Former Supt. R. B. Fisher Wrote “Dear Old Pampa High School”

For seventy years Pampa High School students have been singing the school song, “Dear Old Pampa High School,” but many do not know its history. The words were written about 1930 by R. B. Fisher, superintendent of Pampa schools at that time.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

The school song is sung to the melody of the chorus of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” words by Beth Slater Whitson and music by Leo Friedman. Published in 1910, the song became an all-time hit and was the sure-fire opening for almost any community singing group for many years. Ruth Greene remembered that the pep squad approved the selection of “Dear Old Pampa High School” as the school song. Several Pampans remember an assembly in the new gymnasium (corner North Cuyler and West Browning) when copies of the song were distributed and Superintendent Fisher sang it for the student body.

The words appeared in the Harvester (high school annual) for the first time in 1931. Roy B. Fisher received the A. B. degree from Northwestern Teachers’ College in Alva, Oklahoma in 1924 and was superintendent of schools in Cherokee, Okla- homa for two years before he came to Pampa in August of 1927. For two years he was principal of the high school, taught algebra classes and did his own secre- tarial work. He was promoted to superintendent of schools for the year 1929-30 and continued in that capacity until January 1938 when he resigned to become superintendent of schools in Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 1, 1938. Fisher received the Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1933 and made an educational tour of Europe in the summer of 1935.

In 1937 Pampa teachers presented him with a life membership in the National Education Associa- tion. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Sigma, educational fra- ternities, and he was a Mason, president of the Lions club and a member of the Methodist church where he directed the choir for several years. Fisher and his wife Gertrude lived at 806 North Somerville for several years before they built the house at 900 North Somerville.

At the beginning of Fisher’s first year in Pampa there were 40 teachers and 1629 students in the whole system. When he left in 1938, there were 125 teachers and 3500 students. He came before the east and west wings were added to the high school build- ing at 126 West Francis. Woodrow Wilson had not been built, but B. M. Baker and Horace Mann were under construction. High school athletes were playing basketball on the grounds of the future courthouse and football on the old airport grounds (Lefors Street at the northeast corner of Twiford). Fisher had a great deal to do with the planning of the auditorium of the beautiful new high school building at 111 East Harvester. The entire curriculum of the Pampa schools was completely revised several times while Fisher was superintendent and the 12-year grade system was installed.

His primary consideration in planning the curriculum was finding better ways with which to improve the personalities of the students. He inaugurated physical education, art and socialized recitations into the Pampa school system. L. L. Sone, high school principal who succeeded Fisher as superintendent, said, “Mr. Fisher has welded together the efforts of the entire faculty and has gained loyal support from every individual. His motto has always been, `Be happy in your work.’

One among many outstanding things that he has done is that of promoting music in the system through the bands and glee clubs. He has pioneered the field of band work in the elementary schools.” Underneath his picture in the 1937 Harvester this caption appears: “R. B. Fisher, our superintendent, who gives to his administration of the Pampa Public Schools the viewpoint of a scholar, a man of practical experience, and an idealist.”

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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