Q&A with BHS Graduate of ’43

By Jack Fischer

Bill SharmanBill Sharman graduated from Briarcliff in 1943. He lived on Pleasantville Road where the post office is now. In high school, he played violin in the orchestra, sang in the chorus, played varsity football and was Assistant Editor of The Briarcliff Bulletin newspaper.

Briarcliff Bulletin: When you were there, the high school was over where the Atria is currently, do you have any distinct memories of it?

Bill Sharman: Well, I went all the way from kindergarten through high school in that building. The [elementary] school was in the front, which was the original building and then a court between that building and the new one in the back which was the high school. And they had locker rooms down in the lower floor, and classrooms on the first and second floor. I remember one time I had a math class and we went in and put the chairs and the tables all the way from the door all the way to the window and climbed out the window, and then they couldn’t get the door open … and of course the teacher knew who was responsible.

BB: I think a class just did that to a young teacher.

Briarcliff HS where Atria is today
Photo Courtesy BMSHS

BS: (Laughs) 7th and 8th grade we had French and Latin, both. There were the shows put on by students, but nothing to the extent they have now. I just watched The Music Man the other weekend. They had home economics, the guys took classes in cooking and typing. My younger daughter had the same typing teacher I did. My two kids had the same kindergarten teacher I did. She taught for 35 years, that’s really something. Mrs. Duncomb, Helena Duncomb.

BB: The Bulletin is still going strong, what can you tell us about its early days?

BS: Well we had to type everything out on a mimeograph machine that put it on paper so you could draw on it too, and then that would run through the print machine, all by hand by the way, so that it would be four pages all together. About once a week.

BB: Wow, we publish about five times a year.

BS: Yeah published once a week, the usual stuff was the news that was going on, the sports scores, a column that I wrote part time with jokes and stuff. We had the sports editor … in that time of course the only sports we had were football, baseball, basketball, and nothing else. The gals had basketball and field hockey, maybe they played softball at one point.

BB: And when was all this?

Modern Briarcliff Bulletin

BS: It was 1943 I graduated so I was working on the paper ’42, ’41 … I was assistant editor, a friend of mine was assistant business manager, we took over the whole paper on April Fools’ Day and ran the whole thing ourselves … Typed it up, did the whole thing, some of the stuff we did backwards so you had to read it in a mirror.

BB: So that’s where the April Fools’ tradition has come from where we publish satire?

BS: Yeah it was kinda fun, we had a good time, we had about a half a dozen people working on it maybe. [The Bulletin now has a staff of over 30.] I still have a copy, it was actually the April Fools’ copy I think.

BB: What was the most important thing you published?

BS: (Pause) Probably the April Fools’ thing.

BB: Are there any big stories you remember? Ever break a story?

BS: No not really, things were pretty quiet back then.

BB: I think they’re pretty quiet today.

BS: (Laughs)

BB: Were there pep rallies back then?

BS: Yeah we had bonfires and whatnot, pep rally before the football games … In ’42 or ’43 the football team was undefeated, untied, unscored upon … that was the year I dropped off the team, that’s probably why … eventually I went off to the service and then college.

BB: So this will go out to the whole high school and a lot of people online, do you have anything you wish someone told you when you were in high school?

BS: (Long pause) High school is one of the best times of your life, it’s also a time when you can really get a head start on things … so if you apply yourself, and I know I came out of high school not knowing what I wanted to do, but if you get a good education, it’ll set you up for the rest of your life, make friendships that go on forever … right now I only got a few left of mine.

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