2009-09-30 / Columns

Moments and Memories of Whitesburg High School

By BENNETT WELCH

This is your life Mr. John Preston

Mr. John Preston was born in Martin County in 1913, the fifth child in a family of six. His father died when he was nine years of age, leaving six children under 14 years old. For the family, life was a struggle in a poor county that had no coal mines, no gas wells, no railroads and no logging operations.

He learned very early that he had to make a little money so he hulled and dried black walnuts, picked up apples, dug May Apple roots, ginseng roots, etc., for money for his own clothing and school supplies.

He graduated from Inez Grade School and Sheldon Clarke High School being valedictorian of his class. Someone (he never knew who) gave him a summer job through a government employment program.

He managed to save $150 and with that money and a workship to Pikeville College, he was able to begin his college life.

There his work day started at 4 a.m. as he had to fire the coal furnaces and cook stoves. He cleaned the cafeteria, mopped, washed dishes and anything else the four cooks demanded, and did this three times a day, then had to get to class on time (if he ran fast enough). His day ended at 11:30 p.m. when he locked the outside door to the dormitory.

After that one year, he dropped out of school and got any odd job he could find. At night, he attended Mayo Vocational School at Paintsville and took welding, carpentry, drafting and electricity. During this time, he also taught three years in the Martin County School System.

When World War II was imminent, he went to a powder plant in Radford, Va. then later to Newport News ship building where he worked until after war's end.

Then he entered Morehead State College where he received his B.S. degree in industrial arts with minors in science, history and drafting.

His next teaching was in Floyd County in industrial arts with one-half day in Martin and the other halfday in Maytown.

After his marriage, he moved to Letcher County and taught three years at Whitco Grade School. He then applied to then Superintendent Dave L. Craft for an industrial arts job in Whitesburg which they had never had. With the promise of a thousand dollars, he bought what necessary equipment he could. John taught at WHS for the next 23 years, adding equipment as money became available.

When the new vocational school opened, he spent the last seven years teaching carpentry.

After his teaching days ended, John became a farmer and gardener and passed away in 2003 at the age of 90.

Mr. Preston was honored for his many years of service to Whitesburg High School when the 1968 Yellow Jacket staff dedicated the yearbook to him in the following: ''68 Is Dedicated to John Preston. There are few who possess such talent for building, whether it be building character, enthusiasm, ideals and principles, leadership, frameworks for the junior-senior proms, electrical and mechanical gadgets that really function, stages for festivals, or just instilling the desire to be better men and women who will in turn make a better W.H.S. and a better nation. We consider you, Mr. Preston, a master craftsman, a jack of all trades.

(Information for this article was provided by Mrs. Ella Preston.)

Senior honors 1968

Miss WHS-Vanessa Campbell; Mr. WHS-Jay Fields; Miss Yellowjacket- Janie Adams; Most Talented Linda Nease, Shelby Adams; Most Popular- Olivia Maggard, Chealis Hammond; Cutest Couple- Margaret Hammonds, Roger Baker; Wittiest- Camille Combs, Mike Burkich; Best School Spirit- Eula Boggs, Doyle Fields; Most Likely to Succeed- Patsy Day, Ben Wright; Most Beautiful-Leigh Lewis, Most Handsome-Bruce Brown; Ring Dance King and Queen-Teresa Blair, Chealis Hammond; Best Dressed- Patsy Banks, Johnny Adams; Most Studious-Beatrice Day, John Elliot; Best Personality Janie Adams, Joe Reynolds; Forest Conservation Essay-Adrian Wright; First Place Magazine Sales- Jeff Hunsucker; Second Place Magazine Sales-Leigh Lewis; Handicapped Essay- Olivia Maggard. Senior. Class Officers-President- Doyle Fields, Vice-President Roger Baker, Secretary Leigh Lewis, Treas urer-Margaret Hammonds; Mr. Athletes- Jack Cox, Doyle Fields; Homecoming Queen-Margaret Hammonds; Junior Candidate-Mabel Faye Bentley, Sophomore Candidate Zelma Adams, Freshman Candidate-Mary Beth Hughes.

