Halloween 1955 in St. J.

To the Editor:

Though an earlier letter to the editor (Sept. 9, 2015) briefly touched on the following subject matter, some sixty-five years later the time is ripe for a look back to a laudable act of charity by faculty and students of the former St. Johnsbury Junior High School on Western Avenue to assist a flood damaged community in southern New England.

In August 1955, following back-to-back deluges of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Connie and Hurricane Diane, flood waters ravaged many cities and towns in the State of Connecticut. Specific to the city of Derby, Ct., on August 19, 1955 the Naugatuck River crested and wrought destructive flooding and property damage within the city.

Meanwhile, back in St. Johnsbury, with the encouragement of the faculty, the St. Johnsbury Jr. High School “pupils, 200 of them, adopted Derby [as a city to help] because the Connecticut community of 10,000 persons is about the same size of St. Johnsbury” (“St. Johnsbury, Vt., Junior High Pupils Send Derby Halloween Flood Aid Gift,” Hartford Courant, Thur. Nov. 3, 1955, at p. 15). The Scale City junior high schoolers (in consultation with the faculty) decided to use the Halloween 1955 holiday as a vehicle to help the citizens of Derby. Accordingly, “[t]he students went out [on] Halloween night and divided [St. Johnsbury] into eight districts […] Instead of [trick or treating for] candy and fruit, however, the youngsters asked for money for flood-stricken Derby. By the end of the drive, they had collected $350.56 […][A] check was sent to the Mayor of Derby with a request that money be used ‘to help some children about our age.’” (Ibid.)

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