1940—Willshire High School Excels in Basketball and Academics

Willshire High School was known for its successful basketball teams. They even traveled to state tournaments several times. And the students were smart, too!

The following is an article about the celebration banquet held for the members of the Willshire Bearcats basketball team who played at the state basketball tournament in Columbus, Ohio, on 15 March 1940. Unfortunately they lost that game to New Carlisle 36-32. They had advanced to the second-round of the final by beating Marysville 29-21 the day before. [1]

Willshire High School, October 1917.

Willshire High School, October 1917.

Basketball Boys Honored at Banquet—
Approximately 175 patrons, students, and townspeople attended the banquet held last Wednesday evening in the school auditorium to honor Coach Lawrence Johnson and the boys of his 1939-40 basketball squad.

Coach Burl Friddle of Fort Wayne South High School delivered the principal address of the evening. He spoke of the value of an athletic program to a boy, now and in later years.

Mr. Johnson spoke briefly and presented the individual trophies which are given to each boy who takes part in a state tournament. Those receiving trophies were Donald Dellinger, Robert Myers, LaVerne Ripley, and Eugene Duff, seniors; Glenn Miller, Kent Geisler, Donald Painter, Jack Ross and Eben Alspaugh, juniors; and Henry Schumm, sophomore. LaVerne Stetler, a senior who was unable to go to the state contest due to an injury received during the county tournament, was awarded a gold basketball by the school.

Music consisted of congregational singing led by Mr. Targett, with Mrs. William Hoffer as accompanist; a high school girls’ sextette; vocal solos by Florence Dull; and an instrumental solo by Albert Wyer.

The four cheerleaders, Ruth Kuhn, LaFern Bollenbacher, Joyce Smith and Norma Jean Carr were also guests at the banquet. Members of the girls’ basketball squad were given complimentary tickets due to the thoughtfulness of the Band Mothers’ Organization, who cooked and served the meal. Mrs. Floyd Strickler is president of the Band Mothers.

The next column of that same paper reported how well Willshire High School students performed on the County Tests. Two of my close relatives were among those mentioned—two aunts, Emiline and Helen Miller, my dad’s sisters. Emiline placed first in Latin II and Helen placed third in bookkeeping. And of course all of the Schumms mentioned are relatives, too.

Emiline (Miller) Henkle

Emiline (Miller) Henkle

Willshire Pupils Rank High in County Tests—
Eight Willshire High School students, by virtue of winning first or second places in the county by elimination tests held last Friday, will be among those who represent Van Wert county at the district Scholarship Tests at Bowling Green on Saturday, May 4.

Those who placed in the county contest were: Milton Schumm, first in chemistry; Ruth Alspaugh, first in Latin I; Emiline Miller, first in Latin II; Twyla Pifer, first in Algebra; Edith Heacock, first in Typing; Lola Schumm, second in Shorthand II; Ellen Schumm, second in English 9; and Albert Wyer, second in English II.

The way Willshire students ranked in the various tests follows.

World History: Harriet Detter, third; Donna Mae Stetler, ninth.
American History: Lois King, third; Eileen Hoblet, tenth.
Plane Geometry: Floyd Andress, third; William Chapman, fourth.
Algebra: Twyla Pifer, first; M. Alspaugh, fifth.
Biology: Eugene Wolfe, eighth.
Chemistry: Milton Schumm, first; Nancy Heacock, fourth.
General Science: Dick Cowan, ninth; Vera Andress, thirteenth.
Latin I: Ruth Alspaugh, first; Carl Ripley.
Latin II: Emilene Miller, first; Marjorie Pifer.
English 9: Ellen Schumm, second; William Stauton, fifth.
English 10: Donald Hoblet, sixth; Alice Bebout, eighth.
English 11: Albert Wyer, second; Kent Geisler, fourteenth.
English 12: Eugene Duff, eighth.
Typing 1: Edith Heacock, first.
Shorthand 2: Lola Schumm, second; Catherine Leininger, third.
Shorthand 1: Ruth Anna Voltz, third.
Bookkeeping: Helen Miller, third; Alice Handwerk, fourth. [2]

Helen (Miller) Linn

Helen (Miller) Linn

Impressive! Especially when I remember how lost I was in Latin II.


[1] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 21 March 1940, p.1.

[2] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 11 April 1940, p.1.

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