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When we gather, as friends and family do, we may talk about the good old days (as every generation does). These good old days often, center around high school. These were some of our most memorable, inspiring, confusing, exciting and probably every other adjective thrown in, for every emotion, we often faced NEW or with such great intensity, in about the three years it took us to graduate. We were discovering our voice and place in life, for perhaps, the very first time. We were preparing, for adulthood, manhood, womanhood and hormone-hood! 🙂
Soon, we would be on our own and we could hardly wait to move out of the homes of our parents, our caregivers or the family units we grew up in, for most of our 17 or 18 years of life. Yes, we were preparing to be on our own, have our own place and make our own rules.
We learned new rules and were preparing to move off and on with our individual lives, independent of all others (so we thought or pretended). Choice and change in high school was both exhilarating and frightening, often at the same time. Many ‘firsts’ happened for many of us in high school like: a driver’s license, our first kiss, first love and more. Some of our experiences there were great, some good, some not so good and some, many of us have forgotten or would like to forget. High school was appropriately named. There was no higher school. We were as high as we could go. Some of us, also found, other ways to get high, in high school. 🙂
But, high school was, as high as we could go. After high school, a continued education institution was, generally called a college or a university. But most of us all had a high school. My high school was, simply referred to as, Hickman High School, Hickman High or just Hickman.
David H. Hickman High School, in Columbia, MO, was my high school. It was the high school of our younger sister and our older brother. His two daughters also, attended Hickman. But for our family, it began with our mother and father that most likely met at Hickman and well, the three of us, the children of Calvin and Laura Jean, know how this turned out! 🙂
But Hickman, was not always so named or at its current location.
Public secondary education began in Columbia during the 1880s with the founding of Columbia High School in 1889 at Eighth Street and Rogers. Columbia High School (CHS) began as a two-year course study. In 1895 it increased to three and then four, the following year. Later, it would go back to a three-year high school 10th-12th (sophomores, juniors and seniors) . In 2013, Hickman became a four-year high school again and remains so, still today.
“Overcrowding caused the demolition of the old school and the construction of a new three-story structure at the same site. The new building included the district’s first gymnasium, and the first athletics and music teacher were hired. 1912 saw the first edition of the school yearbook, the Cresset. The school mascot, the Kewpie, appeared for the first time in the Cresset associated with the basketball team “…whose loyalty to the school and to the Kewpie motto, ‘Keep Smiling,’ has won the State Championship.”
Continued growth made it necessary for a new high school. In 1927, Missouri Legislator and educator, David Henry Hickman, donated his country estate. His namesake high school would replace the former Columbia High School, but it carried with it, many of its traditions including, the ‘Kewpie‘ mascot, the colors, ‘purple and gold,’ and the yearbook, the ‘Crescent.’ The former downtown property became, Jefferson Junior High School (7th – 9th) until 2013, and then it became, Jefferson Middle School (6th-8th), as it is today.
Hickman continued to grow since 1927, in offerings, clubs, stage and musical productions, recognition, athletics, awards and it remains, to be one of the finest high schools in the United States. Far above the national average, many of its graduates go on to college.
In the 1950’s, Hickman saw the end of racial segregation and was integrated with Fredrick Douglas High School. The influx of more students, necessitated a building boom! More classrooms, special education, vocational work, laboratories, a gymnasium and a swimming pool were added in 1955. This would not be its last expansion!
Some former Notable Hickmans’
Gary Anderson, became a NFL running back with Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-1985), San Diego Chargers (1985-1988), TampaBay Buccaneers (1990-1993), and the Detroit Lions (1993).
Matt Bartle, Missouri state senator
Charley Blackmore, DJ, Creator, owner and webmaster of http://www.kewpie.net
John M. Dalton, Former Governor of Missouri
Gerry Ellis, Running-back for the Green Bay Packers
Jane Froman, singer/actress
Arlan Gaus, singer/musician blues started – the ‘Blue Slingers’ (my best friend in high school)
Scott Lincoln, After college, Scott moved to New York and worked as an actor in off-broadway. He met a man backstage, who congratulated him on his performance then proceeded to offer him a job on television. The man happened to be Alan Alda and the job would be for ‘Mash.’ Scott moved to California and though never the ‘leading man,’ he knows and has worked with almost every famous actor in the industry. Sometimes credited or not, he is one of the most respected and hardest working actors in the industry. Same age as myself.
