Independent Star-News from Pasadena, California on January 24, 1960 · Page 70
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Independent Star-News from Pasadena, California · Page 70

Pasadena, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 24, 1960
Page 70
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AULD LANG SYNE \-i i Children Inspired by 'Mr Poly' "" .' JBL - - . »^ . 5 By C. Fred Shoop -«\ · ' . . 1 ES, my youthful- friends ^ keep me young." · |. It's likely you don't know i who it Was said this recently; _- BUT, if you've ever-attended Polytechnic School of had chil- ^ dren in Poly, you most likely 5 know of .whom we speak. " You're right! None other than ,,-Harry Rubardt, beloved supers' intendent of buildings and ·r grounds at Poly for nigH onto £ 50 years. Harry is such .a modest inn dividual, we knew he wouldn't _ talk much about himself, so we £ arranged an interview .on pre- 3 text of having him tell us £ about how Charlie Paddock, Jj 'world's fastest human,'' got in- 3 terested in track work while £ a Poly pupil. Found out he was about as much of a Paddock fan as myself, for I happened to be close to Charlie all the time he was a daily contributor to The.' Star-News in high school and college days. "* WE FOUND put not only about how Charlie got his early start as a sprinter, but also as a writer of plays and as a public speaker. And the interview wasn't confined entirely to Paddock, but he let fall some interesting sidelights about his connection with a lot of youngsters who got their first schooling at Poly. Willis Stork, present headmaster at Poly, ably abetted me in helping to draw Harry out in talking about the teenagers he has known. Stork refreshed my mind ,a bit about Harry's long and capable service at Poly and the f jne esteem in' which he is held there. I myself, even remember.that at each performance of the "Golden Cavalcade," presented in 1957 at the 50th anniversary of this fine school, that Mr. Rubardt was given a standing ovation by audiences when the cast swung into its very popular song "I'm Wild about Harry." Truly this veteran in the service, has won the right to be known as "Mr. Poly," the "grand old man" of Polytechnic. Harry has worked continuously at Poly since June 1911, before most members of the present faculty, including the learned but popular headmaster, were even born. He has worked under every administration the school has had: Miss Virginia Pease (the late Mrs. Myron Hunt), Miss Grace Henley, Miss Katharine Lee, Applclon M a s o n and the present. But in spite of his lengthy service, he is still going'strong. Says he has no thought of retiring fdespite my urging him to retire in time to enjoy some leisure years) and the school has no thought of retiring him, according to Headmaster Stork who told me: "We just couldn't run Poly, without Harry." He enjoys excellent health and looks much younger than he really is, due largely, he sa3 f s, to his association with the fine young folk who attend Poly and the helpful attitudes of an understanding faculty. STARTED in to write about his connection with Charlie Paddock, so let's finish that, then more about Harry, himself: . , Charlie was a pupil at Poly (then Polytechnic Elementary) from 2nd through 8th grades. 'At first he was much like all the other pupils, says Harry, but at recreation time he early impressed those who worked with him that he was a much faster runner tlian most of the others. "A Mr. Rockwell was gym teacher "in those early years," said ; Harry. '(But -they . didn't have any gym--work was all outside ' when weather permitted). ' "Part of my duties in those .early years was, to help Rockwell. I wasn't an athlete; but I. found ways in which I could help--like umpiring ball games and setting up for track athletics, etc. Rockwell and- I soon saw Charlie had something unusual and one day I told Rockwell: "It wouldn't surprise'me if in Paddock we didn't have a real sprinter in the making." 'We began watching Charlie closer, and finally without him knowing it, we held a stopwatch on him. His time even then was remarkably fast in the 100-yard dash, but we never dreamed we had a future Olympic Winner. "Each spring we participated with public and other private schools in May Day track meets. We had only about 200 pupils enrolled, so couldn't expect to make much of a showing against the larger schools. Our first hurdle was to get Charles' father to permit him to run. Charles was eager to compete, but his father steadfastly declined to give his permission for some reason or other. * "A FEW DAYS before the meet, one year, Rockwell asked me to go over and talk to Charlie's father.' I'll never forget that interview, or what a nice room the. parents had fixed up for Charlie, already decorated with pictures ' of some of his boyhood idols. I told Mr. Paddock that Charles was fast and that we believed he could win and that he owed that much to Poly. Finally he consented to let him try once, for good-old Poly's sake. We entered him and though Charlie won every race in which he was entered, it wasn't enough for Poly to win the meet. But next year we went in and due largely to Paddock's first places, we copped the most points and Poly won. "After graduation in 1915, Charlie entered Pasadena High School. Everyone knows his record there, for nobody in town could catch him. Then on to USC where he had the best professional coaching he could get and on to the Olympics, winning new laurels every year. I don't remember where he' learned that flying leap as he neared the finish. It seems to me he got the idea while' still at Poly, . but I wouldn't be sure." At that Headmaster Stork interpected: "Give Harry a lot of the credit for inspiring Charlie in his early efforts. From all I have heard, he helped Charlie a lot to always give of his best and to be a good sportsman. The whole world knows he was that." Harry never lost interest in Charlie and induced him several tmcs to come and speak to Poly students, which he obligingly did. When Charlies was a Senior at Poly he was editor of the school paper, "Elementary "Life," now "Poly Pages." He dramatized at least two plays which Poly pupils gave at the Shakespeare Club auditorium and was an outstanding student, too. "Had it not been for Harry's awareness and interest" says .Stork,", the . story of "the world's fastest human" might never have been written." * ' MORE ABOUT Harry. Born at Cedar Rapids, la., he came out here with his parents when about 17 or 18. He regrets not gefting more education than he had, but he early had to go to work. He clerked in a store here for a time, then in 1911 he got this job at Polytechnic. "The luckiest thing that could have happened to me," he says. "I love working with young people." HaYry has. been active in scouting for many years. He ' remembers the founding of the historic Troop No. 5 on Nov. 30, 1915. He served as assistant Scoutmaster for 37 years. In 1917 he was instrumental . i n starting the Poly Pet Show, "so long carried on by Herbert Gregory and others. He remembers when Troop 5 placed second in a. county-wide Boy Scout First-Aid competition. Two of his scouts were the first recipents of the Eagle Scout awards in the San Gabriel Valley. Harry has vivid memories of early Tournaments of Roses, many of them held at Tournament Park, across Wilson Avenue from P.oly. He lias pictures of an early horse-drawn I.O.O.F. float for which he was the driver. His interest in the Tournament - has continued through the years, but probably reached its peak when his step - daughter, Muriel Cowan (Moore), was crowned queen in 1935. HARRY RUBARDT PASADENA fARMERSiWARKET -Lake at Walnut--PasJena MON.-TUES.-WED. 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