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Newark Life

Looking back at high school days

May 03, 2016 01:21PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Pretty much everyone looks back at high school as the good old days, so it's interesting to see how many good old days have been part of Newark High School since its founding in 1893. The Newark History Museum has opened a new exhibit of photos and objects from the school's past that will spark a few flashbacks for visitors.

Much of the material goes way back to the roots of the institution, which started at 83 E. Main St. in Newark, attended by students until 1898, when older students moved to the Academy Building on Main Street. From 1925 to 1955, the high school was housed in the building that would later become the middle school, on Academy Street. As Newark grew, however, a new location was needed, so property was purchased in 1953 for a new building, which is where the school now stands.

The current location – with expansions through the years – held its first full day of classes in 1955. There's a timeline in the exhibit that shows how construction progressed, and the final cost of $3,532,312.24.

Anyone who attended Newark High in the 1970s will immediately recognize the vintage desk with its attached chair, and you can sit down and recall just how uncomfortable the chairs really were. You can also flip through the history textbook on the desk and see if you remember things like the Louisiana Purchase.

Going way back, there's a framed diploma from 1910, when the school was in the Academy Building. There's a hard leather football helmet that looks like it's been through a war, and some of the earliest copies of the Yellowjacket Buzz, the student newspaper that started publication in 1935. There are Krawen yearbooks (Newark cleverly spelled backwards) from 1941 and 2005, and textbooks that will bring back memories, good or bad.

In many ways, it's the faces of former students that are the most interesting. You can see a photo of the 1926-27 Women's Basketball Team, looking rather dour in their old-fashioned uniforms, and a photo of the Women's Gymnastics Team from the 1940s as they hold their positions for the photographer.

In a class photo from 1930, the students are dressed in suits or dresses with fashionable cloche hats, and every student in the photo is identified.

Band students will enjoy seeing the mace carried by the drum major from 1941 to 1946, along with photos of the band, circa 1938, whose lack of uniforms is rather intriguing. More recent items include a program from the Elizabethan Rout, an ambitious evening of Renaissance music and feasting that survived at the school from 1970 to 1988.

The high school display is a great addition to the museum's other exhibits, which cover the Curtis Paper Company, the development of Gore-Tex, the Chrysler plant, local banking and the fire company, along with items from family-owned businesses that are shown in an antique glass cabinet that used to hold baked treats in Bing's Bakery.

A recent addition is the sash worn by the first Miss Delaware, Victoria George Lusardi, in 1933. She went on to open the landmark Angie's Sub Shop in the 1940s.

The volunteer guides at the museum are happy to chat about Newark history, and given the tightly-knit nature of the town, they will probably know someone in your family. The guide who met me just happened to be the daughter of my first-grade teacher at Newark Elementary School, a person I hadn't thought of in many, many decades. But I was glad to catch up, and glad to see Newark High School spotlighted as a part of history.

The Newark History Museum is in the old train station at 429 S. College Ave., Newark. It is open on Sunday afternoons. Call 302-224-2408 or visit

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