History of Silverhill School Founder's Day Banquet

History of Silverhill School
Founder's Day Banquet
From 1945 to 2003

         In 1945, under the leadership of Silverhill School Principal, Mrs. William B. Wingard (Sadie Bradley) and P.T.A. President, Mrs. Albert Phillips, Sr. (Grace Norman), the first Founder’s Day Dinner was held celebrating the founding of the Parent-Teacher Association of Silverhill. That first one was so successful financially and socially that it has continued.

First row, front to back: Donna Gudmundsen (Mrs. Jack Cain), Jeanette Cain (Mrs. Carlos Dorman), Dorothy Lindell (Mrs. Conway Edhegard), Peggy Dearborn (Mrs. Ed Doubrava), Marjorie Rundquist (Mrs. Paul McCann); Second row, front to back: Delores Carlson (Mrs. Frank Kriss); Lois Johnson (Mrs. Hancel Bankester), Jane Bagwell (Mrs. Joe Hanak), Joyce Phillips (?), Maxine ? (Mrs. Billy Pose), Helen Sandell (Mrs. L. Dean); Third row, front to back: Louise Swoboda (Mrs. Bill Passmore), Vera Novak (Mrs. Fred Slide), Gloria Quimbly (?), Jackie Phillips (?).

         The first Founder’s Day Banquet in 1945 had twelve tables decorated in the theme of the twelve months of the year, with each table seating twelve people. The event was so successful and popular a P.T.A. table was added the following year to seat additional people wanting to attend.

         For many years there was also a children’s table. As the event became more popular, more people were added to the tables each year.

         For the 1946 banquet, Mrs. Finn Nitteberg and Mrs. Arnold Chandler decorated the auditorium and stage. They also prepared a program with skits, plays, songs, and dances, all relating to the months of the year theme. The evening's entertainment program was as follows: opening by Mrs. Finn Nitteberg, Bohemian folk song, “Cottage Under the Mountain”; a vocal selection by Mrs. J. Rezek, accompanied at the piano by Mrs. Fred Hallberg; reading, “Our Fiftieth Year”, by Mrs. Joe Frolik; Swedish National Anthem, quartet, Charles Norman, Robert Linden, George Lundberg, and Axel Rundquist, accompanied by Mrs. George Lundberg; poem, “The P.T.A. 1946”, by Mrs. Harold Pringle; Norwegian National Anthem, by Mrs. Finn Strom, accompanied by Mrs. Nitteberg; piano duet, “Home Stretch Gallop”, by Mrs. E. Lindell and Mrs. Nitteberg; grand finale song, “The Star Spangled Banner”, by Miss Thelma Chandler and assembled group.

         In 1949 the banquet was held on February 13. The program chairman for the evening was Mrs. Harry Linden assisted by Mrs. Charles Epp and Mrs. Ted Forsman. The Master of Ceremony was Rev. Donald Ekerholm, who kept up a rapid-fire chatter of humor between the various skits and songs.

         The program for the evening was the impressive and colorful “Pageant of the Months”. Upon an attractively decorated stage, this pageant moved from the cold of January through the spring, summer, and fall months to an impressive climax with the manger scene in Bethlehem. An appropriate song represented each month.

         Mrs. Finn Nitteberg played the piano while Mrs. Donald Ekerholm directed a choir of young people, which included Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Fosberg, Marjorie Rundquist, Delores Carlson, Donna Lou Gudmundson, Eleanor and Catherine Anderson, Nannette Richardson, Lois and Helen Johnson, Betty Chandler, A.C. Chandler, Elmer Lindell, Jr., Merrill Maris, Harry Nitteberg, Donald Linden, Percey Pearson, Eugene Rundquist, Clarence Anderson, Bobby Zlata, Lionel Epp, and Caroline Linden who were all divided into groups for each song, which included costume and scenery changes.

         During the early years of the Founder’s Day Banquet, some of the people serving as Masters of Ceremony were Mayor Emery Johnson, Principal Gerald Robinson, Rev. Donald Ekerholm, and O.F. Taylor the principal of Robertsdale School. Some of the speakers included Dr. F.W. Bainbridge a member of the faculty of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Agnes Ellen Harris the Dean of Women at the University of Alabama, Mrs. Elizabeth Carmichael the Director of Family and Homelife Service at the University of Alabama.

         For the first ten years, the banquet was held in the Silverhill School auditorium, until the school was destroyed by fire on November 11, 1955. The 1956 and 1957 banquets were held at the PZK Hall. After the school cafeteria (block building present school office) was built, the dinner was served in the cafeteria as an eat-in or take-out meal, for the years 1958 through 1964. In 1965 and 1966, the banquets were held in the Baptist Church Multi-Purpose Building. From 1967 through 2001, the Robertsdale Coliseum was the location of the banquet. Beginning in 2002, the banquet has been held in the Silverhill School gym.

         In the years 1965 through 1975, the theme was changed to nationalities. Each table was decorated to represent various countries around the world, with 34 people seated at each table.

         In 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, the theme was the nation’s 200-year history. Each of ten tables was decorated to represent a 20-year time period in American history. A program was presented telling the history of the United States in song, dance, and skits.

         In 1977 and 1978, the “countries of the world” theme was continued. From 1979 through 2001, the original “months of the year” theme was once again used.

         Throughout the years, the audiences were thrilled to see teachers, students, and neighbors, both young and old, take the stage to perform. The audience never knew if the well-respected community leader on stage would perform a serious song or a ridiculously silly skit. For many years, a person from the community would be honored with a surprise “Silverhill Citizen of the Year” award. The occasion was a social highlight attended by many, including county school board members, local, county, and state dignitaries.

February 1988, Elsie Chandler, Dot Clark, Undine Taylor, Theresa Vasut (Mrs. Ramey), and Amy Wigstrom are dressed in their beach wear.
February 25, 1989, Founder's Day Banquet in the Robersdale Coliseum.

         With interest in Founder’s Day waning, the 2002 banquet was scaled down and moved to the school’s gym. The school’s students helped decorate the tables in a country, western theme.

         In 2003, the banquet theme celebrated the school’s 100th anniversary of state funded opertation. The tables were decorated with school colors of burgandy, white, gold and silver.

         Even on this smaller scale, nearly 300 tickets were sold, making it a large fund raising event for the school.

For more information on Silverhill School Founder's Day, Click here.

Silverhill School Founder's Day 1967
Article featured in the December 1967 issue of Dutch Kitchen Magazine, published in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Silverhill School Founder's Day 1968

Silverhill School Founder's Day 1969

Silverhill School Founder's Day 1971