The facts about who saved Scott High SchoolWritten by Warren Woodberry | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Just the facts, ma’am.”
— Joe Friday, “Dragnet” 1951–59
— Warren Woodberry,
Scott High School, class of 1956
Those on the March 17 tour of the newly renovated, nearly 100-year-old Scott High School witnessed a reminder of how history can be left out or altered. The new principal of Scott began by asking those present, starting with the class of 1940, to raise their hand. Before they could be acknowledged, a voice rang out from the side of the room with the following question: “What about the class of 1930?” The voice belonged to Martin, the son of 93-year-old Doris Sing Hedler, who was in the class of 1936. Ms. Hedler was in the honor society and was the baccalaureate chairperson for 1936. When I interviewed her she described how the old school looked in her day and how thrilled she was that it was renovated, not torn down.
Here are some economic costs for 1936:
- Average cost of new house: $3,925.
- Average wages per year: $1,713.
- Cost of a gallon of gas: 10 cents.
- Average cost for renting a house: $24 per month
- One loaf of bread: 8 cents.
- One pound of hamburger meat: 12 cents.
- Studebaker car: $665.
- Ladies Swimsuit: $6.95.
Just as Ms. Hedler was almost overlooked before her son spoke out, it is important to speak out and acknowledge those who really led the fight to save Scott High School from the wrecking ball. It was brought to my attention that in various newspaper articles and statements, Scott alumni are often given the back seat or not mentioned at all in the history of the fight to save Scott. The members of the Scott Alumni Association, under former president Robert Davis and spurred by Coach Ben Williams, began the fight to save Scott from the wrecking ball. Others, including the Old West End Association and Save Our Scott, came on board at a later date and played an equal role in strengthening the Scott alumni fight to save the school. It was not house parties that saved Scott. It was attendance at meeting after meeting and constant correspondence and appeals to the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education, the mainstream media, the Ohio State Facility Commission, Joyce Barrett of Heritage Ohio, and many other supporters, politicians and Scott alumni.
Credit must be given to The Toledo Journal and its education writer, Bob Stiegel, who wrote stories while some other papers were negative about the value of saving Scott and those who fought this battle. Also, the role of former TPS board member Darlene Fisher can never be diminished in the eyes of the those who fought, as she was there from Day One. Although her name, and many others, are completely absent from some articles about who saved Scott High School, those involved know the valuable role she played. People have a right to their opinions of who saved Scott High School but they do not have a right to ignore the leadership of the Scott Alumni Association.
A little history: Once, the Ohio State Facility Commissioner, Michael Shoemaker, received letters from members of the Scott Alumni Association (all of which I have archived) concerning their efforts to save Scott. A visit was arranged through TPS for him to visit Scott. After the building inspection, Mr. Shoemaker declared the building sound and strong, and stated that his commission would allow for renovation if the additional funds could be found.
The TPS board, under then-president Steve Steel, the Scott Alumni Association under president Robert Davis, and the public united behind the levy, which resulted in the $42 million renovation of Scott High School. Saving Scott resulted in saving the oldest high school in Toledo, recognition by historic preservationists throughout the United States, and the tradition of the nearly 100-year-old school was allowed to continue into history. Now the family legacy can continue. Also making history is Treva Jeffries, Scott’s first African-American principal, which would not have happened without the struggle waged by the Scott Alumni Association. Like the “Trail of Tears,” there are two sides or more to every story, but the fact of who lead the fight to save Scott only has one side and that story can be found in the body of this column.
On March 13, Toledo City Council recognized members of the Scott Alumni Association and its supporters who fought to save Scott by issuing a proclamation by City Councilman Tyrone Riley, a member of the Scott Alumni Association.
“Once a Bulldog — Always a Bulldog.”
“Just the facts, ma’am.”
Write to community activist Warren Woodberry at email@example.com.