WILLARD C. TAYLOR
Willard C. Taylor, widely known as an educator of scholarly attainments, is the popular young principal of the East Nicolaus high school, one of the most excellent institutions of the kind in California. A native of Augusta, Kentucky, he was born January 26, 1899, his parents being Henry W. and Mary C. Taylor, farming people of eastern Kentucky. He comes from the same ancestral line as Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president of the United States. His early education was acquired at Brooksville, Kentucky, and was supplemented by study in the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers’ College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1922. He then matriculated in the University of California, which in 1926 conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Arts, while in 1927 he received the degree of Master of Arts from Columbia University of New York. His initial experience in the teaching profession was gained at Jacksonville, Florida, whence he came to California, serving as high school teacher of English at Colusa, this state, prior to taking charge of the East Nicolaus high school in 1929.
The East Nicolaus high school is one of the two high schools in the Sutter Union high school district. The members of the board of trustees are as follows: C. E. Reische, of Meridian, president; R. A. Wilbur, of Sutter, secretary; Mrs. Evelyn Smith, of East Nicolaus, vice president; E. S. Wadsworth of Sutter,; and G. C. Galbraith, of Sutter. The East Nicolaus high school has ninety-two students, housed in a beautiful building which was erected in 1924 at a cost of about thirty thousand dollars. The school property embraces nine acres of ground. The first principal was William R. Dawson, who after three years was succeeded by Mr. Taylor. The graduates of the East Nicolaus high school are duly accredited to the University of California without further entrance examinations. Students are afforded the advantages of the agricultural, music, domestic science, chemistry, manual training and mechanical departments, and the school also enjoys an enviable reputation for its high standard in athletics, having won the speedball championship of Northern California in 1928 and 1929. Professor Leo A. Wadsworth, of Sutter, whose biography appears on another page of this work, is superintendent of the Sutter Union high school district, which has two high schools, independent of each other except for the fact that both are controlled by the same board of trustees and the same superintendent. Great credit for their success is due Mrs. Evelyn S. Smith, member of the board of directors of the Sutter Union high school district and its able vice president. She is interested heart and soul in the high school at East Nicolaus, ever mindful of its welfare and progress. One who listened to her speak to the graduating class of June, 1930, said: “Her address, though not lengthy, was full of sound advice and was one of the best I have ever read or heard. It was a real gem.” An attractively bound booklet, entitled “Leaves of Yesterday,” a chronicle of the events of the year 1929-30, was published by the Associated Students of the East Nicolaus high school and dedicated to their principal, Willard C. Taylor, in recognition and sincere appreciation of his diligent labors to better the school. We quote Mr. Taylor’s inspiring words on the first page of the booklet: “This is most certainly the ‘Wonder Age’ of all time. The rapid advancement being made in the sciences and arts today necessarily makes very complex the problems with which you will soon be encountered. Even though the opportunities of life are varied and afford a wide choice, there are certain fundamental motives which prompt one to select one or the other. You may say of the human race that there are those who seek fame; there are those who seek wealth; and there are those that drift through life, seeking nothing, attaining nothing. We cannot all either be famous or wealthy, but all can well have a well-defined, worthy ambition. Normal youth is ambitious. What awaits you lies in your own hands. Remember—the finger of history writes only of achievement and your record will be written by your success in life. Education teaches you success in two great words. Character is the keynote and we find the initial letter of that word twice in success. Service is the other word—so important that its initial letter is found three times in success. May success in its real sense be yours. May the vision reach you so that at the end of your life you may say from your heart—‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.’”
Professor Taylor has been characterized as “a man of high ideals and a perfect gentleman in every sense” and is most highly esteemed by graduates, pupils, parents, teachers, board and superintendents. His favorite vacation sports are motoring, hunting and fishing, and he is also very fond of golf.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3, Pages 112-113. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.