Features

The Creation of The Caldron

 

On March 13, 2018, the advisers and staff of The Caldron received a letter from Dorothy Senner, James Caldwell High School Class of 1956, who was present at the time of our newspaper’s naming. Her recount of the creation of the newspaper we continue to read and write for 62 years later is as follows:

Dear Advisers and Staff of The Caldron,

You may enjoy knowing how and when The Caldron got its name. This is the history- I was there- of the naming of the school newspaper:

During the 1954-1955 school year at Grover Cleveland High School, now the junior high school, faculty member and English teacher, Mrs. Nancy Friedlander, announced the formation of a Journalism I class; the object of the class was the publication of a high school newspaper. I was a Junior in that “first ever” class and when Journalism II was offered during my senior year, I was there, too, as copy editor both years- The Caldron’s first copy editor! My claim to high school fame.

During one of the first Journalism I classes, Mrs. Friedlander asked for suggestions to name the newspaper (her husband, Jeff, was the faculty adviser of the Millburn High School newspaper and she joked about the motto of that paper, The Mill, which was “It grinds slowly, but it grinds”; she wanted us to come up with an upbeat motto and a name that reflected Grover Cleveland High School.) The students made some suggestions at first, but none that seemed to click.

Then, a classmate in the desk next to mine, quietly leaned toward me and whispered, “The caldron.” Terrific. “Raise your hand and tell her!” I said, but my classmate didn’t want to speak up, so I did it for her (“Janice’s idea is The Caldron,” I said.) Now, Janice and I had been students in Mrs. Friedlander’s English III, British Literature class and any one lucky enough to have been in that class was daily transported to England, introduced to the magic of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and transfixed by our teacher’s dazzlingly dramatic renderings of the characters, especially the Three Witches bending over their caldron in Act I, “Boil and bubble toil and trouble…” So, what could be more fitting than that powerful, indelible image, stemming from Mrs. Friedlander’s class than Shakespeare’s witches caldron? The play on words, Caldwell/Caldron, sealed the deal. The motto was something about “brewing the news,” but I will have to dig through old papers in my attic to find that part.

Needless to say, that name, THE CALDRON, was an immediate hit with the class. I am glad to see that sixty-four years later the name of the school paper is still the same.

I graduated in 1956, became Mrs. Friedlander’s student teacher in 1959, got my BA in English from Montclair State in 1960 and pretended I was the incredible Nancy Friedlander for the first five years of my thirty-eight years of teaching high school English. Mrs. Friedlander taught for twenty-five years then left to pursue a painting career, her work can be found online and in several New York art galleries.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the birth of The Caldron. Working on a school newspaper is very rewarding and you will have lots of great memories. Be sure to carry on your good work.

Truly,

Dorothy (Siegel) Senner Class of 1956

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