Heckling and bomb scares. Memorable moments from Pullman High School assemblies 1969 - 1973.
It was spring of 1970 during the Vietnam War. A singing group called "Up With People," was preforming at the auditorium. An inspirational, cheerful group.
Students must have thought this was frivolous and uncalled for. "People are dying in a war right now." As the preformers were introduced, the students clapped, but didn't stop there. They stood up and started cheering. They were cheering and cheering. Maybe laughing as well. They wouldn't sit down.
This went on a while.
Eventually the students did sit down and the performance took place.
Next day, there was another assembly. Said to be the last mandatory assembly of the year, but it was a while till end of the year.
The principal, Mr. Cramer, walked onto the stage and started scolding the students. He said the audience reaction to yesterday's concert was disrespectful. If students are behaving this way, they don't deserve this auditorium anymore. From now on, no more assemblies. The auditorium will be locked and off limits.
At the end of the year, Mr. Cramer stepped down as principal. A new Principal came in the fall. Grant Hendrickson.
Hendrickson was said to be more innovative. New things would be tried to make the school more relevant to modern students. Open campus and a lot of changes. Things that were explained in the first assembly of the year, my sophomore year.
Hendrickson seemed like a kind and somewhat self effacing leader. Said something joking about his bald spot. Told an antidote from his new job, as principal.
For some reason, the post office had tossed out class registration forms so he had just gotten back from scrounging around in a garbage bin at the post office retrieving the forms. He saved most of the forms and hoped we would get the schedules we wanted.
Later in the year, a representative from NASA came to give a talk. Humans had put footsteps on the moon several times and it was time to make this process more efficient. A reusable rocket.
Turns out he was describing, what later was called the Space Shuttle.
I was pretty much a fan of the space program. I watched the moon landings with excitement, but many of my classmates were less enthusiastic. They thought the money would be better spent cleaning earth's environment or combatting poverty.
As the lecture went on, there must have been some students, up front, who were heckling. The lecturer stopped and started complaining about disrespectful people in the front rows. He ask, "how would you feel if you were up here talking about this crap and getting that reaction?"
I think the principal was by the back doors, but he didn't look too worried about the situation.
My senior year, the innovative and somewhat experimental high school moved to a brand new building. Moral, among the students, was quite high. The new building was modern, kind of like an airport terminal.
Unlike the old building, it didn't have a large auditorium. Only a small theater that couldn't seat the entire student body. Assemblies were held in the gymnasium.
Vietnam War was still happening and bomb threats were a problem. Not from the "enemy," but from various protesters and just drunk frat house students at Washington State University. The school had to be evacuated a few times during my high school years, but no bomb was ever found.
During one assembly, in the gym of the new school, Hendrickson started to describe something that was planned for later in the day. He started to explain things and then paused. He said, "this will happen, ... unless there's another bomb threat."