The LHS Athletic Department collection includes 92 photographs of teams as early as 1898 and going into the 1990s. These photographs are now available in digital format.
Football started as a school team in 1881; baseball started as early as 1887; basketball in 1926. Lawrence High School’s first football team played Phillips Oct. 8, 1881 (LHS lost). In those days the manager (not a coach) would travel to the town that he wanted the team to play and they would set up a date. It was usually on a week day so they could get enough players. The foot ball team won state titles in 1900, 1901, 1909, 1912, 1927, 1933, and 1934. In 1957 Lawrence High football team became the Class A champions. The team was invited to the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida to play the 23rd annual Kiwanis game. They played Miami Edison High School Dec. 13, 1957. This final game meant the end of the winning streak. The football teams of both 1958 and 1961 had winning teams.
In the first Blue and White (LHS yearbook) of 1944, the high school fielded football, basketball, track, baseball, and teams for men. The first cheerleading squad started in 1946. It was coed, but by the next year it was all girls. Majorettes would be added in 1957; a drill squad in 1971; a flag squad in 1974; twirl team in 1976; pompom and banner squads in 1978; and finally a rifle squad in 1979. Over the years a variety of sports were added to LHS teams: girls bowling team (1947), golf (1954), indoor track (1955), cross country (1964), ice hockey and girls basketball (1965), wrestling (1967), soccer (1972), girls field hockey (1975), girls volley ball (1977), girls tennis, girls track, and softball (1980), boys tennis (1981), girls cross country (1983), swimming (1987), and boys volleyball (2003).
The original athletic teams were purely extracurricular activities. It took many years before the school initiated a program devoted to physical education. In 1908 the playground movement is first mentioned in school committee reports. In 1917 the Educational Council presented a report on the possibility of extending physical training to all students in the public schools. 1924 saw the introduction of a complete system of physical education (some years after it was required by state law). This coordinated with the new extension of the high school which included a gymnasium and a sum of $25,000 investment in the program. For the first time you see physical education teachers listed in the faculty of the high school. Although the school committee reports to not say when the athletic teams came under the aegis of the Athletic Department, the teams were part of the department by the time the yearbook started in 1944.
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