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February 2, 1977

PIX:  Geraldine Himburg - Wrote the lyrics for the FHS alma mater
      J.W. Wainwright - Wrote the music for the FHS alma mater

If you are a parent and have a youngster attending Fostoria High School,
ask him or her who wrote the alma mater.  If you did not attend FHS you may
not know yourself.  Or, to make the situation a little more ridiculous, you
may have attended FHS and still not know who wrote it.

In fact, it may not even be a fair question, since it was written so many
years ago ... more than 50.

The music was written by J.W. Wainwright and the lyrics by Geraldine Himburg
in 1919.  She was a member of the FHS graduating class of 1919 and
valedictorian of her class.

Remembering the situation that prompted her part of the arrangement she
repeated it in a recent letter to the author of this column. 

"One day Wainwright stood on the stage and said, `This school needs an alma
mater.  If one of you students will write the words, I will put it to music.
It will be a contest, and I'll pay the winner $5.'

"When my words were chosen, I could hardly believe it."  Himburg added.  The
song was first sung at commencement in 1919.

Jim Rowles, known to many Fostorians, is the nephew of Himburg.

Wainwright was a newcomer to Fostoria ... started the school band, a concert
in music which eventually swept the nation's schools; more about that subject
at another time.

Miss Himburg became a teacher and taught for many years in the Hamilton
school system.  She is still a resident there.

Each time my graduating class had reunions - four times in 50 years - we sang
with gusto ...

Devotions to Fostoria High across the space of time,
Her noble sons and daughters sing her praise in every clime.
They clamber to the ladder's top for choicest fruits each year,
They bow in homage at the shrine, their alma mater dear.

So there you have the story that probably hasn't been retold for nearly 60




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