Robert E. Peary High School
Traditions and Facts
|Name: "Robert E. Peary," selected by sixth graders at Aspen Hill Elementary School in 1960, because the high school was located on Arctic Avenue. The sixth graders researched the arctic area for prominent persons and themes associated with it. They made their choice and received permission from the Peary family to name the school after the famous arctic explorer. Those same students, who entered the seventh grade at Peary in September of 1960, were the first graduates of the school they had named who attended all of the opening years (the actual first graduating class was the Class of '63, who entered Peary its opening year as sophomores).|
|The "North Pole" Flag: Located in the display case, it was flown from the mizzen gaff of the Roosevelt when Commander Peary sailed into Sydney, Nova Scotia, on September 21, 1909. Matthew Henson sewed NORTH POLE on a white diagonal strip on both sides of the Stars and Stripes. The flag was given to the students and staff of Robert E. Peary High School by the son and daughter of the explorer.|
Sled: Known as a
sledge, located in the display case of the main hall, was one of five from
(the ship that took Peary to the North Pole). The sledge was originally placed on
Island in Casco Bay, Maine, the home of Admiral Peary. It was presented to the students
faculty of Robert E. Peary High School on November 23, 1964 by Mrs. Marie Peary
and Robert E. Peary, Jr., the daughter and son of the famous explorer. The other
were named by Peary in honor of some of his staunchest associates; this
but the donors believe that, had it been named, it would have
been called the Josephine
Diebitsch Peary sledge in honor of the admiral's wife, his most
devoted, loyal, and inspiring
supporter. Also see a 1964 Alumna's
visit to Eagle Island.
Photos from the Flag and Sledge Ceremony
|Bell Tower: Housed the Bell from the U.S.S. Robert E. Peary 132. The triangular tower points north and is modeled after the original sixty-foot monument in Cape York, Greenland. "May the memorial bell tower ring out the joys and the sorrows, remind us of those, whose memories touch our lives, be an enduring monument to those 'Who link us with the past and the future." The memorial plates which are affixed to the sides of the tower serve as a timeless reminder to those who are alive of the former Peary students and staff members who have died in the service of their fellow man.|
|School Seal: A globe topped by POLARIS, the North Star; under it, Commander Peary driving a team of huskies transverses the globe. Under the globe, two dates: 1909, recalls the discovery of the North Pole; 1960, the first year Peary High School became a place for students to learn.|
|School Anchors: Dedicated on April 6, 1963 by the Senior Class of 1963. They symbolize the admiral's iron will and determination to proceed until his goal was reached. Two anchors were presented to the school. One is in the Senior Courtyard; this larger one is in front of the school and is identified as follows: "In honor of Robert Edwin Peary, Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer corps, U.S.N.; Explorer, Scientist, Discoverer of the North Pole, April 6, 1909, erected by the first graduating class in cooperation with the Bureau of Yards and Docks, U.S.N., April 6, 1963." Pictured: Most School Spirit - Marcy Priday and Steve Shaw, 1966|
|The Mast: Recovered from the U.S.S. Robert E. Peary 132, along with the bell in the Bell Tower, and became the flag pole. When it was in full show, it displayed the American, State of Maryland, and school flags. More information about the U.S.S. Peary ship(s) can be found at www.ussrobertepeary.net|
|Marching Band Uniforms: Navy Blue. Similar to midshipmen uniforms at the U.S. Naval Academy, except the number of buttons represent the number of Peary's expeditions, and his rank of Rear Admiral was displayed by the stripes on the sleeves and the stars on the collar. Pictured, Wayne Wiley, Class of 1975.|
|Pipe Band: To honor Rear Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan, Peary's assistant on his North Pole expedition. Special permission to wear the plaid cloth of the tartans was secured from the MacMillan Clan of Scotland and from Donald Baxter MacMillan.|
Alma Mater: The lyrics were written by Sari Hines from the Class of 1963.
She incorporated the school
motto: I Will Find A Way Or Make One, within
the lyrics. The score was composed by the 7th Grade Music
Class (Class of 1968).
Go to the Lyrics, Score, and Sound Files
|School Flag: A replica of Admiral Peary's personal flag. A rectangular flag divided into two triangles. One navy blue with a white star, the other, arctic white with a navy blue "P." The flag was presented to the school on March 30, 1962 by the Student Government Association.|
School Publications: Polaris, Aurora, and Midnight Sun
Where are they now?
The Bell Tower: The tower still stands in front of our alma mater. The individual plaques were given
to the respective families. Below are the memorials attached to the bell tower today:
Click here for the listing of the names on these plaques
The Bell Tower rededication took place during Homecoming 2000, June 16, 2000 (PHOTOS).
The Original Bell: Returned to the U.S. Navy. Today, the "second" bell (see below) is in our possession.
From Mike Deitchman (1968) (modified, original note 11/99):
I am pleased to announce that I have located and have [had] in my custody the US Navy ship's bell from the
USS Robert E. Peary. (The Alumni Association rededicated the Memorial Bell Tower on June 16, 2000.)
I offered to help locate and retrieve the bell hoping my position with the Navy might be influential in facilitating its return.
One complication had arisen in that there were two ships named after Admiral Peary. The first was a destroyer
escort (DE 132) commissioned in 1943. The ship's bell from DE 132 was the one originally given to our school
and placed in the tower.
The second ship DE 1073 later redesignated a FRIGATE (FF1073, above) was commissioned in 1972 and
decommissioned in 1992. The Robert E. Peary, FF1073, has since been leased to Taiwan.
My first contact with the Naval Historical Center led me to Naval Surface Weapons Center at Indian Head, MD as
the custodian of the bell from the USS Robert E. Peary. I accepted custody of this bell, however the story doesn't end here.
While looking through our 1997 Yearbook I came across a picture of the bell and realized that the bell I had was in fact
not the original. Further discussions with the Naval Historical Center have resulted in the conclusion that the bell I had
in my possession is in fact from the second USS Robert E. Peary, FF1073. Apparently the first bell was loaned to the
Naval Reserve Forces in Orlando, FL and returned to the Naval Historical Center in 1992 apparently around the same time
the second ship was decommissioned. Bottom line is that records were confused and the first bell can longer be located.
The Naval Historical Center will allowed us to keep the second bell for the rededication of the Memorial Bell Tower.
Above is a picture of the bell as it stood in my office as well as picture of the USS Robert E. Peary, FF1073. The ship
was deployed and saw action in the Persian Gulf during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
The Anchors: Given to Springbrook High School for their Navy R.O.T.C. program....
... then the large anchor was rededicated May 6, 2001 and sits in front of our building again.
The Mast: Located at the Laythrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center in Rockville,
it serves as the focus of daily flag raising.
The Sledge: Returned to the Peary family and believed auctioned off.
The "North Pole" Flag: Also returned to the Peary family and believed auctioned off.
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