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