“F is for Falls High School”

Here is the second page I created on New Year’s Eve. It’s called “F is for Falls High School.”


Grandma Alice was a 1928 graduate of Sheboygan Falls High School. She graduated a short time after her 19th birthday in May of that year.

In the late 1920’s, most states required that all students attend high school, but only until they’d reached age 16. A large number of students did not continue all the way to twelfth grade, much less graduate. Many left school early to assist in supporting their families by working in factories or on farms.

Grandma Alice’s parents placed a high value on education, and strongly believed all three of their daughters should attend high school–and earn their diplomas. It wouldn’t be easy, however. Their farm was located on an unpaved road several miles from the nearest high school, and the modes of transportation available at the time were far from fast or reliable, especially during the treacherous Wisconsin winters.


Fortunately, one of Alice’s aunts, who had married into a well-off family, presented a viable option. She and her husband ran a dry-goods store in nearby Sheboygan Falls, and offered to allow Alice and her sisters to board with them in their residence above the store during the school year while they attended Falls High, which was considered to be one of the best in the area. This meant that each Sunday, the girls’ father would drive them (usually in a horsedrawn buggy or sleigh) eight miles to town, and then pick them up the following Friday so they could return to the farm for the weekend.

I remember Grandma Alice telling me that she hadn’t been in favor of the proposal at first because she didn’t want to be separated from her parents, but it turned out to be a good situation for her. She adjusted well to city life. She was able to walk to and from school, participate in extracurricular activities, and socialize with her many friends. She could go to the movies and attend parties and dances.

There were only 35 students in Grandma Alice’s graduating class. Here is the description that appeared next to her photograph in the 1928 yearbook, Pangissin, which she helped to publish:


Falls High School would play a prominent role in the history of my family. My father and aunt would graduate from SFHS in the early 1960’s, and my sister and I would be third-generation Falcons. By the time I graduated from Falls in the late 1990’s, each class had approximately 120 students, and the kids who lived on the same rural road where my grandmother had grown up were able to jump in their cars and arrive at school in fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, Grandma Alice passed away during my senior year, only six months before I was set to walk across the stage and receive my diploma–69 years after she’d received hers.

This page was created upon a background of black gesso and stamped acrylic paint. It features patterned paper in the school colors of purple and gold, vintage textbook pages, a vintage high school class schedule from the 1928-29 school year, a scrap from a shorthand exercise book, ephemera, lace, Washi tape, a lace flower, rub-ons, stickers, a photo corner, and a white gel pen; Grandma Alice’s graduation photo serves as the focal image.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!


About Jenny Petricek

I am a mixed-media artist who loves collage, bookmaking, journaling, and memory art.
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4 Responses to “F is for Falls High School”

  1. Cheryl says:

    I am loving your project as well as Grandma Alice. I really like this page for its ephemera, the math, the shorthand, etc. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Cheryl!! I enjoyed making this page a lot, as I had lots of ephemera to add that worked well with it. The class schedule was something I picked up a few years back at a local antique shop, and it was serendipitous that it was from the correct year! 🙂


  2. Such a gorgeous post and wonderful to learn about your Grandma. She was born the year after my Mom. I love heritage mixed media art and this is just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! I think my favorite art projects are the personal ones like this, where I can create something beautiful, while at the same time, preserving my family history for myself and future generations. I learn so much from studying and researching and asking my parents and other relatives for information, and I come away with a much better understanding of myself, where I come from–and most of all, who I come from! 🙂


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