50th Anniversary

Photo strip of yearbook photos.

Of the 1959 graduates profiled here, Dave Neise is the only one who went to college, though he says most of his friends continued their education. He attended Westminster University and later the University of Missouri for a graduate program in journalism. Upon finishing, he joined the Army where he served in the communications division, eventually running the Armed Forces Radio Network in France. Since then, he’s been in sales--for radio, publishing and supplies businesses. Then and now, he likes to enjoy life. “Let us have wine, women, mirth and laughter” was Dave Neise’s quote in his senior yearbook.

The first senior class president, Dave was also voted “best-dressed.” “It was easier to get involved in activities and meet people,” he says, “because everyone was new to Parkway High School.” He played on the varsity football and basketball teams, worked on the school newspaper and participated in the chorus and concert choir. Dave was also voted king of the junior prom.

Margaret (Guelbert) Kern remembers what a close group the class of 1959 was. “Like a family,” she says.

Margie exceled in such a group. She participated in the play committee, the lunch committee, the home economics club and the commercial club, which developed business leadership, encouraged improvement in scholarship and promoted school loyalty. In her senior yearbook, Margie’s quote was “I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini.”

Despite her achievements, Margie never really considered college.

“I wanted to pursue a job,” she says. “College was not talked about much, and many students didn’t even consider it an option.” She remembers only a few girls in the class attended college.

Many, like Margie, began working after graduation. Marrying at age 20, Margie had her first baby soon after, and ten years later, her second. In between raising her children, she worked for 28 years at a local bank. Margie now spends her time enjoying her grandchildren, traveling and shopping.

One of Margie’s “coldest” memories of Parkway, she adds, is sitting in class the first year with her winter coat on. The classrooms that November and December did not yet have windows. Students walked from class to class outdoors on unfinished sidewalks with raised boards that allowed them to get from place to place.

Gerard Froesel knows a lot about busing. He experienced it first-hand, as a freshman and sophomore, in Parkway in the mid 1950s. The district had not yet completed its new high school, so Gerard and other Parkway students were bused to Maplewood High School to attend classes until the new Parkway High School was finished in 1957.

By the time Gerard arrived at the completed Parkway High School his junior year, he discovered something else. His new high school had no cafeteria. Enterprising as always, he and a group of other juniors set up tables and sold lunch sandwiches daily to other students, using the money as a fundraiser for the following year’s first senior class trip. Gerard was among the 79 seniors who took a 20-hour train ride to Washington, D.C. in March of 1959. The five-day trip cost approximately $14 per person.

Gerard didn’t consider college after graduation because he knew he would work for his father in the family business. When that closed, Gerard, then 25, opened Froesel Tire Service, a company he still owns and operates today. To this day, his senior yearbook quote does him justice: “Just being natural is his specialty.”

Today's 2004 graduates are intent on college, and they put a lot of planning into selecting the one that promises a fulfilling career. Take Jane Rho of West High, for instance. She applied to a number of schools during her college-search process and went on two campus visits before settling on the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she‘ll study communications and film/television this fall. Ultimately she hopes to work behind the scenes in film and television.

Jane says her radio and television class at West High helped spark her interest in her future career. She also spent time in the school’s journalism/yearbook room, which contains 20 computers for students’ use, and participated in Quill and Scroll. A well-rounded student, she also took Modern European History and Guitar at West High, made the National Honor Society, ran cross country and played soccer.

She says that almost everybody she knows is planning on attending college.

Tom Clark of West High shares Jane‘s sentiments. He’ll attend Truman State University in the fall and study chemistry. After college, he wants to be either a teacher or an FBI agent.

Tom says his interest in chemistry was inspired by his West High teachers, as well as the experiences he had working in the school’s science labs. He also enjoyed taking classes such as C++ Programming, Drafting, and Power, Energy & Transportation.

Tom played on the school’s football team for four years. His experiences include summer camps, including one for strength and conditioning. The team also spent time together at a ropes course and visited the University of Illinois campus for a special camp. The players benefited from a large weight room featuring two universal gyms, free weights, exercise bikes and more. The weight room is available to all students and teams at the school.

Tom’s other activities included stints on the volleyball and track teams, as well as membership in the drama club and the technology students association. He recently served as the announcer for the prom court at West High’s prom at America’s Center.