2 PHS grads honored, ‘Piqua Alma Mater’ 90th anniversary recognized


PIQUA — During the Piqua High School (PHS) homecoming football game Friday, Oct. 6, two Piqua Central High School graduates from the 1940s era, were honored. The evening also marked the 90th anniversary of the “Piqua Pep Song” and “Piqua Alma Mater.”

Paul Holfinger, a 1944 graduate, and Doris Strickler, a 1948 graduate of Piqua Central High School, were honored Friday evening.

Holfinger played in the marching band for Philip P. Gates, former director of music at PHS for over 26 years and and composer of “Piqua Pep Song” and “Piqua Alma Mater.” At 97 years young, Holfinger continues to play his clarinet in local area bands.

Strickler holds the distinction of being the first woman to play in the Pride of Piqua Marching band in 1948.

The following is from the announcer’s transcript from the game:

“Tonight, we honor the 90th Anniversary of the ‘Piqua Alma Mater’ and ‘Piqua Pep Song.’ The ‘Alma Mater’ was written in 1933 by The Piqua Marching Band Director Philip P. Gates. It was played for the first time at the end of the Piqua-Fairmont half-time show. The athletic director at that time, Ray Mote, was so impressed he asked if there were lyrics. Mote made copies of the song lyrics and asked all students to memorize the words to sing at each football game. Tonight, we celebrate this great tradition that began 90 years ago. Please stand at this time and join senior football player and Piqua Show Choir member, Aiden Williams, as he leads us all in the singing of the ‘Piqua Alma Mater.’

“The ‘Piqua Pep Song’ was also written by Philip P. Gates with the lyrics being finalized by the Piqua Central High School Principal, C.M. Sims. The Pride of Piqua would like to thank the Miami County Foundation for the grant they were awarded last fall. This allowed them to purchase the Color Guard Football Game Uniforms that you see on field tonight! Please welcome the 2023 OMEA State qualifying Pride of Piqua Marching Band under the direction of Wyatt Heinz, Mitch Mahaney, and Alex Acuna as they march down the field playing the ‘Piqua Pep Song.’”

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