ECHO still strong after 98 years

Will Zempel
Webster ECHO

ECHO newspaper was started by WGHS sophomores as a way to inform the whole school of information back in 1914, and it’s still informing the school today.

ECHO newspaper has been a part of Webster Groves history for 98 years and shows no signs of stopping.
(Graphic from ECHO archives)

“In my 44 years, I firmly believe I get more accurate information and quotes in the ECHO than the ‘Post-Dispatch,’” alumni relations liaison Pat Voss said.
ECHO has been a part of WGHS for 98 years. According to Voss, the first editor was George Massengale, who was also a 200-meter runner in the 1924 Olympics.
ECHO has been online since 1997, where it posts its stories, features, videos and online polls at
According to ECHO Advisor Donald Johnson, in spring 2000, one of ECHO’s most famous moments was when they did a story where student reporters saw if they could buy cigarettes without getting carded. They successfully got a cigarette from half the businesses they tried. The reporters went back to Schnucks to interview the manager about it, and an employee took their camera and destroyed the film inside. The ECHO’s editor Amy Cook contacted KSDK, and it was first thing on the news. Schnucks issued an apology for its employee’s actions.
“ECHO has a willingness to tackle larger school issues, even if it makes the school administration nervous,” Voss said.
A memorable moment surrounding the Turkey Day program was in 1993 when opinion columnist Pete William Lesser campaigned for Friendship Court queen, and he wrote an article titled, “I want the Tiara.”
Throughout the years of the ECHO, some staffers got the volume numbers wrong. In an issue in January 1994, a librarian noticed ECHO was 79 years old rather than 75.
Kirkwood has claimed ECHO was a rip off of them from the mishap, but ECHO actually came three years before “The Call.”  According to WGHS legend and, Kirkwood was jealous that ECHO started a school paper first, so it named its paper the Kirkwood Call to make it appear it came first. (Get it, Call and Echo?)
ECHO has also continually covered Turkey Day through Turkey Day programs since 1915. An excerpt of a Turkey Day article from an ECHO in 1924:
“After a postponement of the eventful game, Webster trounced them to the tune of 7-0. Oh, how they wailed and tore their hair! They should have known that it takes nothing short of a regulation Army tank to stop boys that play like Carp, Red, Jiggs, Nat and Shorty.”

The Turkey Day Program is a traditional part of the Turkey Day celebrations, and the Call and the ECHO take turns producing the program. Whatever the host field is (Moss for Webster or Lyons for Kirkwood) that is what school does the buld of the work for the Turkey Day publication. However, both staffs contribute content.

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