Duncan U. Fletcher

Class of 1969 History

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Duncan U. Fletcher Senior Class of 1969 History

Ed Dickinson, Class Historian

The senior class of 1969 has faced probably more years of change and progress than any other of Duncan U. Fletcher’s classes of the past. Entering high school into an overcrowded and restricted environment, the 7th grade class of 1964 cannot forget those days at the Neptune Baptist Church when lunch became a stale roast beef sandwich and a carton of warm milk; when physical education classes were held on a dusty side lot or on Walnut Street; and when trips to the library seemed farther than usual. The church has changed much since those days, but I’m sure many of the seniors still can picture Coach Ford’s private office.

The 8th grade class of 1965 was the first class to graduate from the physically old but academically new Fletcher Junior High School. Not only were we the first graduating class of the junior high, but the first class that ever, or will ever, spend only 1 year in the old Fletcher High School. Of course, 1965 saw the opening of the new Fletcher Senior High, with new plans and goals for the future. The new senior high class was not the only student body that faced the birth of an organization. As our 8th grade class looked with awe toward the new building on Seagate Avenue, we also began the organization of new academic and extracurricular activities. The junior high’s first yearbook, the Sprindrift; the student council; and various clubs, including art, drama, and gymnastics displayed our class’s ability to create a new curriculum with the capability of serving the many students of the future.

Becoming the second freshman class to enter the attractive and spacious D.U. Fletcher High School meant many different things to the 9th graders of 1965-66. Most of all, it meant the security of having a permanent and comfortable building for the remainder of our high school days. After getting used to the maze of corridors and the somewhat uncomfortable but exciting position of following the rule of the upperclassmen, our freshman class began to discover the advantages that the senior high had to offer. The language and science labs, individual help from the glass guidance counselor, the industrial arts and business education facilities, and the useful opportunity for independent study in a well-equipped library all aided in the organization of advanced learning.

Excitement was added to our freshman year with the continuation of extracurricular activities after of period of school sanctions that permitted attendance only in classes of academic subjects.

In sports, Fletcher’s football team defeated Lee for the first time in the school’s history; the swimming team repeated its victory in county and group; and Fletcher won the 1965-66 Gateway Conference All Sports trophy for the fourth time in a 5-year period.

Our sophomore year, 1966-67, was the first year that our class participated in various clubs outside of the student council. The surprise of being tapped for Key, Anchor, Interact, Astra, or the National Junior Honor Society was met by many of our outstanding classmates. The honor of participating in such activities as these was very satisfying and inspirational. Without such extracurricular activities to ease the tension of continual studies and to bring out the spirit in each individual personality, the idea of schoolwork would almost be unbearable.

The sophomores of 1966-67 also celebrated one of the greatest victories Fletcher ever had. We became the first team in the county to beat Wolfson. The final score of that game was 13-0. The cross-country team won the Gateway Conference Championship in an undefeated season and again the swim team won county and group.

The year 1967-68, our junior year, was probably the most outstanding and interesting period that we faced throughout high school. About midway through the year, teachers throughout the state of Florida held a mass walkout. The teachers left, not for better pay, but for a better school system. More money was needed from the state to provide Florida students with a better education. The teachers stayed out for approximately 5 weeks. They returned when part of what they had requested was granted, but the state still would not yield fully to the teachers’ demands.

Our junior year brought many responsibilities to each individual student. While balancing equations in chemistry and algebra, each junior faced the job of selling magazine subscriptions to raise money for “our” prom. All work was temporarily put aside as Homecoming week drew near. Then, in the spring, came the annual Miss Fletcher contest, as well as initiations and inductions of new officers in clubs and organizations. But the most exciting event of the year was the 1967-68 Junior-Senior Prom. After many hours of planning and construction, under the supervision of Rocky Draud, the night of the 1968 prom proved to be one remembered by all.

Our 1968-69 senior year began under a changed administration and school system. As Mr. Jack Barile took the position of head of the well-known Marine Science Center in Mayport, Mr. Ronald Davis became our new assistant principal. Mr. Davis had been the dean of boys ever since the senior high opened. Coach Ford became dean of boys and Mrs. Johnson became the new dean of girls, replacing Mrs. O’Keefe.

Toward the end of our junior year, Fletcher was privileged to be evaluated by the School Evaluation Committee, which was composed of college teachers, high school teachers, and education experts. The committee stayed for 3 days, looking over the physical appearance of the school, investigating various departments, and talking to the students.

In the fall of 1968, Fletcher was thoroughly reevaluated by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and, after certain important and long-hoped-for proposals, Fletcher Senior High School became the first in Duval County to receive reaccreditation. It was hard to explain the importance of graduating from an accredited high school, but it was easy to see the relief and joy that all the responsible and ambitious seniors felt on that day of reaccreditation.

The accomplishments and activities of the various organizations led by our seniors are quite outstanding. Within 1 year, the spirit and physical appearance of Fletcher had improved tremendously. With the paving of the parking lot, the planting of trees and gardens, Pride in Fletcher Week, and various original contributions of individuals clubs (such as a new microfilm printer and reader and a new telephone booth), the senior class has proved the year 1968 to be a very successful one.

This year both our swimming and track teams brought home the Gateway Championship title. After 162 straight wins, the Fletcher Swim Team was finally defeated by Bolles. However, this year marked the swim team’s 15th straight Gateway Conference Championship.

Along with other responsibilities, each senior faced the pressure of College Board Exams, Senior Placement Exams, college applications, and final grade point averages.

However, the satisfaction of fulfilling the tasks each student faces in school and the inspiration one receives from involvement in his studies is worth the effort and time contributed to learning and discovering new ideas for future understanding.

Our 4 years at Fletcher have represented different goals for the many different personalities of our senior classmates. I’m sure that, in the future, each senior will recall the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class and will look back to Fletcher with pride.


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