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The 1947 Effingham Academy prom
The menu from the 1947 Rainbow junior-senior banquet. - photo by Photo provided

Prom season is in full swing in Effingham County. A recent discussion about the expenses of today’s prom concludes it is quite pricey. With the young lady’s dress, beauty treatments, flowers, tuxedo rental for the young man, limousine rental, dinner in a restaurant, pictures and an after event like trip to the beach, there is no doubt that $1,500 or more could be spent. A family friend, Mrs. Teresa Weaver, suggested I tell the story of yesterday’s “prom.”

Effingham Academy’s “Prom” was called the Junior Senior Banquet. (Effingham Academy was the name of Springfield’s High School at the time with other high schools located throughout the county.) The theme for 1947 was the Rainbow. Teresa Calhoun (Weaver) was on the decorating committee. Although no pictures are available, because rarely were pictures taken at the time, she recalls being told it was one of the prettiest ones in that the decorations were extra special.

Held in the gymnasium (of what is now the Board of Education Office), they took chicken wire about six feet high and wrapped it around the posts on the sides of the bleachers. All of the wire on the sides was covered in Spanish moss and then flowers were placed all over. At the end of the gym in a stage area, they created a forest of greenery. Highlighting this were several features, including the sun created by a light shining through a circle of yellow paper and a rainbow with a pot of gold.

It was customary at the time that the Junior Class decorated for the Senior Class and raised funds for the supplies. The parents prepared the food in the lunchroom located at the far end of the gymnasium. Some of the food like celery curls and carrot rings were prepared by students in the Home Economics room and kept on ice. Ninth grade girls were asked to serve unless they had a date. There were only 11 grades in 1947. The menu for the evening can be seen in the accompanying photographs as is the program.

This is actually a really cute story about Mr. C. Malcolm “Mac” and Mrs. Teresa (Calhoun) Weaver. It seems that senior Mac had invited a Guyton girl to accompany him.  While at a literary meet for the area, he spent some time talking to Teresa Calhoun who had come as pianist for J.W. Exley at the meet. The Guyton lady did not like his interest in Teresa, so she refused to go.

On the committee for the banquet, Teresa got Mac another invitation, which he gave her.  Mrs. Calhoun bought Teresa the chiffon over taffeta, blue, long gown that she wore with a lace cape. The young men wore suits with shirts and ties. Teresa remembers Mac brought her a pink rose corsage and she got him a white boutonniere.

Junior Class President was Helen Exley (Odom) and Senior Class President was Alfred Pevey. The Senior Class Vice President was Daniel Seckinger and Secretary was Marolyn Bragg (Odom). The Junior Class Vice President was Teresa Calhoun (Weaver) and Secretary was Arline Sullivan (Ward). Junior Class Treasurer was Claudine Crapps (Zampini).
The Senior Class members were: Willie Arnsdorff (Clinton), Marolyn Bragg (Odom), N. F. “Junior” Brinson, Edith Carr (Frazier), Edwin Davis, Carolyn Freyermuth (Mosely), Ray Freyermuth, Jimmie Gnann, Rewis Hinely, Delories Parker (Dickey), Jocelyn Pace, Alfred Pevey, Norma Jean Rahn (Gnann), Daniel Seckinger, Donald Seckinger, Malcolm Weaver, Terrell Webb, Lemuel Wells and Harry Bird Zittrouer.

Junior Class members were: Loree Brogdon (Hinely), Teresa Calhoun (Weaver), Claudine Crapps (Zampini) , Victoria Edwards (Usher), Arthur Exley, Helen Exley (Dasher), Grady Glisson, De Cardeue Jaudon, Louie Kight, Lonadine Morgan (Webb), Marise Rahn (Wilkins), Arline Sullivan (Ward), Lannie Seckinger, Lynwood Tebeau, Henrietta Watts and Dorothy Walsh (Groover).

The program consisted of different ones taking part throughout the evening. This too is very different where today there is mostly music and dancing at a prom. Pictures were not taken at the time and the memories exist only in the paper keepsakes and minds of these now older students including my father. As he and his friend Mr. Mac said this was not really anything they cared too much about at the time but they went and participated.

This particular Junior Senior dance was indeed special for the Weaver couple who continued dating after the event.

They were married a few years later and just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Congratulations! It is interesting to point out how much fun they had back in the day with little spent because it was a time when finances were meager so they were creative.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact her at 754-6681 or email her at: