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News Story
Updated: 04/05/2014 08:00:01AM

Hall of Fame

to honor Bernice Lyle

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Bernice Lyle


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Miss Bernice Lyle, long-time Summerlin Institute home economics teacher, World War I Red Cross nurse, and picturesque character on the Bartow scene for most of her 89 years will be inducted into the Bartow High School Hall of Fame on Tuesday, April 8.

The induction will take place at the annual top scholars program, which recognizes the top-ranking students at BHS, its International Baccalaureate program, and Summerlin Academy. Honorees receive an academic letter for their first year of recognition, and a gold bar for each additional year.

The Hall of Fame honors alumni of Summerlin Institute, Union Academy and Bartow High School who have achieved prominence beyond the local level.

The program will be held in the Margaret Clark Auditorium of the Summerlin Building at the north end of the BHS campus beginning at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public. Refreshments will follow in the school cafeteria.

The Hall of Fame and top scholars program are sponsored by B.E.S.T.T. (Best in Education for Students of Today and Tomorrow), the school’s community support organization.

This is the citation that will accompany Miss Lyle’s induction into the Hall of Fame:


For more than three decades, Miss Bernice Lyle taught home economics at the high school from which she graduated — Summerlin Institute — teaching pithy lessons on the proper conduct of ladies along with the more traditional homemaking skills.

Bernice W. Lyle was born in Bartow on March 3, 1892, in the same house she lived in all her life at 595 S. Jackson Ave.

She attended Summerlin Institute, graduating in 1910. After high school graduation, she graduated from Randolph Macon College with a bachelor’s degree in education.

She earned her master’s degree from Columbia University in 1916 in what was termed “pure science.”

After receiving her master’s, she taught paleontology for one year at Columbia.

Soon after the United States entered World War I in April 1917, she was recruited as an American Red Cross nurse. She sailed from New York in 1917 for service with Camp Hospital No. 4 in France.

She was a nurse and ambulance attendant, stationed near Paris. After the armistice, she served in a transition area at Lyon in preparing wounded soldiers for their return home.

She returned to New York in 1919, and purchased and managed a gift shop until 1923.

Bernice became a Home Demonstration Agent for IFAS — the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences — in 1923, working out of the Polk County Courthouse. Her work took her into Polk County homes and schools.

She became a home economics teacher and lunchroom manager at Winter Haven High School in 1927, and in 1929 transferred to Summerlin Institute, teaching grades 7 through 12.

She retired from the classroom in 1963 upon reaching mandatory retirement age, but continued teaching as a substitute into her 80s.

But her work was not confined to the classroom.

For almost 40 years, she served as head counselor at a summer camp program in Massachusetts, a role she did not relinquish until the age of 80.

Bernice Lyle died in March 1981 at the age of 89.

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