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                      CHS- 214 Trivia Page       


Did you know the following?


  Chuck Blardone designed the Class Pin. Here is the original design for the pin- Courtesy of Chuck Blardone


  Did you know that 'The 'Lady of the Pin' was modeled after Brigitte Bardot, the French sex goddess of film in the 1960s


Did you know that there was a Class Decal- the 214 Dragon? Actually it was a fund-raiser for one of the dances. But, why a dragon? Anyone knowing the answer will be handsomely rewarded by the management. Courtesy of Chuck Blardone


And, how about our Class Motto-

"Our school will long remember us- her sons whose every day and way- led to honor and achievement. The 214- may we always be together"

The  Class Motto was written by an anonymous classmate(?) and emblazoned in a red gothic font on a yellow paper placemat; it came in handy for collecting autographs before we were presented our yearbooks. Can you find your name? Courtesy of Chuck Blardone


Here are sixty-five (65), yes sixty-five 214 and CHS trivia questions to test your memory; give yourself 2 points each, 115-130 points = GOLD 

             Answers are found at the conclusion        

1.Which staff member was the head coach of the 1959 Varsity Football team?


2.  Against which school did CHS play in the 1959 City Championship football game? Who was our quarterback? What was the final score?


3.  What were the ingredients in the often-served-in-the-lunchroom “Shepard’s Pie? No sarcasm, please.


4.  What was sold in the booth just outside the Lunchroom entrance?


5. Which staff member managed the School Store?


6.  What Philly 'delicacy' was sold at the conclusion of the school day in the Main Corridor? With or without mustard? Salted or plain?


7.  What was the 807 Society? What was the principal interest of its members?


8.       Who taught Chorus and Orchestra classes?


9.   What significance did  William Muratani have in the  history  of Central High School?


10.    Who were the officers of the 214th class besides Steve Green?


11.    What was the outcome of the 214 Trip to Washington, DC. How did this impact on those classes that followed?


12.   Which staff member chortled with glee as he reviewed homework papers and shouted, “This is fit for the garbage can!”


13.   Who was the Editor-in-Chief of our beloved monochromatic 1960 Yearbook?


14.   Around which nearby park did the Phys Ed classes skirt  that did the cross-country run?



15.   Which university abuts the blacktop gym area behind CHS?


16.    Which class of CHS was the last all-male class?

                   244              266         277                 

17.   Although the lawsuit brought against the School District (Susan Vorchheimer et al) began in 1975, when did the school actually become co-ed?


18.   The first CHS building was located at Market and Juniper Streets, the site of the once-located John Wanamaker department Store; students and staff began their studies in the first building in 1838. What were the time lines and where were the subsequent buildings located?  



19.     Which staff members taught the Driver Education classes?


20.    What make and model was the CHS Driver Ed car? Standard or Automatic?


21. Mr. Horton was renowned for his ‘whistling while he spoke’. He was a beloved Phys Education teacher, but for which subject is he best remembered? And in the class,  did you sit at the front or in the rear by the windows?


22. What was the cost for the weekly -purchased  package of ten PTC tokens? Where did we buy them?


23. What was the route number of the PTC trolley and then bus (starting in 1956) that ran past Central High School on Olney Avenue?


24.   Who was the head coach of the Varsity Track team?


25.  Who was the staff member who ‘stimulated every CHS student’, and is depicted in Bo Perlman’s favorite song?


26.   What change occurred in the lyrics of the ‘Alma Mater’ in 1996? Why? (see below for answer and explanation)


27.   What are the lyrics  of the Central High School Fight Song?


28.   What is a cyclotron? What did the members of the Cyclotron club do?



 29.   Where did the members of the Astronomy club meet? What did they discuss?


30.   By an act of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1849, what unique document does the School present to qualifying graduating seniors? Do you have yours in a safe place?


31.   What indispensable tome does each incoming Freshman receive at Orientation Day? From where does the funding come? Copies are sold on e-bay!


32.   Who crowned Miss 214? What was her name?


33. What object did Bill Disharoon keep in his desk drawer- as a conversation piece. He said that it was his 'pride and joy'.


