In 1930, SI applied for membership in the California Scholarship Federation and formed its first Honor Society, Chapter 211 of the CSF. According to The Heightsof that year, the group was “a junior part of the International Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and any high school member enjoys the help of that body upon his entrance into college.” The first five members that year were William Dowling, William Dunbar, James Gallen, George Myers and John O’Connell. In 1942, Edward L. Burke ’42, who later served for a time as a Jesuit and a professor at USF, won the CSF’s highest prize, the Seymour Memorial Award, honoring him for being the top male student in the state.
Marching for ROTC & Jeans
Fr. King, principal from 1932–1945, added a Military Training Unit to the curriculum in 1935, the genesis of the ROTC program. While students participated in it by the hundreds, they still had a rebellious streak. In March 1937, 50 students came to class wearing blue jeans to protest the strict dress code. When they were told to go home and change, they walked outside and sat in the street. The Examiner ran a picture of the students on March 19 with a “Strike for Jeans” sign during their sit-in, and the caption noted that “for a while, they sat in the street wearing out the jeans at strategic points. But all of them were back in class by noon” and that “the principal called it a lark.” Those boys spent a day in JUG for every class period they missed.
Speech & Debate
Debate continued to be a primary extracurricular activity. In 1934, SI took on Bellarmine over this proposition: “Resolved, that Hitler is a benefit to Germany.” Debaters in the Senate, the senior debating society, gathered first at SI and then at Bellarmine for two nights of arguments. Bellarmine defended the proposition, arguing that Hitler had “checked communism” and had “been a benefit to Germany, financially.” SI countered, with Jack Clifford arguing that Hitler’s government “was one of oppression,” Jack Wade noting that Hitler had “fostered race hatred,” and Jack Barbieri pointing to the trade wall erected by Hitler. SI won that debate round, though it lost the following day to Bellarmine.6