In the spring of 1949 the School Administration decided the best way to create an Alma Mater for our school was to have a contest within the student body, and award a $25.00 prize to the person who wrote the most appropriate words as voted on by the "administration / faculty".
Barbara Farley Bannister, Class of 1949, won the contest by writing the words, and selecting the music, for what we now cherish as our alma mater.
This is the actual certificate that accompanied the $25.00
In September 2000 we contacted Barbara who said:
"I wrote the words based on my surroundings...we could see Mt. Fuji from our home ... and classroom, but I wrote them to fit a familiar tune. The tune is of course, a familiar one from one of the Ivy League Colleges and is the one played here on the web site....... As I said I entered the contest because I liked to write poetry and lyrics and still do. Since the prize was awarded in the late spring of 1949, I believe it was probably too late for the 1949 annual so it is logical that it would first have appeared in the 1950 one [and it did]. In looking over one of my old scrapbooks, I did find the program for the 1949 Class Night, and the Alma Mater was printed on the back. [That "program is listed below" -- thus probably was the first time the alma mater appeared in print]. My name is not under it but on the inside my name is listed by "Songs". I discovered in this same scrapbook that I had also written the Class song. (I'd completely forgotten that.) It was sung on Class Night. Since we were the '49ers it was based on the 1849 Gold Rush and sung to the tune of "Red Sails in the Sunset". It went: White sails on the prairie, way out on the sand, We're trailing on westward to reach Success Land. It may be tomorrow, Perhaps we'll fail soon. The trip may bring sorrow, But we'll quest for the moon. White sails on the prairie, way out on the sand. We're trailing on westward to reach Success Land. (Hardly deathless lyrics, but if I remember right, we sang it with gusto on Class Night.) My scrapbook says I also wrote a song for the class toast sung to the tune of Tavern in the Town. It began "There is a schoolyard in the town..." Unfortunately I didn't keep the words for that but it was also sung on Class Night."
Note that original version as written by Barbara included the word "shadow" -- as shown above; however, some subsequent publications of the Alma Mater use the word "shadows". Additionally, the words "Nile C Kinnick High" in some cases replaced the words "Yokohama High".
ALMA MATER VERSIONS