WHS Classes on DVD

Wisconsin High School, Madison WI

Wisconsin High School was formed in 1912 as a UW Education Department "laboratory school."   WHS was a site for student teacher training and for researching theories of education.

But, in the late 1950s, the education department realized that WHS was no longer adequate to fill the training mission.   There were too many student teachers competing for classroom hours.   Some WHS classes had 20 student teachers and only 15 high school students!   Also, the department wanted to share what it was learning about teacher education.   So, the UW began experimenting with new programs it hoped would impact the rest of the state.   For example, student teachers were sent out to area schools to learn teaching skills, a practice which continues today.

In 1960, one experiment involved the relatively new medium of television.   In the spring of that year, the education department sent WHA-TV over to the high school to televise (and record onto film) a number of high school classes.    WHA set up their cameras in Mrs. Johnson's first-floor classroom and, for about two months, numerous classes were conducted in full view of the cameras.   Simultaneously, kinescopes (films) were made of these classes, and those films were sent out to other campuses and schools around the state for use in student teacher training programs.

The film archives

The film archives at the
Wisconsin Historical Society.
Miraculously, some of those kinescopes have survived!   In 2000, Chris Cain (WHS '64) discovered that the films were stored in the archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society.   Over the next five years, he worked to get access to the films, and in 2005 Chris and Jeff Mattox ('65) were able to view some of the films and convert them to DVD.

Because of those experiments with television in 1960, many members of the WHS student body are now able to see themselves as they were over 45 years ago.   There are science classes (with Mr Gennaro, Mr. Dowling, and Mr. Kins), math classes (Mr. Newton), English, social studies (Mrs. Johnson), and speech classes. There's even a gym class, all on film.   And the cameras were focused on the students, not the teachers.

Chris and Jeff

Chris ('64) and Jeff ('65)
reviewing a film audio track.

Most of the subjects are 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-grade classes.   That would be the classes of 1965, 1964, and 1963, respectively.   However, other class years appear to have been filmed, too.

There's a certain irony for those of us who appear in these films.   The experiment of televising and recording our classes was part of the effort to reduce the role of WHS by training student teachers at places other than the UW campus.   Ultimately, the success of that program meant that WHS was no longer needed, and thus it was closed in 1964.   So, we lost our school (and many of us had to continue on at another high school), but, because the films were preserved, we have a unique opportunity to see ourselves as youngsters at WHS.

[JM, November 2005]

DVD Title and Content

Sample Images

Math 7 (Class of 1965)
"Modular arithmetic" with Mr. Newton

Running time: 57 minutes (one classroom hour)

Marcia Millenbah
George Woollard
Sherry Newbold
Patricia Schram
Francie Temkin
Doug Edmunds
Gordon Worley
Roger Hitchner
Carter Brunsell
Karl Siebecker
Edie Meissner
Jungi Higuchi
Jerry Schultz
Greg Sample
Rick Meskill
Tim Johnson
Neil Bohrod
Cathy Curtis
Mary Revell
Barb Stoops
Pat Mulhall
Jean Burris
Dean Urben
Steve Clark
Tom Lewis
Milt Cohen
Jaci Lefco
Faculty: Mr. Newton    Miss Peterson   

Biology 7 (Class of 1965)   "Animals" &
"Amphibians and reptiles" with Mr. Gennaro

Running time: 88 minutes (1.5 classroom hours)

Gretchen Beuscher
Elizabeth Edwards
Connie McCaffrey
Carol Voglelman
Claudia Naeseth
Barbara McKee
Greta Van Dort
Gene Maddrell
Alison Brooks
Carl Marquart
David Schutz
Sherry Miller
Susie Stanley
Ken Blaedel
Mike Foster
Jill Johnson
Tom Wolfe
Mike Smith
Jeff Mattox
Steve Herb
Larry Roth
John Clark
Tom Tripp
Tom Allen
Phil Icke
Faculty: Mr. Gennaro    Mr. Green

