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1939
Hitler declares war on Poland
"I'll never forget the day when tha announcement was made (that)...the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor." -GHS graduate '44

War dominates the recollections of this decade, war and the school spirit which thrived in it.  It is the beginning of the "Bella Era," the time of the Big Band sound and the popular revival of dances in the school and the town.

 

 1940

Andrew Bella is appointed principal.
Greenwich High Schol obtains charter for a Chapter of the National High School Honor Society, "established to encourage scholarship, character, leadership and service among high school students."
GHS is rated "superior" by sixteen educators who inspected the school.

Andrew Bella was born in Byram, Connecticut.  He graduated from GHS in 1924, one of the top students in his class. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A.), he joined the GHS Physics Department in 1929.  He served as principal from 1940 until 1969.  His involvement with GHS is unique: student, teacher, principal, parent, and grandparent.

1941

1941
Pearl Harbor bombed, U.S. enters WWII

Cafeteria serves 1,000-1,200 daily at $.05 for lunch.  "Creole spaghetti" is the most popular dish.
Compass wins first place in national competition for yearbooks with its lithographs.
Key Club, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, is formed with 50 members.
First air-raid practice.  The high school is evacuated in 3 minutes.
Formation of Student Council, the legislative branch of the General Organization which encompasses all students.

On the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the GHS Victory Corps officially starts - "to give all possible student aid to the war effort and to train its members to take their places in war industries or the armed forces after graduation."  There is registration for Selective Service in the principal's office, and War Stamps and Bonds are sold.  Gerald Morgan, Assistant Principal, keeps in touch with alumni enlisted, as do a girls' group called Home Ties.  Victory gardens are planned and cultivated.  The high school owns its own plane, a Piper Cub named "Ki-wi."
In 1943 a new 7-period schedule includes one period of Victory Corps activity per day, chosen from a wide variety, including blue-print reading for girls, finger printing, code, radio theory and practice, sewing and bandage making.  Preflight Aeronautics is a course offered, and after school hours there is marksmanship, military drill and mobile unit training.  Ninety-eight percent register in these activities.  As in the First World War, there is memorable apple-harvesting at Conyers Farm.
The first casualty of the war from Greenwich is a '37 GHS graduate, torpedoed off the Delaware coast in 1942.  In 1946 The Green Witch publishes a list of 96 alumni who died in the service of their country.
For the 1945 graduation, the senior class sits in a "V for Victory" arrangement.

 

 1945

Dramatic Association wins national honors.  

 1946

Haveneyer School is being converted into practical arts annex of GHS (power mechanics, machine shop, wood and metal work, home-making): completed in 1949.  

 1947

Swim and football teams take state trophies 

 1948

First school broadcast over WGCH, by GHS Choral Clubs.
From 1948 until 1953 graduation ceremonies are held in the Pickwick Theater, because the high school auditorium is too small for the numbers involved,  Subseequent graduations take place on Havemeyer Field. 
 

 1949

Schools begin a shift from an 8-4 to a 6-6 grade system, with 7th and 8th grades housed in the high school and "an integral part of that unit."

 


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