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Memories of Derby High School - 1940's

Catherine and Jack Kelleher

Our Derby High School days began in Sept. 1942 assembled in the auditorium with Dr. Higgins (Chief, as we called him when he wasn't listening) who handed us our course cards and told us what the next 4 years would be like with humor injected here and there and dismissed us. After a few days we found our classrooms (and on time), met our new and old classmates and settled in, becoming a part of this new organization, the Derby High School.

Our first social event was the Freshman Social hosted by the Juniors, with entertainment, dancing, etc. We thought it was great and we were really growing up. The football team won just 1 game that year, but it was against Shelton, so you know what a victory that was. WWII was going on and 2 teachers, Mr. Bush an Mr. Coss were called into service.

We returned to school in Sept 1943, not bashful freshmen but big intelligent sophomores. Our prime interest was football as we were well represented by Bob Ambrisco, Jack Nolan, Jack Kelleher, Fred DiSanto and Nini Gaetano. The team had tough going but put in fine performances & good fighting spirit. Basketball beckoned to several in our clas who turned in some good playing while the rest of us shouted ourselves horse. It was during this year that Richard Tobin announced his impending retirement as Superintendent and the "Chief" also decided to leave DHS. He was well liked by all and we hated to see him go.

We started the year with a new principal, Mr. Dan Heffernan and Dr. O'Hara as our new superintendent to teach mechanical drawing and we welcomed Mr. Sheehan as the new Chemistry and Physics teacher.

The class put on the annual Junior play directed by Ms. Angeline Vitali and it was very good. By late winter the basketball team after a very successful season was invited to play in the CIAC Tournament at the Payne Whitney gym at Yale.

Now here at last, Sept. 1945 and we are seniors. This was to be the first year in school with the world at peace and it was a great feeling. However some of our class were already in the service and could not physicaly graduate with us. The Senior Play, "Seventeen" was presented and directed by Miss Louisa Baker. Now all that remained was Baccalauret Services, Class Night, Graduation and The Prom.

As the end of our history is written, we thanked our principal and teachers for their kindness, sincere advice and guidance. We hoped that as future citizens of Derby or any other community, we would take our place in society and prove their efforts had not been in vain.

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