34. The contemporary CHS mascot is the "Lancer". What was the CHS mascot in 'those golden days of yore"?


35. Where was the Senior prom held? What was the date?


36. Where was the post-Prom breakfast held? How did a Prom 'sub-committee' show us the way to breakfast?


37. What was the name of the school newspaper? the literary magazine?


38. Which classmate was given the title of 'The King of Schkutz" and an AZA jacket and membership? Just ask this guy!


39. Who is forever hanging off the Barnwell Library balcony railing - at least in our 1960 yearbook? No peeking, please.


     40. What were the requirements for earning one of these? Do you still have yours?


41. Who were the School President and the Vice Principal during the 214th class days at  Central?


42. What were homerooms called at CHS?


  43.  As seen from the air, which letter of the alphabet does CHS most closely ressemble ?


44.  Which one of our classmates was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as the author of the constitution for and a member of a group of  the International Physicians For the Prevention of Nuclear War? The prize was awarded in 1985. Our classmate was inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame in 1989.


45.  This trophy called "The Wooden Horse" was awarded on what annual occasion- a hint, the oldest Philadelphia public high school rivalry.   


46. For which school activities was this CHS award presented? You can see all the versions on  display in the School Store.


47. Here is one of our favorite English teachers. Who was he? and what was his nickname? (Submitted by Howard Goodman, 212th Class)


48. For which reunion was this lithograph, commissioned by a Committee of the 214, presented to the attendees? (see answer below for the particulars)


49. Who is the humorist and cartoonist whose work has appeared in every major magazine, periodical, countless texts and many of his own writings over six decades. This Centralite is a member of the 186th class (June 1946), an inductee of the Central High School Hall of fame, and whose style of illustration is so well known that one has to only look at the art and know that it is his. His first major cartoon assignment was to do the artwork for his 186th class yearbook.


50. Which member of the 214 was voted by his peers as 'The Class Lover'? He is retired from his position as Professor of Information Science, Operations Research and Operations Management at Lehigh, CUNY and NYU. He is now living in Florida with hius wife of forty-four years, Susan, and has accepted the positon of Research Coordinator at NYU; he teaches and advises on-line from his home. 


51. Mr. Gerson Backhaut was a fine teacher of higher level Mathematics at Central while we were in attendance, but he was also the uncle of one of our classmates. Do you know who is Mr. Backhaut's nephew?


52. What structure was located directly above the lunchroom on the roof of 'Dear Ol' High', but was removed in the mid-sixties?


53. Where was the Study Hall conducted while we were at Central?


54. What was GX? Who attended?


55. What facility did the eight female Seniors, 243rd class, use as their Gym Locker Room in September 1983- No, they did not share the Boys' Locker room as some suggest. 


56. Which staff member is pictured below? What subject did he teach? In which room did he 'hold court'? (See the particulars below)


57. BONUS QUESTION: 5 points: Which other Philadelphia public high schools (3) share the same or similar building plan with Central High School? It was common practice in Philadelphia to duplicate school construction using the same plans for multiple buildings, in this case these plans were used for three. (See answer below)

58-65. Pictured below are twelve Central luminaries. Name eight (2 points each). If you can identify more than the eight, award yourself with two points for each answer.







Answers to questions:

1. Len Kolenda was not only a great Phys Ed teacher, but he was the Head Coach of the Central varsity Football Team.

2. The 1959 City Championship game was played at Franklin Field; the playing field was muddy. Both Central and Monseigneur Bonner High School had enjoyed winning seasons. The quarterback of the Central team was Yale Gutnick, backed by a line of mostly 214 men- Gills,Crowell,Richy and Bob Berk, Berkowitz, Banks, Blendon, Dina, Dubin, Hunt, Russ, Slepack and Withers. The outcome of the game was Bonner 54, Central 0- a hard-fought game, but one in which Central was clearly outplayed. A great, memorable season however.

5. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery were the managers of the School Store. Many Centralites at the time  would make the trip down to Room 26 to get a glimpse of Mrs. Montgomery. Don't try to buy a slide rule or a protractor, however.

9. William J. Muratani was the judge of the Philadelphia County Court of Appeals who, after the Vorchheimer vs. the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia lawsuit had dragged on from 1975-1983, finally ruled that keeping girls out of Central was 'unconstitutional'. The Board of Education accepted his ruling without appeal, and six girls, all Seniors, entered CHS in  the Fall of 1983 in the 145th class.

10. The officers of the 214th class were (l-to-r): George Berkowitz, Secretary, Steve Green, President, Richard Amman, Vice-President, and Bruce Morse, Treasurer

12. Bernard Warshaw; he obviously suffered from a Napoleonic complex

13. Ray Tumarkin was the Editor- in- Chief of our 1960 yearbook. Ray has been a teacher in the Philadelphia Schools and often writes articles for various Philly papers. He is an avid cyclist, nutritionist and environmentalist. His long-time significant other, Deborah Kogan, an artist and Ray live in Philadelphia.

