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Memoires From Steele High

This article appeared in the Dayton Daily News on August 8, 2003


 Pride still strong 65 years after graduation

By Roz Young

            Graduation time is a chance to reminisce. Memories of old Steele High School have been strong in the mind of Alter Rafner, who would have been in the Steele High class of 1937, but he had to drop out a year because of the illness of his parents. He returned to school the next year and graduated as an honor student.
            There was a 65th reunion of the 1938 class at the Dayton Mall Holiday Inn the weekend of July 12 and 13, but Rafner was unable to attend because he is in a nursing home. Mentally he is fine; he reads the Dayton Daily News every day and works the crossword puzzle. He also writes poetry. Three of his poems are published every month in Leisure Times , and the nursing home puts one of his poems in their bulletin every month. It helps his morale to see his creativity published monthly. His wife, Ruth, had a framed limited edition print by Pat Whipp of his alma mater to surprise him.
            `The school's architecture was imported from Europe,' Rafner wrote, `and when completed looked like a castle. It was a towered and turreted gem of a building. The school symbol was a lion. The bronze lion sculpture graced the front cement steps leading from the pavement to the front door. In the early 1940s Steele High School, which had been named for Robert Steele, a Dayton educator, was torn down to be replaced by a parking garage. My wife Ruth obtained a brick from the school to have as a memento.
            `I was one of the four boys with all A's. Mary Lubin Dicken was also an honor student in our class. Her father, Ralph, was a tailor and ran a drycleaning store known as R. Lubin and Sons. Their store was next door to the Wright brothers' bicycle shop. Mr. Lubin and the Wright brothers were very close friends.
            `Steele High School's interior might have been renovated with proper consideration. Perhaps with some vivid, vibrant vision, it could have been perpetuated as a museum. Haunting memories lingered, as we climbed each weathered stair.
            `Before city and suburban malls were built, Steele and Stivers high school athletic rivalry was intense. Our school colors were red and black.'
            There are a few of us old Steele High people still around. I was in the class of 1930 and I wouldn't be surprised if we turned up a number of Steele graduates of even earlier days. Alter sent copies of the Steele High School alma mater, which I sing every now and then when I think of it, and the fight song, which has vanished from my memory.


Cheer for Steele High School

Hail her bright name.

Deep in our hearts

Will her memory remain.

Forever down through the ages

Praises shall sound.

Fairest school in the land

Ever her name shall stand

Ever her name be renowned.



Steele is our name

Steele stands for fame

Students, teachers, all together

Working, striving, shirking never

Hear the lion's roar

Then watch our score

Rush them, crush them

Tear down the field

For dear old Steele.

Rah, Rah, Rah.