Alumni reminisce about traditions


Over time, almost everything changes. Technology changes, fashion changes, people change and so does Duncan High School.

Throughout the years, many traditions have changed, and some have stayed the same. In order to think of new traditions, sometimes it is best to look at the past.

Glennes Jenkins graduated from Duncan High School in 1946, the year that the first Crossman award was given. The Demon Den was built, and coach Billy Stamps led the football team to win a state title.

“Kids now wish they could have gone to school when we were there,” Jenkins said. “There was so much spirit.”

Back then, DHS was located where today’s EDGE Academy is, and students would attend starting in the 10th grade. The girls were only allowed to wear dresses or skirts, and segregation was a big factor.

Across from the school was a little place called the Demon Den, where all the kids would go after school to visit with their friends and buy a snack.

“The Demon Den was really great because we could go and get out, yet people knew where we were,” Jenkins said. “So no one was worried.”

Since America was fighting in World War Two at the time, there were shortages in items such as sugar, chocolate and gasoline.

Because of the shortages in gas, each family only had one car, and normally the husband in the family would take that car to work.

“Every day my friends and I would have to walk clear over from Emerson School to get to the high school. Then, during lunch, since we didn’t have a cafeteria, we would have to walk there and back another time,” Jenkins said. “After school, we would have to walk home again. I think that’s why we were all so skinny!”

A big deal back then was to be in the pep club. The pep club would get the whole school ready and excited for the football games every Friday night. They would all sit together in the student section of Halliburton Stadium and dress in all red.

“Everyone was there!” Jenkins said. “The cheerleaders had everyone pepped up, we were all wearing our red, the stadium was packed. It was so full of spirit.”

But, to have a great student section, there has to be a great team to get it fired up. In 1946, Stamps and his undefeated football team won a state championship.

An honor that every girl at DHS wanted was to be crowned the the hobo queen.

On hobo day,girls from each class would meet down at the train station dressed as terribly as they possibly could be and take a picture. They would then return to the school where each girl would walk down the basketball court; the winner was chosen by who recieved the most applause.

“My senior year I actually was the hobo queen,” Jenkins said. “I can just remember walking down the court with a garlic necklace on and my tattered clothes and hearing all the applause. People were just used to seeing all of the girls all dressed up. It was just so unusual, but it was a huge honor!”

Being in a social club was also a big deal back then. Lucky Circle and the Cheetah Charms were the two everyone wanted to be in.

“Cheetah Charms was important. It is pretty much what Jolly Jills is today, but then, Jolly Jills was a junior high club. All my friends were in the Cheetah Charms, and we would go over to each other’s houses and have our meetings and luncheons,” Jenkins said. “But, at the end of my senior year, the principal pulled us out of class and told us we had to quit it because we were too snobby. But, the year after, the Jolly Jills decided to become a high school club. We were so mad. We never should have quit that. And Lucky Circle got to stay too.”

The biggest award of all is the Crossman. In 1946, the very first Crossman Award was given to Wayne Koehninger. It is given to a student that has all around excelled at Duncan High School. This award is still just as big of an honor today.

In 1968, Gay Cox was a senior.

The school was still located at the EDGE, tennis was the only sport that girls could play, and there were six cheerleaders.

Cox was one of the six cheerleaders.

“We didn’t have a drill team, or a pom squad, so it was a really big deal to be on that cheerleading squad. My junior year I got to be the alternate. The alternate would dress up as a demon and be the mascot,” Cox said. “My senior year I got to be on the squad. And there was a freshman cheerleading squad, but the freshmen were still at the junior high back then.”

Because the school was located where the EDGE is today, instead of having their school pep rallies in the gym, they were outside of the old courthouse on 10th Street, and sometimes outside of Ward Mall.

“After our pep rallies, we would do a snake dance down main street,” Cox said. “Everyone would join in.”

Homecoming parades would also be held on main street every year the day of the homecoming football game. Each class would decorate a float, and someone would judge. Naturally, the seniors won every year.

