Sunday, December 24, 2017

Chariton Junior College & its freshmen, 1937-1938

This photo turned up last week as I was spending a few hours cataloging memorabilia related to Chariton High School graduating classes of the 1930s. The subjects are members of the 1937-38 Chariton Junior College freshman class and the photo was taken for the 1938 "Charitonian" yearbook.

While copies of old yearbooks survive, and we have many of them at the museum, the photos taken professionally for them rarely did. Few prints were made and a majority of those eventually were thrown away. So this is kind of a rarity.

The Chariton Junior College program enrolled its first students during September of 1927, ten years before this photo was taken. Fully accredited by the state, it gave students who hoped to earn college degrees an opportunity to complete their freshman and sophomore years inexpensively while, for the most part, living at home. Credits earned in Chariton then would transfer to any public or private college or university in the state.

Tuition for those first junior college students was $50 per semester, payable in advance. Thirty were enrolled in 1927, bringing total enrollment in the Chariton School District to 1,369 (including 457 in the high school, where junior college classes were held).

The program continued for 16 years and in general prospered before it became a casualty of World War II. The last class, of 1942-43, was made up of seven students, all women. Most eligible young men had gone to war and many of the young women who might have enrolled also had enlisted or taken jobs in war-related industries.

The program was discontinued with a pledge from the state that it could resume after the war, but when peace returned various issues prevented that from happening. By 1946-47, the high school building was full and overflowing --- no room for junior college students. The school administration explored the possibility of erecting temporary structures --- surplus Quonset huts, for example. The state said "no." In addition, the state now required that junior college instructors hold master's degrees. That proved to be a recruiting challenge; Chariton Junior College did not survive the war.


The scholars pictured here are (first row from left) Stanley Zahller, Bob L. Stewart. Bob J. Straup, Burdette Dunshee, Roderic Turbot,  Glenn Carlson, Alfred Agan and Jack E. Miller; (second row from left) Gwen Evans, Catherine Rosa, Arlene Strandberg, Audrey B. Cunningham, Donald Frederick Fuller, Colene Baker, Mary Frances Hunter, Louise Van Dyke and Ruth Isenberger; and (third row from left) Paul Pastovich, Don Glasgow, David Martin, Clair M. Gurwell, Harold Kendall, William H. Hamilton, Robert Trost and Bill Stuart.

And here's the Chariton Junior College calendar for 1937-38, which commences with the introductory words, "We Went ...."

Sept. 13 --- to May's Grove for a picnic feed and treasure hunt, then to the school house to initiate the Frosh. (May's grove was located south of U.S. 34 a couple of miles east of Chariton.)

Sept. 23 --- to Osceola park for an athletic meet and picnic feed with Osceola Junior College --- then to see the Chariton-Osceola football game.

Oct. 29 --- to the City Hall for a Homecoming Dance after we had seen the Chariton-Centerville game.

Nov. 17 --- to the American Legion Hall at 8 p.m. where we entertained the Osceola Junior College at a Thanksgiving party of games, songs, dances and eats.

Dec. 23 --- to the Charitone Hotel for a 6:30 Christmas dinner and program --- had a hurried visit from Santa Claus (Marney Allen) --- gave each of us a gift.

Mar. 15 --- to the high school cafeteria for a 6:30 dinner in honor of the basketball and golf teams --- saw the Bluejays (junior college teams were the Bluejays) get their letter awards with Leck Young as captain --- then danced awhile.

April 12 --- to the stone quarry and Tipperary looking for fossils.

April 20 --- to Des Moines as guests of Drake University --- visited Colonial Bakery, Cowles Library, Rollins Hosiery Company, Equitable Building, KRNT, and the Register and Tribune.

April 22 --- to Whitebreast Creek on a geology field trip to look at formations along the creek bank --- afterwards had a weiner roast.

May 12 --- to the high school auditorium at 8 p.m. to see "Robin Hood" and get a chance to shake hands with the seniors from neighboring towns.

May 16 --- to Osceola park at 1 p.m. for a tri-school picnic and athletic meet --- Creston, Osceola, Chariton --- all participated in baseball and volleyball.

May 19 --- to the Charitone Hotel for a 6:30 "Happy Landing" banquet --- followed by a dance at the Country Club.

May 22 --- to Baccalaureate services.

May 24 --- to Commencement.


A majority of the young men in this photo went on the serve during World War II and so far as I know, all made it home --- other than Paul Pastovich, a young man who grew up, as did my mother, in a farming neighborhood northeast of Williamson.

Paul was the only son among three siblings, born in Olmitz, to coal miner turned farmer Dan and wife, Anna (Braida) Pastovich. After completing his junior college education in Chariton, he went on to earn a B.A. degree at Iowa State University during 1941.

Paul's National Guard unit was called to active duty during the fall of 1941, he completed U.S. Army Air Corps training, earned his wings and was commissioned second lieutenant in June of 1943. A few months later, on Valentine’s Day 1944, he was piloting a B-24 bomber from Florida to North Africa when it went down in the Atlantic with all hands aboard after experiencing engine trouble.

He is commemorated with a cenotaph in Graceland Cemetery, Knoxville, where his parents are buried, and also remembered on Tablets of the Missing, North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, Tunisia.

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