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School song still lingers in memory 65 years later

More than 100 members of the LDS High School class of 1931 stood and sang their school song as if they had just graduated yesterday during a recent reunion.

After 65 years, they still remembered the words - a sign of their spirit for the LDS school which closed the year they graduated when an additional public school was built in Salt Lake City.Originally known as the Salt Lake Stake Academy, the private school opened in 1886 and was located on what is now the administration block of the Church in downtown Salt Lake City. Its campus included the Young Building, Barratt Hall, the Business College Building and the "S" (Smith Memorial) Building. A football field was located were the Church Office Building now stands. Students had access to facilities at Deseret Gymnasium, then also located on the block, and ate their lunch at the Lion House.

Former students or graduates of LDS High include President Gordon B. Hinckley, who graduated in 1928; the late George W. Romney, who was governor of Michigan and U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development; the late Alexander Schreiner, former Tabernacle organist; and the late Elder Marvin J. Ashton and the late Elder Bruce R. McConkie, both of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Many students from earlier graduating classes or who were juniors when the school closed also attended the class of 1931 reunion. The former LDS High students studied old high school year books, looked at previous reunion invitations and photographs and asked each other about classmates they had seen since graduation. They also recalled their high school days.

Harold Bennett, 95, graduated from LDS High in 1917. "Indeed, I do remember high school," he said. "It was a very enjoyable part of my life."

Margaret Smyth Smith said she will never forget high school. It isn't surprising, she added, that many of her 323 classmates still remember their school song - "To our dear Gold and Blue we ever will be true, Hip Hurray! for the Gold and Blue!" - and could sing it with such vigor.

"We used to sing the school song so much," said Sister Smith, who graduated from the school in 1931. "I remember on Founders Day we would sing it as we walked down Main Street carrying blue and yellow balloons."

Other former students talked about parades, physical education and religion classes. Many recalled dissecting frogs, participating on athletic teams, living through the Depression and"watching people go by" from the front of ZCMI Department Store after school. Some remembered the times they got into mischief.

John K. Fetzer, reunion chairman, said high school pep rallies were what he remembered most.

"They were always in Barratt Hall. Boy, we made that building shake. . . After the pep rally we would go to the front lawn, walking along in single file and putting our hands on the person's shoulders before us, all yelling the school yells."

Then, Brother Fetzer explained, the pep rally "snake" walk through the then-Hotel Utah lobby.

"We would enter the west door of Hotel Utah, yelling as we went through the lobby," he recalled. "The hotel manager didn't appreciate it much. We always joked that is why they shut the school down."

Brother Fetzer said a lot of people were sad when the school - which emphasized religion in secular learning similar to the way BYU does now - closed. Most the students, who had not graduated, finished their education at the then new South High School on 1575 South State Street.

Sister Smith said she never understood why the school closed.

She and her husband, Enoch, met and began dating while attending LDS High. Sister Smith, who spoke of the school with emotion, remembers wonderful days and teachers at the private high school.

"I remember once I told the gym teacher, Mr. North, `I don't want to stay in today, let's all take a walk,' " she said, thinking back to one of the first days of May 1931. "We did take that walk. Oh, that was a glorious day."

Sister Smith also talked about weekly devotionals as "happy times."

Royden G. Derrick, an emeritus General Authority and a member of what would have been LDS High's class of 1932, spoke about weekly devotionals during the program at the reunion.

The faculty members, seated on the stage, watched the students, who sat in assigned seats, during the devotionals which occurred every Tuesday. "If your seat was empty, you had better have a good excuse or you were in trouble," Elder Derrick said.

He explained that while attending LDS High, students learned both gospel principles and academic knowledge.

"We were acquainted with nearly every student on campus," he remembered. "The spirit in school was uplifting. Excellent faculty really cared about every student."

Before standing with the other former students to sing his high school song, Elder Derrick concluded, "The marvelous LDS High School gave us a good start and directed us down the right road."

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