60 years later, class of ‘57 reflects on their years in Colt Country


Emily Miller

Robert Miles, class of 1957, shares stories about his time at AHS and how his class still participates in the school today through the Alumni Association.

Known for it’s “first here, best here” motto, Arlington High School has seen thousands of students graduate, but the traditions and Colt culture that is so familiar with us now didn’t always take place on the corner of Park Row and Cooper. In 1957, a class of approximately 250 seniors became the first class to graduate from our beloved building, which has since undergone several major renovations and additions. This year, the class of 1957 is celebrating it’s 60th reunion. The class has stayed unusually united over the past 60 years, having class lunches on the first Saturday of every month. The Colt sat down with several members of the class of 1957 to ask about their time in high school, how AHS has changed in the last 60 years, and what students now should take away from their experiences as a Colt.

The Colt: What was your high school life like in 1957?

Robert Miles: We had a pretty good class. I got into the Choraliers and was already in the band, so I stayed in the middle of things that were going on. I had a job over at the A&P store where I’d make money, and then I’d spend all the money on dating, the movies and whatnot. That was a great experience for me.

Paula Crossmen: I made a lot of good friends and kept them through the years. We all went to the same elementary school together before we went to high school. And it was just a real plus, I thought, that our claim to fame was that we were the first seniors to graduate from the new Arlington High School on Park Row. I enjoyed some classes, and some classes I didn’t necessarily enjoy. I babysat a lot to make money so that I could go to the movies.

Martin Ross: I always enjoyed playing in the band and going to football games, but it was the after school dances that were really special. Everybody came up here…and had good clean fun. Everybody came. Everybody.

TC: What were some of the things you did for fun?

RM: We used to go to a place called the Broaster Nook over on Abram. We’d go there for sodas and dates. It was a hangout place, sort of like a Dairy Queen. We all really enjoyed going there and there are lots of memories attached to that. That was the big thing, when you wanted to hang out you went to the Broaster Nook.

PC: Well we went swimming, we went skating…and we didn’t do any of this fancy roller blading, our skates fastened onto our shoes, it’s a little different than what they have today. I hung out at my girlfriends’ houses a lot and we would go to Fort Worth on the turnpike. You’d have to pay 50 cents to drive to Fort Worth and we would go to the Lone Star Drive In where you could get a hamburger basket with a drink and fries for 50 cents. I also remember going to the movies, and between my junior and senior year I worked at the concession stand at the Arlington Movie Theater. My favorite movies were the horror shows that scared me to death. My favorite was “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

TC: Do you have any interesting stories from your time in high school?

MR: The third year after I graduated, my oldest brother was getting married in California and my mother and I were going to drive out there. My mother had a brand new car and we were driving to California, and I was driving out between Odessa and El Paso on Highway 80. I was speeding. I got stopped by highway patrol, so I showed him my license. He told me I was speeding, so I said it was wide open out here and it’s just so hard to keep that Buick down. And then he asked me if I went to Arlington High School and so I said yes sir. He said ‘does Ms. Roark still teach math there?’ and then he gave me a warning ticket because he’d gone to AHS too.

Paula Speed: Sometimes the boys would sneak on down to the pool hall down the street and Mr. Martin would go down there and get them. He’d say ‘you better be back at the school before I get there in my car!’ And I’m pretty sure they beat him back too!

TC: How have you seen Arlington High School or it’s students change in the last 60 years?

PC: It’s amazing to see the growth that’s happened and the number of students they have in the different classes. I think we only had 250 students maybe. And I still have addresses for 147 people from our class. It’s gotta be so hard to know everyone now. We may not have known every individual in our class but you would recognize all of the names and you’d feel like you knew the people in your class.

MR: Discipline was not an issue at all in my four years at Arlington High School. We just didn’t have any problems with anybody back then. If you were in athletics the coaches wouldn’t put up with any bad discipline, they’d just get the paddle out.

PS: Our cafeteria was much smaller, that new cafeteria blows my mind!

TC: There is obviously a tradition of family legacies graduating from AHS. Did you have any relatives attend here as well?

RM: [The generations] absolutely add to the story of AHS. That’s a bond that continues on and will continue on as long as this school is standing up. It’s always been a joy to see those people continuing to go here.

PC: My grandchildren both graduated from Arlington High School.

MR: One of my grandsons graduated from here three years ago, and I have a nephew who just graduated last year and is now at UT Austin, Grayson Ross. And then I have a niece who attends here now.

TC: What are some of the things that makes your class stand out?

RM: Our class has three distinguished Colt alumni. One is Barbara Nash, me, Robert Miles, and then John Gardner. I just think that’s really important.

PC: Our 60th reunion is coming up and we actually have people coming from all over the country. One from Washington, one from Connecticut, one from Oregon, one from Kansas, and they don’t come here very often. I think it’s just really wonderful they’re willing to come that far for that short of a time to come visit with us all. We feel like our class is exceptional.

TC: Tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Arlington 4th of July parade.

RM: Our class has won five trophies in the Arlington 4th of July parade. We’ve won two mayor’s awards which is the most prestigious, and we had probably 25 or 30 of us each year building the floats. We would have a design meeting in January when we learned the theme, and then we’d scavenger up the materials and then get to building. We actually built several of them in the garage of my house! I just turned the house over to the guys. We got glitter on the living room floor, paint on the driveway, but we had a marvelous time building those floats.

PC: We had no idea what we were doing the first year, we didn’t even know we were supposed to follow a theme. We just built a float.

TC: What does it mean to you to have the Class of ‘57 scholarship fund that continues to give back to Colts?

RM: It’s a way of giving back to the school. This is our fifth year of giving the scholarship and we’re very proud of that. Our very first scholarship winner will be graduating this May.

PC: I think especially today that college is a lot more important than it was back then, so to be able to help a student realize their goal in going to a school and being able to graduate and do whatever they want to is very important.

MR: I think that it’s just a way that our class can jointly help out some students who need our scholarship. We recognize those who are achievers and help them along. We encourage them to succeed.

PS: It’s important that we help the student who not only has done well and excelled academically, but also does not have the resources to go to college and excell there as well.

TC: What do you want to tell this year’s graduating seniors?

RM: Hopefully we can just encourage them to do what we’ve done in being cohesive. We’ve been at it for 60 years and that’s a long time. I hope future classes will follow our pattern, it’d be a great thing. Also, continue the spirit, pride, and tradition of AHS.

PC: Continue your education and go to college if you can. Arlington High School is a great place for you to have been.

MR: Keep AHS in your heart and join the Alumni Association so you can keep up with what’s happening. Most importantly, be true to the green.

PS: Get the best foundation of education you can while in high school, because it only gets harder!