14. Wister Woods, not Wakefield Park as many believe. Wakefield Park is located at Lindley Avenue on the east side of Ogontz Avenue. Our Phys Ed cross-country trek began with a jog from the blacktop down the rear drive to Olney Avenue, left turn up Olney to 20th Street (LaSalle College), left onto 20th Street, a merciful downhill trot to Belfield Avenue, a run around the edge of the park to Lindley Avenue and then onto Ogontz, a run up the slope past the armory building, back to the South Lawn of CHS, up the lawn to the drive and circle up to the blacktop. The mere description of the 2.75 mile run makes me break out into a sweat.

15. LaSalle College, now LaSalle University. the many new building of the campus encroach on the blacktop area of Central. Our Phys ed classes  often use the LaSalle outdoor facilities for various sports.

16. C'mon fellows, it's a multiple-choice question.  244

17. September, 1983; Susan Vorchheimer, who initiated the suit in 1975, never had the opportunity to attend Central.

18. The second building was located at the southeast corner of Broad & Green Streets. The facility served the growing population of CHS from1854-1902; after CHS moved diaginally across the street, the building became the Central High  Manual Training School; it added an annex in 1912. It was demolished as Dobbins, Bok and other commercially-oriented facilities were constructed. The third building was built on the one square city block of Broad, Green, 15th & Mt. Vernon Streets. The building was built out of a gray stone, consisted on a large auditorium with a pipe organ adjacent to the stage proscenium that was large enough of any dramatic or other program. The building also featured two astronomy observatories. The one at the rear of the building was destroyed by fire in 1905. The Barnwell Library was on the second floor, large for similar facilities of the era. The building served as CHS until January 31st, 1939. On Febuary 1st, the staff and students reported to the Ogontz and Olney facility (the fourth CHS). My uncle, Jules Timerman of the 180th class, the second Freshman class to begin at the new building (the class graduated in June, 1943), descibed to me the impression he had when the students reported to the new building; "We were, to a man, in awe; it was a beautiful building situated on a bluff overlooking the intersection of Ogontz and Olney. 'It was like something out of "A Brave New World" with terrazzo floors, marble wainscoting, artwork in gilt- covered frames hung on all the walls. modern Science classrooms with up-to-date books, a modern stainless- steel lunchroom, a huge gym with a high ceiling and modern equipment, and a beautiful auditorium with seating for the entire school with a large stage and crimson curtains.' 'Most Philadelphia students who came to Central had attended facilitilies that were antebellum (his words), and Central was shiny new'.

19. Meisseurs Carroll (top) and Houston were our Driver Ed instructors.

20. A 1956 (replaced with the same model in 1957) Ford Fairlane, four-door , black sedan with manual transmission, cluth, dual control pedals, cloth bench seats, no seat belts nor radio. The front doors had 'The School District of Philadelphia, Driver Education' decaled prominently, just in case.

21. Family Life or SEX ED- he always admonished us with "use a condom!"

22. Seventy-five cents for 10 trips or 7 1/2 cents a trip. The oversized tokens were inscribed with "SCHOOL FARE" ; they came in a plastic bag of ten. We bought them weekly in homeroom from our PTC Reps. Thanks, Nick Hirsch.

23. Route 26. Destination sign said: 26 PULASKI-RITTENHOUSE  FOX CHASE


24. Mr. Grimsley was the Varsity Track Coach, complete with whistle.

25. Elizabeth Sher was voted the 'best (looking) Physics teacher in CHS. She was the  referred to in 'Bone Ryba Ryba' ( Physics teacher Frank Ryba) which is Bo Perlman's favorite a capella song.

26. The line in our School Song 'For thee thy sons will labor' was changed in 1996 to 'For thee we all will labor" to recognize the co-ed status of central High School- it took thirteen years for the change to be made. No classmate will ever sing the revised lyric.

27. The lyrics of the CHS Fight Song are: "Swing out ! behind the men who fight for the Crimson & Gold, Swing out ! and let the foe make way for the charge no line can hold . Swing out ! in resolute array for new glories yet to be. Swing out! lift up your chin, fight through and win to vic-to-ry!" (Thanks to Neal Steiger, 217th class for the corrected lyrics)

28. A cyclotron in the field of physics was the complex device designed, buiilt and used by the 'scientists' to accelerate atomic particles. In Physics, cyclotron frequency is 'the frequency of a charged particle moving perpendicularly to the direction of a uniform magnetic field. In actuality, some members ate their lunch and did their Trig homework; others played cards. Membership was a status that reflected one's intellectual prowess. The door was always locked.

