How the Congress Got Its Name

  • How The Congress Got Its Name

    by Kenneth J. Clark '82

    "How did our yearbook get the name of 'Congress'?"  It all started in 1895 when Principal O. W. Wood organized the Olean High School Debating Society.  This society, which operated in imitation of the Congress of the United States, argued many questions successfully with debating societies of surrounding high schools, such as Alfred Academy. Lockport High, Elmira Free Academy, Matson Park High School, and Central High School, both of Buffalo.

    One such debate had Orla E. Black '01, who later became a prominent judge, debated the question: Resolved: New York State should appropriate $26,000,000 for the improvement of the Erie Canal, against the Elmira Free Academy Team.

    The Congress disbanded in 1915, but the name lived on as the name of the weekly newspaper for a short time, and still does as the name of our yearbook.

    from: Centennial: Olean High School 1882-1983 by the Southern Tier Yorkers of Western NY.  Click here to read this book.