Out of the Archives: OCHS students took interest in oil and gas

From staff reports

As the oil and gas industry thrived over the years in the Oil Valley, its success prompted a large number of Oil City High School students to enroll in the school’s oil and gas field of study.

In the 1940-41 school term, the industry jobs were further enhanced with growing signs that the U.S. would be drawn into the war in Europe, an endeavor that would depend hugely on ensuring the nation could produce copious and steady supplies of fuel.

Mindful of that, the 1941 Oil Can staff departed from what it described as “the must” entries in a typical yearbook and instead focused on celebrating their hometown and its industries.

The theme also highlighted the time-honored title – the Oil Can – of the annual yearbook.

In a preface, the staff, led by editor Ben Magdovitz, wrote: “The theme is in accord with the economic life of our home town. We have attempted to draw a parallel in our school life to that of the great oil industry. Production, transportation, refining, and distribution are the four pillars upon which we have built the contents of this book.”

It continued, “The theme of this book places the students in the role of the raw product to be refined.”

The theme was accented by numerous photographs of the local oil and gas industry. The entries include pictures of Drake Well, Oil Creek Valley refineries, McClintock Well, railroad tank cars and more.

Taking top billing were photographs of the oil and gas students in the opening pages of the yearbook.

The Oil and Gas Club photograph carried the caption: “Its purpose is to give students an opportunity to learn oil field production; transportation and refining practices; to afford a better understanding of materials and processes of oil refining; to develop a skill in the use of oil field tools and equipment; and to build habits of industry, initiative, economy and cooperation.”

The Oil City High School class of 1941 numbered 327 students.

The 1941 Oil Can was dedicated to staff yearbook advisor Beryl Eddy “with the greatest regard and highest estimation for her, both as a teacher and a genuine friend.”