1926 State Home
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


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Three boys and nine girls received
their diplomas at the graduating
exercises of the high school
at the State Orphan Home on Friday
evening. Miss Ruth Thomas
was the valedictorian of the class,
and Will T. Hurtt was awarded
second honors. For their application
these two young people
were awarded scholarships in a
number of Texas institutions of
higher learning. Miss Thomas re-
ceived nine such scholarships and
Mr. Hurtt received seven similar
The speaker for the occasion was
Professor J. W. Pender. Professor
of Government at the North Texas
State Teachers College at Denton.
Texas. Mr. Ponder is well
known not only in educational circles
of the state of Texas, but is
a leader in the activities of the
Masonic fraternity of the state. He
is well known in Corsicana.
Rev. Ilion T. Jones, pastor of
the Third Avenue Presbyterian
Church of Corsicana delivered the
invocation. A mixed chorus se-
lected from the Boys’ and Girls’
Glee Clubs rendered a selection.
“Come Where the Lilies Bloom”
under the direction of Miss Hallie
Sadler, head of the music depart-
ment of the Home. Mrs. E. P.
Zincke of Corsicana sang “The
Song of the Robin,” and was the
recipient of great applause.
The closing exercises of the
State Home school were excellently
arranged. Slayton Phelps, prin-
cipal of the high school presided.
The graduates marched to their
places upon the platform to the
strains of a processional played by
Miss Mattie Smith, instructor in
music. Each young lady carried a
bouquet of flowers—gifts of the
faculty. The two young people
who delivered addresses on behalf
of their classmates deported them-
selves excellently and were the
objects of much praise by the visit-
tors, friends and especially Professor
Pender. More than the ordinary
graduating impressiveness sur-
rounded the occasion. Of the
twelve receiving diplomas, some of
them had called the State Orphan
Home their own home for over
thirteen years. The closing mo-
ments became for them more than
any ordinary graduation exer-
cises. Some of them were stepping
from the home which had shelt-
ered them, and not only had given
them educational advantages, but
had taken the place in the best
manner possible of loved ones and
other advantages of which they had
been deprived. Such a tone was
evident among the graduates, their
faces showing their thoughts, and
their words as expressed through
the two of their members who ad-
dressed the gathered audience,
giving evidence of their thoughts
upon the occasion.
Will T Hurtt delivered the ad-
dress of salutation.
I present to you the senior class
of 1926. We have long awaited
this chance to stand before an ap-
preciative audience to receive the
reward for our labors or, as it
might be, for our shortcomings.
I am here to welcome you, on
behalf of the graduating class I
First, this occasion tonight. We
welcomed the chance to enter high
school. We have enjoyed our associations
with our teachers and
our many sessions in the class
rooms. We welcomed the algebra,
English and history; we welcomed
the many disappointments and the
many joys that arise from high
school. Then we welcomed the
privilege to work for the reward
that, will be, ours tonight. When
we gathered on this stage tonight I
realized that a vital change was
about to take place in our lives,
yet we welcome this change.
Next we welcome the opportunity
to face the open world. We
welcome it because of the flock
of friends that wish us well. Classmates,
our sun is sinking, in the
West but in the East we see the
moon riding in all her glory. The
bright sun of high school must give
way to the sober moon of a, higher
plain and a greater ambition. When
we quit this stage tonight we will be in
the open world that we welcome at this
Third we welcome the faculty.
Due praise cannot be given to the
teachers who have borne with us
so patiently. They have reproved
our misdemeanors and rejoiced in
our triumphs. We again welcome
the members of the high school
Fourth, we welcome the junior
class of ‘26. Next year they will
sit on the stage as the graduating
class. We extend a hearty welcome
to the class that is to fill our places
as seniors.
Next, we extend a welcome to
the Sophomore and Freshman
classes. These classes merit our
welcome because they are graduates
in the making. We extend our
welcome to the grammar school
faculty and the grammar school
students. A few short years, gram-
mar school students and you will
be the graduating class.
To the friends and strangers, in
our midst tonight, we offer the
hand of friendship and bid you
In welcoming tonight, we must
not forget the loved ones who have
rejoiced with our successes and
mourned at our failures. If you
are not here tonight, mother, father,
sister or brother, we welcome
you just the same. May God bless
all of your days. If you are present
tonight we open the doors of
our hearts and show you the
chamber of "love." Over the door
of this chamber you will see the
word "welcome."
Turning then to his classmates,
Mr. Hurtt said, "Be not too quick
to welcome anything which will degrade
the reputation of your fellow
man, or anything which is gossip
or will ruin the life of others.
