In 1943 the senior classes of the two high schools in Lakeland, Florida decided to purchase war bonds as the senior class gifts to the schools, instructing that the proceeds be used to make improvements to their respective schools. Senior students at Lakeland High School, attended by white students in the city, purchased $125 in bonds for the purpose of installing a water cooler in the school library once the bonds had matured. Seniors at the all black Washington Park High School purchased $75 in bonds to be used to install concrete benches under the campus oak.
The wishes of the students were not carried out, however. The bonds were stored in a closet at Lakeland High School (now Lawton Chiles Middle School) and apparently forgotten. The bonds were finally rediscovered when school officials were cleaning out the closet in the summer of 1991. By that time Lakeland High School had moved to a new facility and Washing Park High School had long since been torn down. The war bonds and accompanying documentation were donated to the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library where they now reside, unredeemed but with an interesting story.