The Lakewood High School Class of 1974 occupies a unique place in the city of Lakewood Ohio's public school system; and the city itself. Lakewood High School was originally built to address the needs of the spiraling number of Lakewood's high school age students; which resulted from the city's rapid population growth. Lakewood High School first opened its doors to those teenagers in 1919.
Lakewood High School began as a 3-year high school for classes of grades 10-12. A half century later, the school was academically and structurally expanded to include the 9th grade; classes previously conducted in the city's Junior High schools. The construction of new school buildings; and renovation of existing school buildings resulted in a "campus" school setting. In the Autumn of 1970, Lakewood High School reopened for classes as a 4-year high school; the 1st of its kind in the Greater Cleveland region.
The Lakewood High School Class Of 1974 represents the First 9th Grade Freshman class of the newly expanded high school.
This expansion heralded major change in several ways. First, the sheer number of students, teaching staff & school support staff occupying a single public school grew to almost 5000 people. With 4 grades now being taught at the high school level; and the number of school buildings, Lakewood High School became similar to a 4-year college in a campus-like setting. From this expansion, a small city grew within the larger city of Lakewood. High school evolved into a daily commute to a virtual village.
Along with the construction of the "New Building", vocational trade buildings were built to provide schooling in skilled trades for post-high school employment. Further, two existing school buildings were joined to become the Arts Building; where Art and Music programs were taught in a "real world" professional atmosphere. Finally, the existing school sports facilities were expanded & renovated to support the needs of a dramatically larger student body & faculty. The sum of these actions represented a major philosophical departure from previous traditional schooling methods.
In this new campus-like school setting, the overall safety of the student body, faculty, and support staff was entrusted to another new Lakewood High School element - School Security - under the friendly ever-watchful gaze of two men who need little introduction - Mr. Andrejcek & Mr. Schmidt. "Andrejcek & Schmitty"; as many of us called them, seemed to be everywhere at any given moment across the campus. Always quick with a joke and a vise-grip handshake, these two men herded and wrangled a small city of people to and from their destinations; while setting a standard for job performance none have matched since their time. Who knows what dangers they averted that none of us had any idea were even present. Just two men looking out for every one of us ...
Everything at Lakewood High School during the 1970-1974 time period seemed brand new; even the older school buildings, and the existing Lakewood Civic Auditorium. The auditorium; nicknamed "Johnny Appleseed", was also incorporated into the "New Building" design. Doing so further expanded its daily use by students for school activities, allowing the stellar Drama & Music teaching faculty to stage professional-quality productions and concerts.
The new school design was progressive thinking for that time period, and suggested some real thought occurred and a new teaching philosophy began during the planning of the new Lakewood High School. This newness was also seen in the renovated school stadium, the pool facility, and other sports-related areas like the track & tennis courts. During the 1970 school year, there was even a student smoking area on premises. Unbelievable!
Change from new construction was occurring elsewhere in Lakewood during the 1970s; as these photos from 1970 suggest. By then, the majority of the southern neighborhood streets of Lakewood bordering Cleveland were demolished for the ongoing construction of the new I-90 highway that would provide easier access to and from Cleveland's western suburbs from other existing highways in the Greater Cleveland region and beyond.
But - Before the Interstate-90 highway officially opened, it had other purposes. During that time of change, more than a few of us utilized that stretch of yet unfinished highway going through Lakewood as our personal teenage playground, racetrack, and hangout spot - just for our own teenage thrill-seeker entertainment ...
In retrospect, the beginnings of future changes in society have their roots in changes occurring during the 1970s; even in Lakewood. How we view ourselves and others in the world, along with the many concerns and issues of today's society; are themselves familiar echoes of the many issues that were prevalent during our 1970s youth.
Compared to today's world, everyday life during the early 1970s was far less complex in several respects. The '70s were free of cell phones, the internet, email, endless channels of cable tv; and the other advances in technology taken for granted today. As a society, youth of all ages spent more time outdoors. And, spontaneous extreme public violence was relatively unheard of; except for tv & movies.
During the early morning and later night hours of the early 1970s, no TV broadcasts occurred. Remember??
Meet me out back on Robinwood ...
AND - one of the very best parts of those '70s days were the World Series Of Rock concerts that began in the summer of 1974. Good Times!!
Oh ... and then there's that place called "Freak's Field" in the "Valley" ...
Down by the "Green Barn" ...