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Tulsa Central High School Senior Class Poem of 1951
Tulsa Central High School
This Senior Class Poem of 1951 appears on page 4 of the Tulsa Central High School newspaper for Friday, May 18, 1951, which a former classmate, Rosella Orf Morton of Tulsa generously sent me on March 10, 1996. I read this class poem before an auditorium full of our assembled graduating class of 853 seniors. Ms. Lev-Ellen Gilliam, my beloved 12th grade English teacher, had recommended me for this honor. Mrs. Edna Weeks, the Senior Class Counselor, later told me that during the reading the principal Mr. Black leaned over to her and asked, “Who wrote that?“ and Mrs. Weeks replied, “Max did,“ and she said he was amazed. It never occurred to me in those days to doubt the truth of such a story, because no one dared to question the formidable Mrs. Weeks who not only taught American history but proudly carried a season ticket for all games of the Tulsa Oilers baseball team. On the same page 4, however, it says, “Max Havlich [sic] received an $800 scholarship from East Texas Baptist College.” Even then, I knew poets would get little respect.
Senior Class Poem of 1951
Central High School, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Momentous progress never comes upon
The notice of a single instant. Days
Are all the same in life, but only one
Must hold our thrills and tears and hopes, the maze
That Life bestows, through which each student goes.
The yonder Spirit, known for seeking help above,
Must stands for these: an education first,
And then an honest life that’s daily filled with Love.
Our student duties filled our hearts and minds
With learning. Much that time has proven right
Was set before us by our teachers. Some
Was left untaught by them so we could find
That path to treasures deeper still. We owe
Our life to those whose aid, however slight,
Instructed us from step to step -- thus far.
Behind the books, the thing that age can’t mar --
Our mixing with experience -- is memory.
Remember when you had no friends at all?
Remember your first heartache over Love?
Remember talking first with God above?
Remember writing notes with incoherent scrawl?
Remember when you first observed an August moon?
Remember when you could not stop that crazy tune?
Remember now and never let these fall
From you, though Destiny should beckon you
And threaten to enslave you in his call.
Upon this day our lives are poised. From now
We sail down living streams in hand-made yachts
Toward ultimate perfection, but the probing prow
We carved, protected on the shore, is not
To reach that Sea of Right without the help of God.
Although the woody banks appear the same
To some, refreshing joys, with but a touch
Of newness, rest our aching flesh and claim
Our hearts. Thus education saves us from disaster.
Max Havlick, Jr.
With minor editing of punctuation and two words at Villa Park, Illinois, June 30, 2011. Copyright © June 2011 by Max J. Havlick, Writers Workshop, The Max Havlick School of Personal Creation and World Citizenship, a project of New World Community Enterprises, Inc., 16 West Vermont St., Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved (30 min. from O'Hare Airport). Permission granted here to make exact copies of this page that include the explanatory note and copyright notice.