29. The club met in the school Planetarium down in the basement next to the school Store (Room 26)

32. Gary Hirsh crowned Miss 214 at the Senior Miss 214 Dance; she was Sue Cass (now deceased).

33. A fur-lined jock strap or athletic support- for the more refined.

35. The Senior Prom was held on May 27th, 1960 at the Philmont Country Club in Philmont, PA. Aside from a few of us winding up in the pool, it was a grand time had by all.

36. The Post-Prom breakfast was held at The Hustle Inn in Doylestown on Route 611. You'll remember that a 'sub-committee' painted prominently on overpasses and bridges '214' and an arrow pointing toward the venue. We all heard about it from the School Administration who ordered restitution. The Hustle Inn was torn down in the 70's to make make for an office complex and a strip mall on Main Stret (Route 611).


38-39. Jim DeFrancesco (you knew that!)

40. Requirements for the Barnwell Honor Roll were: 3 As and 2 Bs; there were eight versions of the pin. You would receive the Barnwell pin commensurate with your grade, and then you turned it in for the next one - when earned. 9A Bronze, 9B Bronze with wreath, 10A Enamel, 10B Enamel with wreath (pictured above), 11A Silver, 11B Silver with wreath, 12A Gold, 12B Gold with wreath; Funded by the Barnwell Foundation as were/are the CHS Handbooks.

41. President Elmer Field (1955-1962); Vice Principal John Christman (also School Disciplinarian)

44. Henry Abraham from West Philadelphia, now has his psychiatry practice in Boston where he has been affiliated with the Haarvard Medical School and its Department of Psychiatry for thirty-three years.Henry specializes in Adolescent Psychiatry and has written prolifically about adolescents, drugs and alcohol addiction. Check out his website: drabraham.com

46. There were twenty plus versions of this prestigious CHS Letter Award for participation in various intramural, Junior Varsity as well as many School Service organizations.

47. Who can forget Eliot Cades AKA 'Ming the Merciless' who made us literally 'hit the books'. I met him sometime after our departure, and he was cheerful and talkative. He said he enjoyed being given the name--it was sort of a badge of honor, he said. In what movie serial of the 1930's was Ming the principal villian? Flash Gordon, of course! 


48. The original 214 lithograph of 'Central High School in 1960' came about through a contest sponsored by the class to the Art Department. Eight submissions by Art Major students were judged by a panel consisting of several members of the 25th Reunion Committee. Peter Kim, of the 245th class, received $100 for his winning entry. Supplies for making copies of the work were given to Peter, and the rest is history. The lithograph was copied, and a signed copy  was gifted to all attendees along with an original clear -glass coffee mug with the 214 class pin emblazoned on the side.


49. Arnold Roth, of the 186th class. His creativity continues to entertain readers everywhere in a multitude of publications...in this his eigthy-second year. Check Arnold out on the Internet. 


50. Lou Stern, in case you didn't recognize his suave figure taken in the Barnwell Library so many years ago.

51. Mr. Gerson Backhaut was the uncle of Marv Fellner. Marv and his wife Barbara live in Florida where they both teach in a private school in Coconut Creek.

52. The roof gym cage is now a thing of the past. Did you ever have a gym class up there? the view must have been outstanding.

53.  The auditorium balcony was often used for the Study Hall as was the seating at the rear of the auditorium.

54. Isn't the answer obvious?  It was a remedial gym class for the large student who couldn't participate in the mainstream class. I was in the class in the ninth grade andlost twenty-five pounds due to the help of the class and staff support- thank you, Phys Ed teachers.

55. The eight Senior co-eds of the 243rd Class used the Boys Lavatory in the Main Corridor. They even placed artifical flowers in each urinal- just to give the room that 'female touch'. The Philadelphia Inquirer had great photos- back in 1983, but sadly they are no longer available.

