This year will mark the 50th graduating class of Wyoming Area, and Vito Quaglia, secondary center principal, has a dream of seeing a graduate from every year that Wyoming Area has been in existence participate in the graduation ceremony on Friday, June 17. To participate, contact Quaglia at [email protected]
As the secondary center librarian, I would like to see representatives from each year’s class write a little bit about his or her senior year. I would like to collect them and keep them permanently in the secondary center’s locked cabinet along with the yearbooks. Those who wish to participate may send contributions to [email protected]
Much has changed in the past 50 years. The district built a new school, added to it, renovated the stadium, added a weight room, became computerized, developed a web presence and more. Below is a brief history of that first year of the Wyoming Area School District.
WA’s first year
In 1966, Trudy Gattuso won a contest to name a new school. Her gift for winning that contest was a $50 savings bond. She chose the name of the school to remember the Wyoming Monument, the Wyoming Massacre (1778), Wyoming Avenue and the towns of Wyoming and West Wyoming. Fittingly enough, the new school became Wyoming Area. The school was a merger of the school districts of West Pittston, Exeter, Falls, Harding, Wyoming and West Wyoming.
Warriors became the nickname based on a motion made to the school board by Gene Fronduti. The school seal with the Wyoming Monument was based on a motion by John P. LaNunziata.
In January 1966, a motion again made by Fronduti suggested the school colors be green, gold and white. This represented at least one of the colors of all the schools in the newly merged district. Colors for schools were as follows:
• West Pittston, green and white
• Exeter, maroon and gold
• Wyoming, maroon and white
• West Wyoming, blue and white
James T. Ayre, former superintendent of West Pittston School District, became the first superintendent of Wyoming Area. William D. Owens became president of the school board.
Cathran J. Fear, the music teacher from West Pittston High School, wrote the new district’s alma mater.
The Warriors met on their home field for the district’s first official football game against Dunmore under the coaching of John (Jack) Henzes on Friday, Sept. 9, 1966. According to the Wyoming Area 1967 yearbook, the team completed a record of seven wins against only four defeats that season. It ended on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, also on the Warriors’ home field, this time against Forty Fort. The Warriors, after suffering an upset the week before, challenged a favored Forty Fort team and upset it, 21-13. The Warriors finished in a tie for third place in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Other events occured during that first year of Wyoming Area. There was a large yearbook staff under the direction of Marjorie Green. The magazine drive brought in $2,500 towards the publication of the yearbook. The National Honor Society, under the mentorship of Dr. Doris Wyllie, boasted 35 members with a scholastic average of 87.9.
The marching band, under the direction of Gino D. Marchetti, selected 65 instrumentalists who were hindered by the late arrival of their new band uniforms. For their first pre-game show, the band gave a final salute to the colors of the component schools of Wyoming Area.
The cheerleaders and the junior cheerleaders supported the teams whole-heartedly as did the majorettes, color guard and drill team. Other groups formed were Mixed Chorus, Glee Club, Student Council, Key Club, Radio Club, Interact Club and the Physical Fitness Club.
The basketball team, under the coaching of Charles “Chick” Daniels, won every game of league play that first year. The team found little competition throughout the year, soaring over the 100-mark many times. The highlight of the season was the boys’ Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 Class A playoff game against Dunmore, which the Warriors won, 63-51, putting them in a final playoff game against Nanticoke for the District 2 championship. They lost, 84-70. It would be a long time before people stopped talking about that season.
Other sports the first year of the new merger included girls basketball, wrestling, track, golf and baseball.
And the savings bond awarded to Trudy Gattuso all those years ago? Today, it’s worth $246.56.
Charlene Berti is a librarian at Wyoming Area Secondary Center. Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at [email protected]