Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Remembering Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa, members of the Class of 1933 who died before graduation

Not everyone who attended Madison Central High School graduated with his or her class. Two prominent members of the Class of 1933 -- Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa -- died before graduating. Both were honored in The Orange and Black yearbook.

The image below was created by merging scans of page 13 and page 31 of the yearbook. I decided to reproduce the full page images so you could see the memorial to these two students in context, rather than as an isolated clipping. As a result, you may also read a story about the June 1933 commencement ceremony, written by Aleen Anderson and Violet Jane Bagley; a short story by Virginia Oakey; and an uncredited poem.

Click on the image to enlarge it in your browser window. I will also transcribe the text from Olive Nelson's story about Banks and Canepa below the image (the better to capture the attention of search engines).

Two Prominent Members Lost to the Graduating Class
by Olive Nelson

The death of two of its members has twice caused the June graduating class to mourn the loss of a classmate and comrade. One was taken after a long illness which developed into pneumonia during the last few days; the other was taken shortly after an accident, while tumbling, in which his spine was injured. These two pupils, Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa, distinguished themselves especially in sports. They were known as good sports, always playing fair and always unselfish in allowing others to take their places. All their team mates enjoyed having them as part of the team. They worked industriously at their school work and have been missed greatly in their classes and other activities.

Freddie Lee Banks, home room 202, died Sunday afternoon, March 18, after a serious illness which had lasted approximately a month. The funeral was held Monday afternoon, March 19, in the Fitch-Lawrence funeral parlors. Central senior High school was closed from 12:30 to 1:10 Monday noon, as a tribute to Freddie Lee, a well-known and well-liked pupil.

Freddie Lee was a great athlete, having participated in girls' after-school sports during the three years that she attended Central. Miss Marguerite Shepard, physical education instructor, said this of her" "I think she was one of the best all-around athletes I have ever had in this school. Her sportsmanship was outstanding."

Along with sports Friddie Lee [sic] was well known because of her interest in music. She studied in the chorus class and was a member of the mixed chorus. She was talented as a pianist and had a promising voice.

The teachers who were well acquainted with her speak especially of her generosity, courtesy, kindliness, cheerfulness, and also her strength of character.

Christopher Canepa, better known as "Chris," died on May 4 after an injury contracted while he was tumbling and doing acrobatic stunts. The accident happened on the night of May 3.

"Chris" was an expert boxer, having participated in the boxing contests during both his senior and junior years. In the contests, held this year and only a short time before his death, he won the flyweight championship from other boxers at Central. Following this he competed at West and won the decision in that bout. He also conquered the Vocational flyweight contest.

During his first two years in Central Senior High school he was a manager if the football and basketball teams. He earned his letter "M" as a result of his work in this position.

With four of his brothers he competed in other towns in acrobatic contents which were sponsored by the Y.M.C.A. With his brother John he often gave acrobatic exhibitions at P.T.A. meetings. His four brothers, Phil, Toto, Tony, and John now find it necessary to change some of their routines and find themselves much handicapped by his absence.

Notes: I do not have copies of published newspaper obituaries for either of these students. Please contact me if you have one, so I may make a copy for the alumni obituary archives. Special thanks to Jan Aulik for providing a complete set of photocopies of the 1933 and 1934 Orange and Black yearbooks. Jan's mother, Laurene Meyer, was a member of the Madison Central High School Class of 1934.

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