By now you may have read all about the buildings, the dates of additions, annexes and upgrades, and sports wins, but what about the people who attended or worked at Globe High School? Who were the heroes, the inspirations, the rags to riches stories, and those who gave back to the community? What did they do for fun, live through wars, hard times, and other challenges?
You’ve read the facts, now what about the stories? What follows are a smattering of snapshots, peepholes into the past, not complete by any means. But we hope this helps you get to know these GHS youngsters and mentors of yesteryear, traveling in your imagination to what it was like back then.
One of the earliest stories is about a teacher. Parke E. Vickrey became the Industrial Arts Teacher at Globe High School just after it opened. He lived in Mrs. Sobey’s boarding house at 300. E. Mesquite Street. Vickrey became the football coach, and then the basketball coach. He led that team to the state’s first championship in 1921, and another famous Tiger, Jess Hayes, was on that team. In a newspaper interview with Ted Kazy, Vickrey said, “We didn’t have a school bus, so we scrounged around for transportation. Safford was a six-hour trip from Globe, if we were lucky.” Vickrey gave up coaching in 1932, but he continued to teach for almost forty years. His wife Irene, the archaeologist who managed the reconstruction of Besh-ba-gowah, died young in 1941, and he never remarried.
John Youmans, Class of 1920, recalled some school memories for the GHS Wigwam staff as they prepared for their 75th anniversary. Youmans remembered blowing up the chemistry lab, and that he wore knickers (short pants that buckled around the knees) to school. His fondest memories were his involvement with the Boy Scouts, Globe Troop 1.
The following words by Jess G. Hayes, also Class of 1920, come from the files of the Gila County Museum:
“I was born in Globe, the eleventh child in a family of six boys and seven girls. During my high school career, I became interested in basketball, and it was my privilege to have been selected the first all-state center after Globe had won the first official interscholastic championship in 1921. I taught in Globe schools for twelve years, and in 1940 the good people of Gila County elected me their school superintendent and reelected me to this office time and time again.”
Like his coach Parke Vickrey, Hayes remembers that famous 1921 championship and the road trips in particular. In a 1956 narrative from the archives, Jess said they “spent more time traveling over rough and rugged roads, exhausted more energy fixing flat tires, and pushed our automobiles farther than any team in the state.”
Sports wasn’t everything at GHS, however. A 1928 graduate, Marie Hachtel, was a member of the “Uke Club.” There were many college fads in the Roaring Twenties, among them “coonskin coats” (bulky raccoon fur overcoats), and almost everyone played the Hawaiian ukulele. Singer Rudy Vallee and movie actors Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Clara Bow were their super stars back in the day.
Hachtel graduated from Northern Arizona State Teacher’s College and taught Commercial Work (Office Education) at GHS. According to the Globe Hall of Fame book for 2011-2013, at the beginning of the year she told her students, “this is about survival of the fittest!”
Horace “Hoss” Johnson’s story is an inspiration. A 1935 graduate, Johnson was the first black athlete at GHS, and he says he owes his success not to his coach, but to the principal, H. E. Stevenson. In a 1988 Arizona Silver Belt article, Johnson said, “He was a wonderful principal, a wonderful man.”
When Johnson was a junior, Stevenson wrote to his mother in Wyoming and convinced her to let her son stay in Globe and finish school, and then they would help get him placed in college. Even though Johnson had scholarship offers from several Big Ten schools, Stevenson convinced him to go to North Dakota, where they would let him play basketball.
Johnson said, “I was the only black male student at the school at the time, but I wasn’t treated differently from others. It seemed like everyone was my friend. We all were like one family.” Johnson flew with the famous Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, then taught and coached at schools in Oklahoma.
Probably the most famous Globe graduate, Rose Perica, was president of the student body in 1940. That was not her last political office, of course. She went on to be Arizona Governor Rose Mofford. Interviewed by the Wigwam staff in 1992, Rose said that her “thorough education, wonderful friends and a supportive family” all enhanced her successful career. She told the students to “stick to your goals, pay attention, and take advantage of any opportunity.”
In World War II, many GHS graduates became pilots. Why? According to Globe High School archivist Dee Hunt, it was one of few high schools in the nation that offered a course in aeronautics. Jim Harbison, Class of ’42, was assigned to a B17 bomber and flew 35 missions.
Bob White, Class of ’43, flew off to war as well, as a naval aviator. His claim to fame, however, is as the creator of the UofA mascot cartoon characters, Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat. In 1948, his senior year at UofA, he entered drawings of “Cactus and Cathy Cat.” The judges liked the artwork but not the name, and Bob’s cartoons have been the official UofA mascots for more than half a century.
Once the war was over, things calmed down and people returned to local interests. Hazel Jo Hardt, now Jo Foti, Class of ’55, is the daughter of longtime Arizona Senator Bill Hardt, who came to Globe with the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. Foti said that her favorite classes were chemistry from Mr. Stirewalt, science from Mrs. Fulton, and photography. Foti said she didn’t date much in high school, and her first beau played semi-pro baseball, first for Globe/Miami, and then for Phoenix. “Everyone, even the high school kids, went to the semi-pro games in those days,” Foti said. She remembers, “Surprisingly enough, when he asked my dad to borrow his car so we could go out, my ‘tough guy’ dad said yes – with a time limit, of course!”
Richard Goodwin, Class of ’63, said his fondest memories are the band trips, choral trips, and his fellow students in those groups. He said their music teacher, Mr. Nunimaker (Nunie), “taught from the heart.” When asked who he still keeps in touch with from GHS, he said, “everyone who is still above ground.” His story is another example of how world events affect high school students for the rest of their lives. He said that Kenny Green, killed in Viet Nam, is the person he misses the most.
Following Richard six years later, Class of ’69, is Globe High School’s most famous celebrity, “Wonder Woman” Lynda Carter. She’s still an incredibly busy actress/songwriter/singer, but it’s nice to know that she keeps in touch with her classmates through the “Growing up in Globe” Facebook page.
Tim Truett, Class of ’86, says that he is most proud of classmates Frank Holder, Larry Perino, and Jeannie Uhl. He said that Frank and Larry both earned their way into military academies, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. They both served their countries honorably and have achieved a great deal of success.
Truett said that “Jeannie was always about the nicest person any of us knew. She came back to serve our community and our school as a teacher and unfortunately was taken from us much too early. But she made a significant difference in the short time she was given.”
Throughout their history, GHS students have always been concerned about what was happening in the world. Truett remembers his AP calculus teacher wheeling in a TV and they all watched coverage of the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
When asked why GHS was the best place to go to school, Truett had a Goldilocks kind of explanation. He went to three different high schools: Bagdad, Arizona, 123 students “too small,” Mountain View (Mesa) 4,500 students “too big,” and then Globe, about 800 students at the time “just right.”
So that’s almost a hundred years of stories in a nutshell, and thanks to all of those who shared their stories. Tough times or not, GHS has a lot to be proud of, and there are special bonds among the alumni that last a lifetime and go back several generations, more so than most American cities. Regardless of who was “Most Likely to Succeed,” and who actually did, the real winners are the Globe High School alumni who made friends and stuck by them for one hundred years.
Jim Turner is an author, historian and speaker. His recent book, “Arizona: Celebration of the Grand Canyon State,” is a pictorial history of Arizona. He has contributed several historical pieces for Globe Miami Times.