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Photo by Wesley Walker

It’s not uncommon to find students with multiple family connections at Woodrow Wilson High School. For Bradley Sue Howell and her family, their Woodrow interconnectedness is a tangled web.

Bradley Sue Howell graduated from Woodrow in ’51. She began working as the librarian at Woodrow when her daughter, Jane Walker, was a senior. Walker graduated in ’82, and Howell continued to work as the librarian until 2006, when her grandson Wesley Walker graduated. “Wesley and I graduated together,” she says with a chuckle. Her granddaughter, Angela Hill, also graduated from Woodrow in 2004, and Hill is having a baby girl, Amelia, who is predestined to trickle through the Woodrow feeder pattern as well, which will give their family four generations of Woodrow Wildcats.

As a precursor to Woodrow’s 85th anniversary celebration, which is focused on remembering the various decades of the school’s history, Bradley Sue, Jane and Angela talk about their own memories of Woodrow Wilson.

What were y’all involved in?

BSH: I was in the symphony. We had a symphony back then, back in the ‘50s. I played violin. We played at Fair Park Auditorium. We were really big-time.

JW: I was a band nerd. I did band, orchestra and choir.

AH: I just did band and choir. I didn’t have time for orchestra. I was in the Woodrow musicals.

JW: She was involved in everything, and Wesley was the drum major.

Do you remember the musicals?

AH: I did “42nd Street,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Hello Dolly!” and “Oklahoma.”

BSH: Wesley did “Les Mis,” and then he was in the pit for that bad one.

JW: Oh yeah, it was a modern one, and that went against the grain of Woodrow.

BSH: Everybody complained in the whole community.

JW: So now they’re back to doing traditional musicals.

What did you eat for lunch?

BSH: Oh, I remember the lunchroom. It was divided. The boys ate on one side and the girls ate on the other, and the teachers’ table was right down the middle.

JW: Looking back, I always think how fattening my lunches were. We had real plates and real silverware when I went to lunch.

So, was there ever a point where people could go off campus for lunch?

BSH: Yeah, years ago. You had to have a permit saying that someone was at your house in order to do the lunch.

JW: There were still kids who would run, go get lunch, and come back.

BSH: When Jack in the Box came in.

AH: That’s the one food source around there.

BSH: A lot of them used to go to Dan’s, which is not there anymore. They had the best french fries.

JW: That was definitely there when I was in school.

BSH: And of course there was Kip’s Big Boy.

Did any historical events happen when you were at Woodrow?

JW: When President Reagan was shot at. I really didn’t think much about it, to tell you the truth. I just remember people talking about it.

AH: 9/11. Teachers tried to continue on with the day, but with that much chaos, in most classes we just watched the news and what was going on.

Do any memorable outfits come to mind?

JW: When I got my band jacket, I probably wore it every day to school.

BSH: All I remember is we couldn’t wear pants, even in cold weather. If you wore them in cold weather, you had to take them off and put them in your locker.

AH: My junior year they started some of the dress codes. Like you had to wear a belt, and your shirt tucked in, no flip flops. I think all those went out the door after a few months.

JW: They didn’t go to uniforms until both of my kids graduated. They both missed the Woodrow uniforms.

Anything you want to add?

BSH: Well, when I was in school, we didn’t have computers, so we had to run for classes. You had to figure out your schedule, and run to that class, and the teacher had 25 little tickets. If you were one of the first 25 in there, you got a ticket and you could stay in that class. Then when the bell rang, you had to run to the next one. If you ever got to a class that was full, you had to have an alternative because sometimes you weren’t fast enough to get across the building or something.

 

The 85th anniversary celebration will be held April 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit wwhsaa.org.


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