Rather let us live so that we may
always welcome back memories of
this moment as we sit here in this
Miss Ruth Thomas in delivering
the Valedictory address took for
her subject: "Why We Call It.
Commencement." Her remarks
were in this manner.
Undoubtedly we have often wondered
why at the end of each
school year, when the graduates
have their closing exercises, we
call it commencement instead of
"finishment.” It does seem logical
that we could say the finishing
exercises of the senior class of '26,
as we really have completed our
high school course, but when we
get down to brass tacks and consider
the real meaning of the word we
are prevented from doing so. „
"Commencement," Webster says,
"Is the act, fact, or time of commencing;
the day when, or the ceremonies at which,
degrees are conferred by colleges and un-
iversities, upon students and others; it
is also applied to the graduating
academies and schools." Then he
tells us that to finish is to complete,
terminate, cease or reach the end of a
course, task or undertaking.” Now
I think we have a clearer conception
of the two words, commencement and
finishing, we can readily see the
distinction between them.
If we were to call the closing
exercises of each year the finishing
exercises instead of commencing
exercises as we customarily do
we would be expected to throw down
our pencils, get rid of all our books and
tablets, and consider the whole situation
completed. There would be no use of
attending college or continuing one’s
education, for has not Webster told us
that to finish a course is to come to an
But after all is said and done, we
call the graduating exercises that
long hoped for event of a student’s
life, commencement and why? Because
we are commencing. It is true that our
high school days are gone but our real life is
beginning. We are really expected to acc-
omplish something now. We are to cont-
inue our education; to extend our welcome
in life and Father Time to make us what
he thinks best.
We have reached the point of
starting and we can go out to seek
our fortune, see the world, meet
larger and more difficult obstacles,
face them, overpower them, learn
and be learned. And what a joy
and honor it is to know that you
are on the verge of commencing
life anew! What a consolation and
satisfaction it is to know that you
have applied yourself so well
while in school that you are to be
awarded a diploma! How many
little pleasures we all have had
during “school days.” We have
had temptations that we did not
overcome, examinations that seemed
unimportant and difficult, themes
that were too long, dry and boresome,
math problems that only the professor
could solve. All these little troubles
seemed like insurmountable obstacles
then but now we realize that they were
only streaks of sunshine that promise
happiness and brightness for the
future. Oh, what fun we have had
in our high school days. The many
jokes that were played on the students,
how the teachers would catch the boys
napping in class, the girls giggling,
sweethearts throwing notes and the like.
But alas, joy cannot go on forever.
There must be a turning point and the
seniors of ’26 have reached theirs now.
The time we dread most of all is upon
us—the time to say goodbye.
When one prepares to make a
long journey and to leave a home
that has sheltered and protected
him for many years, he experiences
a pang of sorrow mingled with a
feeling of pleasant anticipation.
We, before you tonight, will soon
begin a long journey, a journey
which involves disappointments
and temptations, which mingles
success and failure, which combines
joys and sorrows, and which
finally ends at the inevitable goal.
When our minds traverse the
past happy memories or carefree
joys and unrestraining youth
causes us to wonder what the future
holds for us. It is needless to say
that we have been happy here,
though at times we did not realize
it. We love State Home, for what
it is, for what it has done, and what
it shall do. We love its teachers,
its employees and its boys and girls
from the youngest to the oldest. It
is with sad hearts that we leave you.
We shall miss you more than you
can ever know.
Years from now when we have
succeeded or failed or become mere
human driftwood, think of the class
of ’26 and know that we remember
you and love you. Know too, that
we have endeavored especially
during our senior year to put
into the home and school the best
within us. We are going out now
with that same intention. We ap-
preciate too much the kind and
efficient instruction our loved
teachers have given us. We hope
that they will forget our mis-
demeanors in remembering our
regard for them.
“Good-bye!’ it shall not be

We hope again to meet;
But happy hours are ever short,
And days of youth are fleet.
“There’s much to learn and much
to do;
Oh may our aims be high,
And ever lead toward that bright
Where none shall say, “Good-bye!”
Mr. Pender was introduced by
Superintendent Donald McDonald
of the Home, Mr. McDonald re-
ferred to the speaker as one of the
leaders in educational affairs of
Texas and in a large degree respon-
sible for the excellent training
which graduates of the State
Teachers’ College at Denton are
Professor Pender commenced his
remarks by referring to a visit
which he made to Corsicana over
twenty-five years ago at the time
when this city was host to the
Texas State Teachers’ Association.
“At the time,” he said, “there
was arranged for us a trip of in-
section to this institution, and to
the sister institution nearby which
is fostered by that great fraternal
“As I drove into your campus
this evening,” he said, “my
thoughts traveled back to that
time and the question came to
mind, “why all of this expenditure
by the State of Texas? Why all
of this expenditure of money for
the erection of building where
you might sleep and eat? Why all
of this expenditure for teachers
and for your superintendent?”
