Page 24

ONWARD FARING A HISTORY OF BULLIS SCHOOL T E X T

on ll get right the tip – I sha land him.” “Thanks for see if I can his tail and

Tuition and Fees, 1930s Tuition at first for The Bullis School was $850 per year, including a nonrefundable $25 deposit. Monthly payments averaged $75 to $100 (per individual arrangement) from September to June.

prospec regarding a

tive student,

S U S A N

in the Letters are stored Ledgers and leather spines Bullis’s with aging and later. Lois ledger books Several old from the 1930s payments, room, dating with tuition Bullis archives after column ting fills column e, wages, utilities, neat handwri and mortgag supplies, tures—rent classroom fees and expendi advertising, figures. and annual repairs, postage, note assets furnishings, at times, Other pages rd more. and a bit haphaza insurances spelling are Lois carefully ing and the with details. The account trove filled ld needs, are a treasure school’s househo but the books running the her own even while boys and raising kept the books after teenage at first,” Judy staff, looking keep a ledger supervising business sure how to “She wasn’t years the School’s little ones. and in later she was very of Larry Bullis in-law. “But Bullis, wife her mothermoney so the once said of eye on the manager herself, kept a close and out, would consider figured it Lois or Bill smart and ion.” red. Neither the Depress never in the school was come through having Hampshire not after 1303 New being in debt, rent for the each ledger shows about $100 The 1931-32 groceries ran and plus the $25 $250 a month mansion cost $850 per student, sessions, income brought g, summer week; tuition fees for boardin the Silver depost and on. By 1934, nonrefundable visits and so rose to and tuition laundry, medical textbooks, for $20,000 ed in 1935 was mortgag a narrow profit Spring property year. Lois noted two-semester needs. $900 for the d into school 8, circulate of $1,611.8

“The sole purpose of this school is proper preparation for the Naval Academy. It is our aim to prepare the student not only for the entrance examination, but also for the work he will encounter after entering the Academy.”

ONWAR

D FARING

Y : A HISTOR

SCHOO OF BULLIS

automobile (years later, English teacher Robert Klinger would note academy examinations, albeit with no athletics courses or extra-

that William Bullis did not have “triskaidekaphobia”) Bringing

30 • ONWAR

Laundry - $1 per week

D FARING

Y : A HISTOR

L SCHOO bedding and clothing, the boarders settled into shared dorm rooms OF BULLIS

curricular classes available.Classroom instruction was targeted and

on the third floor of the mansion. Rothwell, whose parents lived

demanding, and evening study hours were long and mandatory. All

locally, was a day student; Captain Bullis had promised him that

were high school graduates determined to get into the Academy. Some had a little college; others, like Richard Rothwell, military

anytime he needed to stay over, he could.

Doctor (house call) - as needed Dentist (office visit) - as needed

“We were intent on passing the examination. There was no

room with the Bullises seated at either end of the table like parents with their sons. Perhaps conversation that first night was

fooling around,” Rothwell recalled. “I didn’t need anyone to prod

polite but awkward. After dinner, Captain Bullis presented an

me. We all really concentrated.”

starting a school, Rothwell shared that he wanted to attend the

orientation, and then students went to their rooms for lights out

Naval Academy. But he had not done well enough in high school to

at 10:30 p.m.

pass the Academy’s notorious examinations. “Be one of my students,” Bullis told him. “I’ll make sure you get

William and Lois incorporated their venture as “Bullis School” in 1935, but they, and others, often called it The Bullis School. school was never a military academy and was not directly linked

a.m. Students showered quickly, dressed and gathered in the dining

the training you need to get in.” Intrigued, Rothwell spoke with his

room by 7:45 a.m. for breakfast. Room inspections were held to

to the USNA, that reputation formed early and stuck fast. Years

parents, and soon enrolled in The Bullis School.

make sure that beds were neatly made, shoes lined up exactly. Then

later the Commander was still disgruntled about it. “We’ve had to

By August 1931, thirteen high school graduates had enrolled: ten boarding students, three day students. Tuition, after the mandatory $25 deposit, was $850 for two semesters. The first student listed in the 1931 ledger was John Watson, paying the $25

classes began at 8:25 sharp, taught by Captain Bullis in a classroom

disabuse more than a few people of the notion that we’re a military

on the second floor.

school,” he growled in a 1980 interview with John McKelway in The Washington Star.

Word of the new D.C. preparatory school and its charismatic,

His friends’ schools were also gaining momentum. Banfield’s

capable headmaster spread quickly. By spring, more students

registration fee on August 3. Soon Clifford Clark, William Drewry,

registered for a total of nineteen by year’s end. They became the

Landon School was off to a good start; Terry’s school for

Sidney Gerbich, Richard Rothwell, Lois’s brother Louis Hoover and

first graduating class of 1932.

government service exams held its own but faltered and closed

others paid their deposits as well.

several years later. Landon School has continued to thrive,

Captain Bullis also designed a six-week summer course held

The school was off and running.

before the year’s academic program to help students prepare for

The thirteen students reported to 1303 New Hampshire Avenue

the difficult Bullis program. The courses were geared to the service

18 • ONWARD FARING: A HISTORY OF BU LLIS SCHOOL

Typical Bullis student unidentified

Others called it Bullis Prep or even Bullis Naval Prep. Although the

On Monday, September 14, the morning bell sounded at 7:30

becoming a respected independent school for boys. “Banny,” Commander Bullis once remarked, remarked “was smarter than