1968 senior awards

presented

Whitesburg High School seniors received a variety of awards at annual class day exercises.

John Elliott, valedictorian, received an award from the University of Kentucky alumni association; Beatrice Day, the salutatorian, received an award from Eastern Kentucky University.

J. M. Burkich, principal, presented awards to the other students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. Those were Linda Kay Craft, Adrian Wright, Olivia Maggard, Barbara Poloskey, Evelyn Fields, Benjamin F. Wright Jr., Gregory Fields, Donelda Jo Ison, Betty Adams, Saranell Caudill, Patsy Day, Norma Sue Craft, Jeff Hunsucker, Terry Day and Janie Adams.

The Harris Award and the Dugan Award were presented to Jack Kelson Cox and Patsy Day for outstanding qualities of character and leadership.

Other awards were presented to those students who had excelled in a particular field of study or who had given outstanding performances in co-curricular activities. Both the English and physical science awards went to John Elliott; the math and Best Salesman awards were won by Jeff Hunsucker; Adrian Wright received the social studies award, the outstanding girl in physical education, and the Soil Conservation Essay award; industrial arts, Edgar Shelton; electricity, Melvin Trout; typing II, Glen Raleigh; shorthand II, Saranell Caudill; journalism, Kay Craft; Outstanding Football Player, Mike Burkich; Outstanding Athlete, Jack Cox; Outstanding Boy in physical education, Larry Hogg, biological science, Terry Day, editor of the annual and the Betty Crocker Home Economics award, Barbara Poloskey; speech, Aretta Profitt; music, Roger Dale Blair; French, Beatrice Day; art, Shelby Adams; physical science and home economics, Patsy Day; library, Saundra Caudill; baseball, Doug Moncrief.

Yellow Jacket football

record 1967-68.

WHS 21-Belfry-27; WHS 53-Cawood-0; WHS 12- Wheelwright 6; WHS 18- Cumberland -0; WHS 20- Hazard-0; WHS 32-M.C. Napier-6; WHS 20-Jenkins- 18; WHS 33-Fleming-Neon- 0; WHS 13-Prestonsburg 26; WHS 35-Elkhorn City-6. The team Captains were: Jack K. Cox, Doyle Fields, Sam Frazier, and Chealis Hammond.

The drum majorette was Clayshan Caudill. Majorettes were Karen Adams, Janice Adams, Barbara Hunsaker, and Karen Kincer.

Cheerleaders were Theresa Moore, Margaret Hammonds, Olivia Maggard, Eula Boggs, and Mabel Bentley. B-team cheerleaders were Medra Blair, Sandra Banks, Leanna Short, Patsy Mullins and Becky Collins.

The clubs and their sponsors were: French Club-Mrs. Ann Banks; Folk Dancing Club-Mr. Dan Polly; Junior Science Club- Mr. Dan Polly; Pathfinder Club-Mr. Jackson Banks; Speech Club-Miss Cleo Stamper; Hi-Y Club-Mr. R.T. Holbrook; F.H.A. Club-Mrs. Susan Thomas, Math Club- Mr. Jimmy Arthur; Science Club-Mr. Edgar Banks; D.E. Club-Mr. Jim Estep; Bible Club-Mrs. Mary Emma Lewis; Tri-Hi-Y Club-Mrs. Loretta Arthur; F.T.A. Club- Mr. Jimmy Arthur; W Club- Mr. Gerald Frazier; Beta Club-Mrs. Sue Morrow; The Black Kat Staff-Mr. Carl B. Banks; Student Council- Mrs. Betty Horn.

Note: Anyone having copies of the Black Kat or pictures pertaining to WHS and would like to share them with our readers, please contact me at 606- 633-5966 or e-mail at bennett.welch@gmail.com.

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