“Now, hobo day wasn’t around anymore, but the pep club was still a very big deal,” Cox said. “Every game the girls would all sit together in their red blazers and cheer the football and basketball boys on.”

The football team was good in 1968, but the basketball team was what everyone loved to watch because they were so good.

“The boys were good that year, and it would make the other schools so mad,” Cox said. “One game after we beat Lawton, the teams got together after the game in the parking lot, and someone decided to throw a punch. Both teams got into this huge fight. The next day, I remember all the boys came back to school with black eyes.”

Back then, the only sport that girls could play for the school was tennis.

Suzy Shields is a 1979 graduate. During her time at DHS, girls sports were becoming bigger, everyone was watching “Happy Days, freshmen moved to high school and the football team won back-to-back state titles.

“Our sports were a really big deal when I was there. Back then, Duncan was just a 3A school, but 4A was the biggest class,” Shields said. “Our football team was good enough to win the state championship two years in a row (1977 and 1978). Boys basketball was so-so. Tennis was pretty good. And we were always really good in wrestling. I remember two or three of our guys won the state championship (Ronnie Schlittler and Carnell Dean).”

Shields was a member of the first girls golf team, which formed in 1978. In 1979 the first softball team was formed. By then, the girls could also play basketball and run track.

“We pretty much had all of the girls sports by my senior year, but a lot of girls just wanted to be cheerleaders or be on the drill team,” Shields said. “The drill team had started not long before I got to high school.”

The drill team was a team of girls that would sit in the stands during football and basketball games and do hand motions with their poms and perform kickline dances.

“There were about 50 of us,” Shields said. “The drill team was huge.”

By the time Shields got to high school, the pep club was getting smaller.

“We had a pep club, but it was just really small,” she said. “Not many people did it anymore. I don’t know why.”

The homecoming parade became a huge deal during the time she was there. Each class was still decorating a float.

“The bigger the float the better. My senior year, we built this huge trojan horse and one of the girls from my class decided to ride on the top in a demon costume,” Shields said. “She had to climb on top of ropes and wires just to get to the top. It was ginormous.”

Outside of school, all the kids would race the drag or go to the drive-in theatre. The drag was a strip down highway 81 that would go from Sonic to A&W.

“Basically we just wasted gas, but we always had fun,” Shields said.

Daphne Goodson is a 1987 graduate. Her time at Duncan High was filled with Catholic Church dances on Friday nights, Godfather’s Pizza, and watching the Demons win 27 straight football games.

“Everyone went to the football games,” Goodson said. “They were packed, and there was never an empty seat.”

DHS had their the longest winning streak in Duncan football history and won back-to-back state titles in 1983 and 1984 under head coach, Charlie Lynch.

“Those are the nights I will never forget,” Goodson said.

Every Friday night, students packed the stands to see if their Demons could keep the streak alive. All the students sat in the student section, the cheerleaders cheered from the sideline, the band sat next to the student section playing non-stop and the drill team did gloved hand routines next to them. After the games, all the students would rush on to the field to sing “DHS Forever” and go to the Catholic Church for a dance.

Every game was a big deal, but none was bigger than homecoming.

The week of homecoming, Duncan had many activities students could participate in. There was a homecoming parade, with floats decorated by each class, a door decorating contest, a bonfire the night before the game, the actual game and the homecoming dance.

“Mums were a huge part of homecoming also,” Goodson said.

Mums are giant corsages decorated with long ribbons that had gold, plastic footballs attached.

“The bigger and fancier the mum the better,” Goodson said. “They just completed everything.”

When there was not a dance or athletic event going on, kids went to Godfather’s Pizza to play on the video game machines, raced the drag, went skating or watched movies at the Palace Theatre.

“We had so much fun every Friday and Saturday night,” Goodson said. “There didn’t have to be a football game going for us to have fun.”

Some of Duncan High School’s traditions have stayed the same from generation to generation, and many have changed. From the Hobo Queen to homecoming bonfires, each tradition has made Duncan High into what it is today.