I have been on a mission since the awards ceremony at
Denison High School last May. I’ve been looking for the Y-Teen Cup
that seems to have vanished. The cup was presented at graduation
from high school for many years, then at the school’s awards
It was one of Denison High School’s most storied traditions and was
presented to the Y-Teen that members felt had attained “Complete
I had come across a wonderful picture of the third recipient of
the award, Frances Cornell Willis, better known today as Dr. Frances
Willis, the traveling retired educator at Denison High School. I say
traveling because she’s either returning from or heading out on one
trip after another. She is a role model to every young woman who
ever took home
economics from her or had other association with her during their
school years. The picture of Dr. Willis holding the cup accompanies
In 1974 a reunion of recipients of the prestigious cup gathered
at the high school and the first recipient had an opportunity to
meet that year’s honoree. Each year the name of the recipient so
honored was engraved on the cup and once the entire cup was covered
with names, it was placed on a wooden base and names were engraved
on brass plaques on the four sides. Each honoree kept the cup for a
I’ve not been able to learn the name of the last recipient or to
locate the cup. The organization now is known as Den-Teens and is a
service club for boys and girls, taking the place of both Y-Teens
Charla Winfree Holzbog, teacher sponsor, said that Den-Teens was
formed in the early 1990s and the cup no longer is awarded.
This summer I had an opportunity to go through a room full of
trophies at the high school and felt certain that the cup was there.
It wasn’t, and teachers who had connections to the cup in later
years also don’t know its whereabouts.
Fourteen past recipients attended the 1974 reunion at the annual
Mother-Daughter Banquet for Y-Teens, beginning with the very first,
Mrs. Mavis Clymer Bryant, who received the award three years after
the organization – then known as Girl Reserves – was
Up until at least the mid 1950s, the name of the honoree was
kept secret until graduation night when announcement was made along
with the Hi-Y Club recipient for Complete Boyhood. By the 1970s the
announcement was made at the Mother-Daughter Banquet and the
recipient was recognized again during the May
Mrs. W.B. Munson Jr. organized the Girl Reserves as a Christian
organization for girls in high school under the backing of the Young
Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Mrs. Munson was sponsor for
many years and was honored every year at the Mother-Daughter banquet
until her death in 1970.
It also was her idea to honor the outstanding member every year
by engraving her name on a trophy. As the years passed and the cup
“literally runneth over” with
names, the base was added.
Mary Frances Wilson Morrison was the first president of the
organization and was present for the reunion. The second
recipient of the award was Martha Cook and
the third recipient was Dr. Willis, who was a sponsor of Y-Teens for
many years after she began teaching. In fact, she was a sponsor when
the organization’s name
was changed from Girl Reserves to Y-Teens in the mid 1950s.
Each year the group sponsored Neewollah (Halloween spelled
backwards) about this time of year when a king and queen of the
school were named.
Other recipients who attended the reunion included Charmain
Byers Akins, 1939; Nancy Casey Linder, 1942; Madeline Foster Farry,
1947; Dorothy Bryant Wyskup, 1948; Donna Hord Hunt, 1953; Judy
Hoover Gohlke, 1958; Nancy Monroe Wall, 1960; Nancy Robinson Terry,
1962; Linda White, 1963; Ann Jones Holt, 1965; Rhonda Skaggs, then a
student at the University of Texas at Arlington, 1971; and Sharon
Ward Killough, 1972.
That year a new name, that of Robbie Wright, now Robbie Shersy
of Austin, was added to the list of recipients. Dr. Willis presented
the cup to Robbie.
If anyone knows where the Y-Teen Cup might be, I’m still looking
While we’re looking for something, Claudia Sandbach of Cooper
City, Fla., contacted me and she is also looking for something and
has enlisted my help in her
Claudia is in the process of transcribing her grandmother’s
journals. Her grandmother, Rebecca Welch, was one of the head nurses
at the Denison City
Hospital from 1914 to 1917 or 1918.
In her journal Rebecca wrote “We had the famous Knitting Needle
surgery which is a little sordid to put on paper.” She didn’t go
into more detail and Claudia is very serious about learning more
Rebecca’s married name was Brune. She joined the Denison City
Hospital just after it opened in 1914, according to her
granddaughter, and was a supervisor of the operating room and head
of the nursing school there for two years.
She recorded her life stories in six journals that Claudia found
after her father’s death. Claudia and her daughter have been going
through the journals and transcribing them for the family.
Rebecca wrote in her journal, “Before I get too deep into the
duties at the Denison City Hospital, perhaps it would be a good idea
to tell you something of this brand new hospital. It was opened the
early part of 1914, a pretty little brick and stucco with 50 beds,
modern operating room and quarters for nurses.
“Doctors Leland and J.G. Ellis (brothers) were in charge of the
hospital by a lease. There were about ten doctors in Denison. I
recall by name: Doctor’s Freels, Mays, McGregors (father and son)
Long, Seay and Dr. Ellis Sr. The doctors were all times at odds
with the two Doctors Ellis. There was always friction of some kind
amongst the doctors. I remember on one occasion Dr. Mays and Dr. J.G.
Ellis had a fist fight in the front hall of the hospital.”
Rebecca left the hospital to join the Navy Nurses Corps just
before World War I started. Claudia said Rebecca had a very
interesting life, but gave no further explanation of “knitting
Does anyone have any ideas?
Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in
Denison and can be contacted at