Ken Griffin, keyboardist, composer
Kate Hanley, Virginian politician
Dahni Hayden, New York artist, composer, photographer, poet, writer and “The world’s most interested man.” Note: this may be shameless self-promotion, but someone has to do it. 🙂
Jeff Harris, Missouri state representative
Peter Hessler, award winning writer and journalist
Marni Jamie, local ceramic artist in the Columbia are. Same age as myself.
Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron during the Enron scandal
Rob LaZebnik, writer and co-executive producer for The Simpsons
Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator (She was one year ahead of me in school)
Scott Murphy, U.S. Congressman from New York
Blake Tekotte, Professional Baseball Player for the Chicago White Sox
Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Who knew, this Sr. Class President, would one day become the world’s richest man!
James “Bud” Walton, brother of Sam Walton and Co-founder of Wal-Mart
Markus Wiechel, Swedish member of parliament
It is interesting that Hickman once educated the future and for a time, the richest man in the world (Sam Walton), one of the most scandalous people (Kenneth Lay), and the “world’s most interested man,” yours truly! 🙂
Time Magazine’s 2014, Person of the
Kewpie – From the ‘Crescent’ 1914
The Kewpie doll has been the mascot of the school for the last 100 years.
Hickman is the only known school in the world with a Kewpie as its mascot.
The name dates back to the basketball season of 1913 -1914 at what was known then as, Columbia High School. Apparently, the school secretary owned a Kewpie doll, as they were popular figurines then, and she kept it on her desk.
At one of the first basketball games in December 1913 she placed her Kewpie doll in the center of the court, and the entire game was played around it without it being broken.
This was somewhat remarkable since the dolls were very fragile. Because it survived the game and brought a victory, it was thereafter considered the good luck mascot.
Whatever the true reason, for selecting this mascot might have been, one HAD to have or QUICKLY develop some tough athletes with a kewpie for your mascot. Hickman for many years, excelled in several sports.
On, Sons of Hickman (a.k.a. Kewpies on the March)
On, sons of Hickman
Thru every year,
Praise her and honor her,
And greet her with a cheer,
We’ll shout it!
Kewpies are on the march,
Faithful we’ll always be,
Purple and Gold we’ll carry
The school song was written by Mr. C. M. Stookey, a music instructor at Hickman High School in 1944. It was originally called ‘Kewpies on the March.’ The song is featured on the third page of the 1950 Cresset.
Strawberry Shortcake, Gooseberry Pie,
Are we it? Well, I guess yes!
We’re the Kewpies of H-H-S!
Legends and Strange Facts
As mischievous youth are wont to do, especially at graduation, odd things often occur. Our mother told us that when she graduated (in 1946), a goat was somehow placed on top of the Columbia water tower. No one is quite sure how they got it up there, kept it up there until it was recovered or WHY? Poor goat.
Steam/utility/waste water tunnels were connected together underneath the downtown section of Columbia and underneath the University of Missouri. I know this because I have been in them. From the University of Missouri, they connect with every single building and to their power plant. These tunnels are concrete and eventually, connect to older tunnels made of brick and have arches, downtown Columbia. Legends have it that underneath Hickman, a tunnel or tunnels connect to the old Columbia High School (Jefferson Junior High School/Jefferson Middle School). Many tales both confirmed and unconfirmed, exist concerning the famous ‘Hickman Tunnels.’ Many versions say that the tunnel(s) is or are, in a state of complete or partial disrepair. Others state that it/they is/are still intact. But there is a huge underground facility I can tell you that for certain. Or there was from the fall of 1969-1972 when I was in school there. I am sure this area was below the maintenance area/boiler room was more than large enough to accommodate then, over 2,000+ students and staff. Perhaps it was part of the utility maintenance area (boiler room) and built and used for storage? Maybe it was constructed as a storm or fallout shelter? Whatever its purpose was and if or if not connecting any tunnel or tunnels, it was a great place to skip class as was above the ceiling overlooking the auditorium! For reference to what I mean, think of Phantom of the Opera or watch ‘Home Alone II:)
On March 26, 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a special trip to Columbia, Missouri to speak at the National Governors’ Association-Department of Education Conference as well as Fairview Elementary and David H. Hickman High Schools. Hickman had received the Department of Education’s Secondary School Recognition Award, and with six students having been named Presidential Scholars since 1964, Hickman ranked in the top five percent of the nation’s schools. In his address to the assembled students and faculty at Hickman, President Reagan praised the school’s academic quality, saying, in part, “If America is to be what it should be in the 21st century, then it’s going to need a lot of schools, good schools. And Hickman, I’m pleased and proud to tell you, is one of the best.” During the presentation, President Reagan was made an honorary Kewpie and given a school sweatshirt as a gift.