The class of 1955 graduated into an America without war. A hot one anyway. America was as converted to a civilian economy by 1955 as Cold War conditions would permit. The US and the USSR were both armed to the teeth, and the USSR, bent on exporting a way of life today deemed silly, communism, kept the US at the military ready for another three and a half decades. The stakes were high, but, strangely, as long as no shooting started the world was relatively stable, and the US largely prosperous.
Farmland was being chopped up in every direction to make housing tracts. A migration to the West, California in particular, resulted from its being discovered by service men and women during WWII. Oil was cheap, and seemed plentiful, and since the entire economy depended on it, as it does today, people could at least feel comfortable about running their cars and heating their homes. The migration to the suburbs was so complete by 1960 that the Grand Rapids the class of 1955 knew was leveled, using federal money, in the name of urban renewal. Sadly, the renewal part was an illusion.
But for the time being, no major political problems seemed to be on the horizon, and the baby boom following WWII was only about half over. In a few years the world view of the USSR would change, as Sputnik was launched, and the biggest program in science education ever known began. A few in the class of 1955 would benefit from the ensuing commotion, as the US realized that science education in the US was not what it could be, despite the fact that WWII was largely a technical war. But in fact the war simply set the stage for a much bigger technical war called the Cold War. Those Godwin students going to college and studying science would benefit handsomely from the new demand for college science graduates.
The cover of the 1955 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1955 class annual, made available for scanning by by Bob Ferguson, class of 1955, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers or thumbnail images. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Also be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1955 they'd like to see included here please contact me.