Miami High First Commencement in 1904

Postcard of Miami School and Auditorium in 1904.

Cover: Postcard of Miami School and Auditorium in 1904.

On June 6, 1904, Miami High School’s first commencement took place. There were a total three graduates.

In the fall of 1903, there were forty nine students that made up the student body of the Miami High School. The high school students shared the grammar school and auditorium until 1905. There was a total of four hundred students enrolled in the grammar school in 1903.

Only thirty students remained enrolled at the high school at the conclusion of the school year in June of 1904. The attrition was mostly attributed to families moving out of the area or leaving for the summer before the end of the school year.

There were four students that qualified for graduation in June of 1904. However, one of the students, Ethel Clancy, dropped out of the graduation ceremonies due to an illness. The three that participated in the commencement ceremony were: Ida Grace Rader, Florence Stephens and Ralph Rader.

All grades of Miami School in front of the Royal Palm Hotel in 1904.

Figure 1: All grades of Miami School in front of the Royal Palm Hotel in 1904.

The school auditorium was decorated with plants and flowers in preparation for commencement. There was an overflow crowd and people standing in the aisles. The auditorium was expanded in the summer of 1903 and every square foot was needed on this day.

The presenter of diplomas was William Burdine, founder of W.M. Burdine & Son dry goods store. Despite the modest infrastructure at the time, the event was fondly remembered by the three students who graduated on that day.

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Resources

Book: “The Stingaree Century”, Howard Kleinberg

Miami Metropolis: “Commencement Exercises”, May 13, 1904

Photos

Cover: Postcard of Miami School and Auditorium in 1904.

Figure 1: All grades of Miami School in front of the Royal Palm Hotel in 1904. Courtesy of Florida Memory.