Miami High First Commencement in 1904

Miami High School in 1904

Cover: Miami High School 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. However, 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.

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

Miami School Students in 1904

Figure 1: Miami School Students in 1904

The school auditorium was decorated with plants and flowers in preparation for commencement. Despite the auditorium being expanded in the summer of 1903, there was an overflow crowd that packed it on this day. Every square foot of the room was needed to accommodate those who attended graduation on that 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.

Click Here to Subscribe



  • Book: “The Stingaree Century”, Howard Kleinberg.
  • Miami Metropolis: “Commencement Exercises”, May 13, 1904.


  • 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.