Vocations, Great Men & Women
Dramatic doorways greet students and faculty every day as they enter many of the campus buildings. The focus on edifying and uplifting students is demonstrated by the panels of men, women and careers selected. Polished in a high cement gloss, the themes are represented through faces of individuals in action of their craft or calling. There are 78 portraits and careers depicted (although some are duplicated) located on the first and second floor entrances of the Administration Building, as well as the second-floor entrances to the Arts, the Science and the Commercial Buildings. Students may be inspired by the visages of Dante, Home, or Goethe. Perhaps passing by Shakespeare, Dickens or Einstein every day would create a Long Beach Poly writer or genius. It is worth noting that local persons of stature in the educational world were also represented. This was very unusual for FAP/SCAP art – the focus tended to be on concepts and representation of ideas and groups of people, not specific local individuals. In the case of the Poly door panels, however, the following people were included among those great thinkers of the past: Kenneth E. Oberholtzer: Superintendent of L.B. Schools, 1937 to 1947; Jane Harnett: The first history teacher at L.B. High School (now Poly) and wrote our city’s first history before her death in 1919. She developed the first Student Body Commission in California; David Burcham: Principal of Long Beach Polytechnic High School from 1907-1941. He was affectionately known as “Daddy Burcham.” During his tenure, enrollment grew from 347 students to 3,000, making it the largest high school in the state for the time.
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