November 23, 2011

A.B. Davis Graduation - 1958

Photo Caption:

Commencement speakers at the 81st graduation of Davis High School last night pose with Dr. Jordan L. Larson, superintendent of schools, and Dr. Howard G. Spalding, principal, before the ceremonies at Wood Auditorium. Jeffrey Gottlieb, left, highest ranking student in the class of 430, spoke on "Education for the Scientific Age - the Sciences." At right, Chichi Davis chose as her topic, "Education for the Scientific Age - The Humanities." - Schnoor Studio Photo.


Balance in Education
Davis Graduation Theme

Additional emphasis must be laid on the teaching of the sciences and the humanities, two student speakers of the 81st commencement exercises of Davis High School said last night.

The graduation, at which 430 seniors were awarded diplomas, took place in Wood Auditorium.

In a speech entitled "Education for the Scientific Age - The Sciences," Jeffrey Gottlieb, highest ranking student in the class, declared: "Education - particularly science education - in this country must be improved to meet the challenges of the missile age lest we fall behind in the technological race."

Chi chi Davis, the second speaker, warned that the humanities must hold equal rank with the sciences lest we have an "unbalanced society." Her speech was entitled "Education for the Scientific Age - The Humanities."

Dr. Howard G. Spalding, principal, awarded prizes and scholarships. He presented the class to Dr. Jordan L. Larson, superintendent of school, who in turn presented it to the president of the Board of Education, Sanford Solender.

Trustees Confer Diplomas
Mr. Solender and Carl C. Torisi, vice president of the board, conferred the diplomas.

Donald W. Hastings, class president, delivered the salutatory address.

The invocation was given by the Rev. Wilfried C.H. Tappert, minister of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, The Rev. John J. Coffey, pastor of St. Ursula's Church pronounced the benediction.

In his speech, Gottlieb said educators seemed agreed that the present U.S. educational system must be reappraised with one aim in view, "the stressing of science education."

In line with this, he offered a number of recommendations.

The youth recommended that the "productivity" of the American educational system be increased. Ways, he said, should be found "to give more and better education to more students without a direct corresponding increase in the size of our teaching force and school budgets."

Asks Use of TV

He suggested expanded use of educational television to supplement present classroom instruction. Television might take the most extensive facilities and the best teachers available to students in even the oldest and smallest of schools, he said.

He also recommended that the trend by which "soft courses" are replacing "solid basic courses such as mathematics and science" be stopped. Courses such as "life adjustment" are "fine - except when they detract from the more necessary fundamental subjects," he said.

Mr. Gottlieb further suggested that the prestige of the best mathematics and science students be increased to encourage more persons to enter these fields. "We must make them the social equals of the football and basketball stars," he said. And he praised the science fair held recently in White Plains, and sponsored jointly by the Westchester Country Publishers and New York University, as a step in this direction.

Educational standards must also be raised, he said, and students motivated toward mathematics and science in elementary school.

Educators Guide Future.

"There is still much hard work to be done as we encounter the many challenges of the missile age," he concluded. "And much of the responsibility for our future success or failure rests with our educators. The destiny of the United States is largely in their hands - to shatter or to shape."

In her speech, Miss Davis asserted, "We owe it to ourselves to raise scientific education to its zenith. We realize its importance but we must also realize that the humanities cannot be overlooked. In emphasizing the important of subjects as literature, art, music, language and history, she added:

"Students and educators alike have heard the outcry of scientists and rushed blindly ahead, taking any math or science courses open to them. If this one-sided education continues we will produce an over-specialized generation. The people will have less awareness of beauty and the finer things in life. We shall have a primarily materialistic society. Now we want a society in which the artists, musicians, authors and poets play an insignificant role? And yet if we continue our present plan we face the possibility.

'Rather than place the emphasis solely on scientific education, we must place more emphasis on education in general."

Education Begins at Home

Miss Davis said that a proper education in the humanities should begin in the home. A background in humanities will add to the personality and enjoyment of both those who end their education in high school and those who go on to college, she said.

"Now we have finally been awakened to the need for the sciences," she concluded, we must remain awake to the necessity for the humanities. We must avoid an unbalanced society. We must have one in which the sciences and the humanities hold equal and respected positions."

Both speakers were chosen earlier by the faculty in a competition among high ranking seniors.

A trombone solo, the "Largo" from Handel's Xerxes" was played by Perry Martin. The high school orchestra played the processional, the "Coronation March" by Meyerbeer, and the recessional, the "Rakocsy March" by Berlioz.

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