The development and improvement of new weaponry made World War I the bloodiest war of its time. When Washington expressed a need for surgical dressings, those who could help offered up their time, including some Somerville High School students.
During the war, Somerville High formed the Somerville High School Patriotic Association to help with the war effort. Under the leadership of this association, the Surgical Dressings Department was formed. A faculty member by the name of Miss Congdon was appointed head of the department. Miss Congdon along with other faculty members took instruction classes with the Red Cross so that they could properly assist the students with the work. The surgical dressing class took place in a room on the third floor of the West building.
Only junior and senior students were allowed to sign up for the class. The class was so popular that students had to make an appointment in advance in order to guarantee a spot. The classes were held Mondays through Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00. According to the 1918 yearbook, 3,990 dressings were made in the month of April alone!