CHAPTER

ONE

F O U N D AT

would go. From D.C. to Silver Spring to Potomac, the history of Bullis

O N WA R D FA R I N G : A HI S TO RY O F B UL L I S S C HO O L • 19

ION

T

—The on William F. Bullis, Lucky Bag, 1924, USNA Class of ‘24

William Francis

Bullis

he frontispiece Brecky, the yearbook of The 1919 of Central High School in Washington (now Cardozo), , D.C. is an Art Nouveau drawing of a woman, an elegant fluidity, her gown a bowl in one arm as she scatters seeds parched earth; over the it is similar to a popular 1918 poster seeds for Victory. of Liberty sowing The caption reads “A World Again In the photos, at Peace.” the fresh, earnest faces of graduates camera, the photograph look at the er, at eternity too: for they gaze at future. Boys with us, the smooth jaws, pomaded hair and snug collars, girls in prim lace or jaunty sailor and blouses, hair curled have been through or bobbed, a world war and an influenza epidemic. have known hardship, They uncertainty, and a trickle-down world into which fear for the they are about to step. One of the boys in those pages—a junior, he will graduate 1920—is a handsome in lad in military gear. William Francis Second Lieutenant, Bullis, Company E, has already chosen Perhaps he agreed a military path. with the 1919 class valedictorian, Edwin Harper, who said: “Up to this time we have been receiving; must give….May now we we all heed the call to a larger “Get your happiness service,” adding, out of your work or you will never happiness is.” know what

He may have heard the second valedictoria “The chaotic, unsettled n, a fellow cadet, say: condition of affairs at the present time shattered all of the precedents has which we might guide. Are we able usually have as a to face this state of affairs with confidence success?” and

School spans 85 years of exceptional education, tradition and transformation— a fascinating story of a caring and remarkable 1901-1930

“An insatiable desi re to succeed, coupled with a spirit which refuses to admit defeat.”

2 • ONWARD FARING: A HISTORY OF BULLIS SCHOOL

In 1930, a Navy captain and a schoolteacher founded a small They could not have imagined then how far those dreams

experience.

The first evening, a family-style meal was served in the dining

1930-1935

Books - $15 per semester Allowance - $2 per week

L • 31

preparatory school for service academies in Washington D.C.

—Bullis School form letter, 1934 on Sunday, September 13, 1931, arriving by train, streetcar and

Typical student fees:

K I N G

Expenses,

1934

0-1935 1930

a Bullis graduate

have at the school that I absorbed rest of the fellows, and naval customs well as the The social which I, as there and the help, but that we always felt been a great by you and home feeling as highly is the been received of fellows just the Word prize most of the we have always Spreading up with a bunch to so many with which this year,” to me and to fill this place warm welcome been to enter be priceless “We’re trying who are y as you have of miles away. This will always of any boys the Academ thousands Mrs. Bullis. you know are so many eager to enter in 1936. “If real homes and give any on their names to a student fellows whose work your sending end your school ory Bullis wrote much each recomm ent te very to take preparat I would gladly I’d apprecia of our enrollm anyone desiring interested, y. a large portion I possess to the Academ s . . . we draw information students.” tion to enter . and addresse the examina man 2/c. friends of former new students among the prior to taking help recruit Stimson, Midship year from graduates to yours, Paul School the Naval asked recent featured in Respectfully who was in proudly Bullis often ’33, g was preparin Stimson ’s letter Paul Stimson wrote to Paul : “I am at present many years. In 1934 he secretaries, materials for a recommendation the school I should like asking for promotional its work and Lois, and later of or and Academy, copies William here.” the school for carbon Always frugal, to your work t concerning form letters a pamphle early student from you relative reverse of Bullis Found in many to have a letter used the blank signed note. very much as scrap paper. provide letters and preserved sent a typed, I begin to typewritten Annapolis that were thus Stimson quickly ion of this year here at form letters sole purpose of the preparat e my second files, the various form history. “The of the value As I complet y,” a typical appreciation of the School’s my Naval Academ have a fuller the value of another facet the ion for the realize and Of course, y is quite not only for is proper preparat the Academ the student the Bullis School. for at school prepare tions er after to I received examina the “It is our aim he will encount to esteem duly for the entrance s letter reads. for the work preparation is it that I begin are graduate tion, but also which were r, only now rs, all of whom entrance examina r and study ent of obvious. Howeve Our instructo ons of characte Academy. with the requirem study are probably of the foundati entering the hly familiar rate and to real worth shown by y, are thoroug course here work is best ability to concent my Academ in their The the of of hness I progress laid at Bullis. the farther to which I on. The thoroug assets and that instituti and the degree of this school.” man’s greatest true value of the students I realize their the records the more fully school. them at your developed

Bullis to —Captain

B Y

school community.

ONWARD FARING: A HISTORY OF BULLIS SCHOOL • 3

COMING SOON! • bullis_history@bullis.org

Profile for Bullis School

Bullis Magazine Fall Winter 2015-2016  

Bullis Magazine Fall Winter 2015-2016