“I think that the State of Texas
demands an answer to that question.
I think that the tax payers
of this great State have a right to
ask why all of this is being done
for you. I think that they have
the right to challenge the officer
of this State who are making
these expenditures of money to tell
why they do this.
“As these questions came to my
mind, there came also the answer.
The first answer I think is the
answer to that great question, “Am I
my brother’s keeper? Here you
children are fed and clothed and
maintained. Some of you have no
other home. Some of you have no
close loved ones. Here is this
wonderful institution the people of
Texas are giving you a home.
Here they are doing their utmost
to be to you a father and a mother,
and in some way to compensate
you for what you have lost. It is
because of the great heart of Texas
that you have these advantages.
“Governments are very careful
in their protection of industry.
They make special efforts to de-
velop it. They appropriate great
sums of money for the advance-
ment of the study of latest meth-
ods in agriculture. The have ex-
periment farms where they study
plants. They have great farms
where they breed stock to develop
a better breed. But all of these
activities are nothing as compared
with the development of the boys
and girls of our State. It is noth-
ing as compared with the care
and the culture of the boys and girls.
And I think tonight that the first great
answer to the question of why all
of this expenditure can be found
right here in this magnificent class
of graduates.
“Another answer to this great question
can be found right her in your superintendent
and your corps of teachers. I want to say
to you teachers that your place here isn’t
like that of the ordinary teacher. You are
taking the place of brother and sister,
father and mother to these boys and girls,
and if your hearts do not respond to that
call you have no place here. The child who
is deprived of loved ones must look
somewhere for that love and sympathy.
They look to you, and you must give
them more than just mental training;
you must give them something of the
This graduating class is the
answer to your efforts here. It is
worth all of your efforts to have
them go out, and take their places
as citizens of Texas. We talk a
great deal about the saving of
crops. There is nothing greater
than the saving of a soul or a life.
We talk of investing in bonds and
stocks. There is no investment
which will pay the returns as will
investments in the lives of young
people. So I take pride with you
a citizen of Texas n this great
work that you are doing. My
heart thrills with yours, and I can
truthfully say that as a taxpayer
and a citizen, I am satisfied."
Turning to the young graduates
near him. Professor Pender asked
them. "What is your response?
How will you meet the people of
Texas when you go out into the
world? What can Texas expect
of you as a citizen?
"First it depends upon your record.
1 do not mean the record
which you have left here in the
archives of this institution. I
mean the record which you have
left here upon the lives and the
minds of your associates. How
will you be regarded by those you
leave behind? Do you leave lessons
which will strengthen? Your
record will never be recorded on
the pages of history, but upon the
lives of others. Your answer then will
be to see that your record is clean.
“Again your answer will depend
upon the elements of character
which you carry with you from
this home. Reputation is a trans-
itory thing. What makes up your
answer will depend whether your
character stands for honesty and truth.
Your character will determine your
“Your answer will depend upon
your relation to the social, political
and moral questions which face
the people of this state. When
moral questions are faced, where
will you stand? Lives are not
changed in a day. You will
live today as you lived yesterday;
and you will live tomorrow as you
are living today. Your mind
stands ready to dominate your
will and your life.
Finally, your answer will depend
upon the spiritual influence which
you bear among your fellow citizens.
The greatest force in the world is
not money. It is not the power which
runs great engines. It is not found
in armed men. The greatest force
is found in spiritual character. It is
the influence which characterizes every
man who is worth while.
“What makes you a real man or
woman is not how much you know
but whether you possess a heart.
How shameful it is for man to
live on the animal plane. How
much better it is for mind to dom-
inate his body. But that mind is
best when it has spiritual force.
“My parting word to you is, let
your mind control your body, but
let that spirit of God have sway
over your mind. It is that spirit
of which the Master said, “If I go
not away, that Spirit will not come
The diplomas were then awarded
to the twelve graduates. The
diplomas were signed by the Gov-
ernor of the State, and H. H.
Harington, president of the Board of
Control. In addition the signature of
Superintendent McDonald and
Principal Phelps appeared upon them.
The following received diplomas:
Freddie Blackshear, Treacy Stanford,
Emma Jackson, Pearl McDaniel, Ruth
Thomas, Lily Haley, Will T. Hurtt, Claude Mader, Noble Oakley, Edyth Ginther,
Velma Oberlin, Frances Burke.

The Corsicana Daily Sun - Saturday, June 5, 1926
Submitted by Diane Richards



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