Lincoln-Way Community High School 1957-1961

Memories of David Ullian Larson

Lincoln-Way Community High School is located in New Lenox, Illinois. I attended  from 1957 to 1961 when I graduated. The school was almost new when I attended. I transferred from Washington Junior High School in Joliet, Illinois, so I knew none of the other students who were in my class.

Overall I do not think there was a better place or time to go to high school. The teachers were interested, the environment was clean and safe, and the course offerings were complete. Plus it was the Fifties. Wow!

The teachers I remember from my Lincoln-Way days and how they seem to have affected me in my life follow. Sure, these are  subjective comments. But this  is what I feel, today.

Mr. Avila. Physics. Probably my favorite course hence my favorite instructor. What I learned in that class about problem solving helped me more, technically, than any other course I took at L-W. Formulas. Problem solving. My work as a master electrician involved a great deal of that sort of thing. Sorry to hear he has passed.

Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Bills. English. Not too many of the students at L-W took four years of English. I did. And I gained an appreciation for literature there. The writing practice was quite useful. I  wrote a book in 1978 entitled Technician: Career With A Future. And now I have ten ISBN titles in print. Click HERE to see them.

Mrs. Hussey and Mr. Christiansen.  Math. Not too many students at L-W had four years of math. I did. And what I learned about problem solving from algebra through trigonometry has been very useful to me.

The math education at L-W must have been above average. I have a letter which reflects the fact that several students in the fourth year math class including me scored in the 95th percentile in the entire USA in 1961. I still find math easy to this day. Infact I spent a year as a high school teacher of Geometry and SAT math. I tutor students who have problems with math. And I offer help to those working toward a GED.

Mr. Christiasen was probably the most helpful teacher I had at L-W. He took an interest in me. He spoke with the other teachers about my seemingly poor application of talent. He sat me down and went over my problems. And in short, he seemed to care. So thanks where ever you are, Mr. Christiasen. You made a difference in my life. As an aside, he had some neat stories about his time in the USAF. This exposure might have had something to do with my enlistment in the USAF just nine months after graduation. 

Miss Taylor,  History.  What can I say. I apologize to the students who were in class with me for US History my senior year. I was disruptive, I was a mess. And I failed the course. I had to go to night school in Joliet, which I did, so I could graduate.

I just did not want to be in that class. The topics seemed useless and I could not concentrate. But the course was required for graduation. The senior year prophesy had me teaching history somewhere years later, tongue firmly in cheek, mind you. 

Well, truth is, I really do like history to a point. That point is about the early 1800's. Once Jefferson and Adams passed, the history of the country has not been as interesting to me. Infact, I have a spectacular book collection centered on Benjamin Franklin and the Revolutionary War Era. Colonial Life is also very interesting to me. My wife and I love to visit historic places like Jamestown, Plymouth Plantation, Boston, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, and you name it. We've probably been there. We take the tours, read the literature and just have a great time.

Pity the adolescent who now will have to endure US History to include topics like the Middle East. Wow. I would have a heck of a time with that. Good thing I went through school when I did. Night school couldn't save me now.

I do realize that some knowledge of history of essential to being a good citizen. And I have that much. But as events have demonstrated in our recent past, flaky people like one of the former presidents are scattered throughout history. And I have better things to do than study folks like him. There are just too many other things I would rather do than try to understand the  dynamics of the history of the entire world, for example. My life does have a time limit, after all.

I have read a couple hundred books about World War II. I had quite an interest in that geographic region after spending two and a half years in Germany and France while in the military. A few of my favorite books are The Paris Underground, Is Paris Burning, Inside the Third Reich, and anything by Shirer.

Mr. Taylor.  Band. He sure was dedicated. I guess I knew that then. Sorry to hear he has passed.

Mr. Larsen and Mr. Lashmet.  Athletics. They were quite helpful. Physical endurance training has been quite useful to me. I am still a working electrician at 58. Most guys give out around fifty. Well, I also have a hard head to match my hard hat. So lack of brains might be the reason I have not moved into supervision for a larger company, or into electrical inspection.

Mrs.  (can't think of her name)   Latin. Two years. No less. This class probably gave me what I call a loose ear for language which helped me pass the language aptitude test in the US Air Force. I was able to be selected to participate in an intensive Russian Language Program at Syracuse University while in the Air Force. I used this language training as an enlisted man to translate Russian Fighter Pilot Communications into English so USAF reconnaissance pilots and SAC pilots would know if Russian Fighter actions were getting hostile. In this way, the American pilots could leave at the first sign of danger. Or the pilots could avoid problem areas in future missions. I fought the Cold War.

My after school activities at L-W centered on sports, Cross Country, Wrestling,  Track, stage work and music. I played drums in the band. And was involved in other after school activities with drums.

Summers I worked at the school for Mr. Goetchel on the maintenance crew for a dollar an hour. The crew cleaned that school from top to bottom. Light fixtures, walls, lockers, windows, doors, and floors. You name it, we cleaned it.

It was during the summer that I learned how to manage the lighting board on the stage. I was always doing something electrical. My science project for Biology was an analog computer to predict blood types of children when the blood types of the parents was known. Lots of wires and sockets in that gizmo. It mostly worked. But like anything electrical, there were a few bugs. I guess I was a geek and didn't know it. I even ran the movie projector for the prom three years.

Since I never did move back to New Lenox after service, keeping in touch just wasn't possible.