56. Dr. Toselli DelGuercio was much maligned by his students. Some say he was mean -spirited. His methods were ‘old school’. No charts, no posters, no audio tapes, no student work displayed on the classroom walls; no video material of any kind from which to be inspired to learn the language. He still used as the classroom  text for beginning Spanish 1 & 2, a thirty-year old textbook, the Hills and Ford tome, First Spanish Course, that ubiquitous orange text with the stereotypical Spanish drawings, all in black and white with endless exercises and vocabulary lists- written in 1926. His notes were yellow with age and cigar smoke. Speaking the language in conversation or on topics of the day were almost non-existent. You would be called to the witness chair periodically after 'the good doctor' poked a pencil in his roll book to select a ‘victim’. Your heart was in your mouth as he called out the name where the pencil paused. If called upon, you would sit in an uncomfortable wooden chair front and center while your classmates secretly thought ‘Thank God, he didn’t call on me. I live another day!” He would have you recite…perhaps the irregular past subjunctive of some obscure Spanish verb, perhaps provide a translation of sentences that he would glean from the text or his notes. Then, on another day you would be called to the chalkboard using the same selection process-the jab-the pencil-in-the-rollbook method- this time to write five or six sentences from your homework that had been ‘collectively done’ while having your ‘A’ lunch the previous period. Once you wrote your work on the board, Dr. Del Guercio would-with great ceremony -correct each and every word; he would ‘x’ out the inaccuracies, rewrite the correct form with glee, and then would scrawl across your work the grade you earned for your written recitation...his favorite letter was ‘F, but he was as skillful in determining the level of work be it ‘C+ or D-’.  His final exam was another interesting experience. He would return only the test document to those that had failed. The dread you felt while he distributed the sheath of failed work. ‘Don’t let it be me, you moaned…’  But secretly, some of us may have admired him; we sure as hell feared him.


57. While Central was being constructed, starting in late 1936 at Ogontz and Olney Avenues in West Oak Lane, in southwest Philadelphia, literally at the same time period, on the corner of 67th & Elmwood Aveues, the construction of the Dobbins Vocational School (across from Shibe Park) and John Bartram High School were taking place. Central High School, Dobbins Vocational High School, and Bok Vocational High School were built under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)- and Bartram from the School District of Philadelphia bond program. An interesting note, courtesy of David Kahn (209) Past Alumni President and CHS Archivist- thank you, Dave is that although the plans for the three schools were similar, both Dobbins and Bartram had a separate girls gym where central put the Barnwell Library. Central did not need a girls' gym, so the space was perfect for a large library such as the Barnwell Library. For a public high school, Central had the finest architectural 'excesses' that craftsmen and available materials could provide. Exterior accoutrement such as the building site elevated on a bluff overlooking the intersection (the school was actually built level to the street- the expansive lawns were backhoed into place after the building was almost complete in 1938- see the "Building of Central High School" photo gallery on the website for the specifics), a  beautiful terrace bedecked with the finest shrubbery, manicured lawns, extensive shrubbery  and trees throughout the site, sculptured insets above the 25' windows on the east (Ogontz Avenue) side, and white granite trim. On the interior terrazzo floors were installed in the Main Corridor as was marble wainscoting, gold leaf trim, polished oak floors in every classroom, expansive and well equipped Barnwell Library and Gymnasium, state-of-the-art Science labs, Music and Art suites, a stainless-steel lunchroom and the like. Bartram, although having the same basic plan, was constructed more with an eye on a budget in terms of exterior and interior niceties. Why was Central a WPA project and not Bartram? One could only surmise that Central had a one-hundred year history at the time, and was the second oldest public high school in the United States (1836); Bartram was built as an overflow for the crowded Overbrook High School. Both buildings opened for students and staff on February 1, 1939. The classes that entered CHS on that snowy wintry day were the 172-179. The day before they had held classes at the Broad & Green Street building which would continue to house students and staff that did not go to the new building.  The Broad Street facility would be called the Benjamin Franklin High School and would offer academic as well as commercial programs. The former Central High School building would continue to serve students until it was replaced with a modern structure in the mid-sixties. The new CHS at Ogontz & Olney would be highly selective, and be exclusively college preparatory. The rest is, as they say, history.


 Dobbins Vocational School                 John Bartram High School 


    Central High School                                 Bok Vocational School

                                                                                           (closed 2013)

 58-65. The CHS Notable Alumni ( Hall of Fame inductees*)are:

       Teller  (224) *            Ed Wynn (110)*

       Bill Cosby (204)*        Andrew Weil (212)*

       Samuel Dash(178)*    Larry Fine (132)*  

       Norman Fell (176)*     Ed. Weinberger (204)*                            

       Noam Chomsky(184)*  Betty Liu (250)*

       Arnold Roth (186)*     Jeremiah Wright (211)