultrop, moved into the Vilas High School building. I believe there were only three of us, Marion Clark, Gale Bath and myself who were in the fifth grade at that time, and we were still together when we graduated from Vilas in 1947. We all knew Mr. Metcalf hated gum chewing, and I still remember a ditty he recited at an assembly 60 years ago; The gum chewing girl and the cud chewing cow are so much alike yet different somehow. Oh, I have it now … it's the thoughtful expression on the face of the cow!”
- Raymond Monty
“Our senior year we knew we had a good basketball team, but Charlestown had beaten us badly TWICE during the regular season. We met them again in the semi-finals of the State Class S Championships, at the St. Mary's gym in Claremont, and beat them that time! We played Walpole in the finals, and before the game Dan reminded us that win or lose, this was the last game we would ever play together as a team, so we had better make the most of the opportunity. With three seconds left I had a foul shot to win. I was never so nervous in my life! The ball hit the back rim, spun around a couple times and dropped off, and we had to play an overtime! We won (the last Vilas team to do so.)
Editor's Note: Ray grew up in a family of 16 children, served with distinction in the Navy during WWII and raised four great children of his own. If THIS was the most nervous he has ever been, he must have REALLY been nervous!
- Herbert “Butch” Pratt
“During our senior year, on the first day of deer season, I played hooky for about the first two hours of school so I could hunt. During my first class, Dan called me to the office. I don't think anyone LIKED to be called there! He was sitting behind his desk when I went in, wearing his usual white shirt, coat and tie. He asked me why I was late (as if he didn't know) and I told him. He lectured me hard for what seemed an eternity, about how important my education was. I'll bet you can remember how red his face would get sometimes. At the end of the lecturing, he said, 'well, did you see anything?'. I told him I had not. As he stood up from behind his desk, he was still wearing his red and black checked hunting pants, and he said, 'me neither'! He was a truly amazing man. I will never forget him.”
Note: We reserve the right to edit for length and content.