Science 8 (Class of 1964)
"Ohm's law" with Mr. Dowling

Running time: 32 minutes (one half classroom hour)

Margaret Quayle
Bob Monschien
Laurie Graham
Chuck Schacht
Sue Halvorson
Rod Matthews
Kristine Wold
Ingrid Buslee
Phil Altpeter
Scott Grover
Diane Young
Connie Totto
Judy Graham
Dick Zillman
Diane Smith
Ken Millard
Pete Sample
John Grede
Bill WIlkie
Tom Peltin
Chris Cain
Jam Lutey
Pat Slinde
Joel Coye
Faculty: Mr. Dowling

Art 8 (Class of 1964)
"Working with clay" with Mr. Everard

Running time: 115 minutes (two classroom hours)

Paul Zumdinsky
Richard Watson
Ken Midstokke
Joan Reznichek
Christine Wold
Sue Halverson
Jean Klawitter
Kim Klipstein
John Rundell
Susan Stroud
Dick Zillman
Lewis Boone
Scott Grover
Mary Bruner
Diane Smith
Ken Millard
Phil Brauhn
John Friday
Chris Cain
Joel Coye
Jan Lutey
Faculty: Mr. Everard    Mr. Holberg

Social Science 8 (Class of 1964)
"President Jackson" with Mrs. Johnson

Running time: 32 minutes (one half classroom hour)

Paul Zmudzinski
Chuck Jacobson
Debbie Mitchell
Richard Watson
Joan Reznichek
Ken Midstokke
Eames Peterson
Kim Klipstein
Charles Field
Susan Stroud
Lewis Boone
John Rundell
Mary Bruner
Greg Schutz
Pat Ryerson
Phil Brauhn
John Friday
Ellen Davis
Faculty: Mrs. Johnson

English 8 (Class of 1964)
"Reading poetry vs. prose" with Mrs. Patton

Running time: 32 minutes (one half classroom hour)

Paul Zmudzinski
Kathy Bridgman
Chuck Jacobsen
Debbie Mitchell
Richard Watson
Joan Reznichek
Nancy Johnson
Eames Peterson
Kim Klipstein
John Rundell
Susan Stroud
Charles Field
Louis Boone
Mary Bruner
Greg Schutz
Pat Ryerson
Phil Brauhn
John Friday
Ellen Davis
Faculty: Mrs. Patton

Other films

We have reviewed only a fraction of the archived films.   The audio and video are recorded separately; listening to the audio is easier than viewing the films (which are delicate negatives).   In some cases, the titles on the archive's list (PDF) do not match the actual content.   For example, one so-called "English 8" film is actually an 8th-grade gym class; another is Speech 8.   So, the following list is an estimate of what else might exist.   We believe there are about 30 classroom hours, total.

Gym 8Audio examined
English 8Several hours
May may be misnamed
Speech 8Audio examined
Spanish 8 
French 8 
Science 8Audio examined
Chemistry 8Audio examined
Math 12 
German II 
Economics 12 
Home Economics 8 
Biology 9Audio examined.
Includes a 10-minute
interview with Mr. Gennaro
Physics I 
Physics II 
LatinMight not be WHS
Patterns of
Might not be WHS
Might not be WHS

Ordering information

RCA TK11 camera Each DVD is priced at $30   This will contribute to the costs of converting films to DVDs, DVD duplication, and mailing.   Video transfers of film negatives and synchronization with separate sound tracks is quite complex and requires substantial time and expense.   Our outside costs to convert and process each hour of film are between $350 and $400.

Donations above the $30 price are welcome.

Because of copyright restrictions, there are only a limited number of DVD copies available.   Preference will be given to class members who appear in the DVD.

We would like to convert more films to DVD, but we have no assurances that will be possible.   Just in case, any excess amounts and donations will be saved for future work.   Contact us for more information:

"Whiskey High" home page

Updated August 18, 2006