This has been one historic year for The Mountaineer. One hundred years ago this February was the very first printing of the first school newspaper, the Maroon and White. This publication predated the Mountaineer by 12 years. Another milestone that was created exactly 100 years ago (1916) was the writing of this Stroudsburg Area School District’s alma mater.
It is very rare to see high schools with an Alma mater. In fact, most schools that do have them are colleges and universities. The SASD is only one of two schools in this area that boasts a school song, or anthem. This is just one more interesting fact that differentiates this district from others.
In 1916, the Stroudsburg Area School District was just beginning to develop. Mary Frances Melcher contributed to the growth of the school greatly. She was the Maroon and Whites assistant editor and took it upon herself to write the alma mater, which has been proudly sung by SHS students and staff for 100 years.
It is to the tune of Beethovens Minuet in G. said chorus teacher Ms. Janice Lee. All Melcher did was add lyrics to the piece.
When the alma mater was written, every student was expected to learn it. It would be the first quiz all freshman took in their English classes at the beginning of the year. It was a requirement since it was sung at football games, graduation and pep assemblies. Taking the Alma mater quiz faded in the early 2000’s.
Mrs. Alma Weber, an SHS secretary, has been a part of this school for 52 years. She has seen traditions come and go, along with the tradition of learning the alma mater. She is a member of the 50 Plus Association, which plans the reunion of the graduated class from 50 years previous. This year, in honor of the alma mater’s 100th birthday, a few former graduates are planning on doing something special with the alma mater.
“There are some people who are trying to write the alma mater in Italian.” said Weber.
These graduates of yester-year are trying to translate the alma mater to sing it at their reunion. It would be a unique and fun way to present the venerable tune in a fresh light.
“It’s a shame, we don’t all know it anymore,” said Lee, “It’s important to have an alma mater. It gives us a sense of pride and tradition.”
Lee is also trying to revive the alma mater. The music department has taught their students the piece to play at graduation, Moving Up Day, pep assemblies, football games, and countless other school activities. Lee teaches her students the song at the beginning of every year but it is not always performed. It is not as publicized as it once was, but the meaning is not lost.
“I really wanted to make this project happen,” said Lee, “I wanted all sports clubs and activities to learn the alma mater so I can make a video of them singing it.”
The alma mater is a fantastic part of the history of Stroudsburg High School. It is important to understand the lyrics and the meaning. There is hope that by celebrating this historic anthem’s birthday this year that it can once again become a bigger part of the school’s traditions.