History

The following was written in the 1930 “Optimist” to celebrate the first fifty years of the Crookston Public Schools. The author of the article was Beth Balfour, who was the Editor of the 1930 “Optimist”.

With 1930 the Crookston schools approach a half century of existence.

Minutes of the first school board meeting are dated July 29, 1881, and reading through the records of the school from that day to this, we find many names connected with the activities of the last quarter century that are exactly the same as names mentioned as prominent in affairs of the first quarter century, with only the addition of the letters Jr., or the numerals II. Indeed, Mrs. John Moore, widow of the first superintendent of the Crookston schools, who now resides near Nashville, Tennessee, may well believe herself reading of the affairs of the students of Professor Moore's regime in the Crookston schools, in perusing recent annuals of C.H.S. R. W. Hitchcock, W. F. Selleck, E. C. McIntyre, who succeeded Professor Moore in the order named will all remember students of the first quarter century, while A. B. Hess and G. H. Sanberg, who headed the schools in later years will congratulate our present superintendent, Arnold Gloor, on having brought so many of the students with whom they made acquaintance in the primary grades to the successful termination of twelve years of grade and high school.

High school principals began counting their various triumphs and vicissitudes in the Crookston schools with the superintendents. Charles Chamberlain was the first, succeeded by C. E. Genvin, Albert Pratt, and J. H. Dewart, during Prof. Moore's 15 years in this school. C. W. Newbery, J. H. Bohlander, Vesta Cornish, Merrill Smith, C. J. Borchart, and C. H. Geise followed, and were in turn succeeded by J. M. Chapman, who has been guiding High School affairs for the past seven years.

In 1905, the Faculty consisted of six teachers who taught subjects in the various courses offered. German, Science, Latin, Literature and Normal were the courses, to which were added Manual Training in the year 1908. Music was introduced to the curriculum of the High School in 1911. In 1911 the Faculty had increased to fourteen members, with an increase in the courses of Domestic Science and Agriculture. The courses were again enriched in 1912 by the addition of Art, Commercial and Public Speaking departments. There was then no change until 1918, when German was dropped. French took its place in 1922. In the year 1930, we find a Faculty of twenty members with all the subjects that are named with the exception of German and Agriculture.

The first class was graduated from C. H. S. in 1891. There were four members, three of whom later became attorneys and are still practicing law in Minnesota. They are W. A. Marin, "William Vannett, James E. Montague and G. E. Finlayson. In 1892 the class consisted of 3; 1893, 7; 1894, 3; 1904, 20. This year there are 74.

The first annual was issued in 1905 although there was a school magazine known as "The Shadow," some time before that. There were six teachers on the faculty at this time. The annual was issued continuously from 1905 to 1913, skipped in 1913, and has been issued continuously since.

The C.H.S. inaugurated its athletics program with N. A. Thorson the first football coach. Arnold Hamel was Captain of the first football team. In 1906, contending for honors for the C.H.S., were a track team, a baseball team and a girls' tennis team. In 1912 we had the champion football team of the Northwest. Stewart Roemer was captain of this team. In 1921 an interstate relay race between Grand Forks and Crookston included 26 runners, each entrant running one mile. Crookston won the first event and possession of the silver cup donated by the Grand Forks Herald, but Grand Forks later won permanent possession of the trophy. In 1922 and 1923 Crookston reached the state basketball tournament, but was defeated by Red Wing and Blue Earth, respectively. In 1925 C.H.S. was awarded the good sportsmanship trophy in regional athletics. The National Athletic Scholarship Society was introduced into the C.H.S. in 1927. In 1929, C.H.S. contended for honors in football, basketball and track.

Digging down into the dusty archives of history we find some names which will linger long in the memory of athletic fans of the C.H. S. Among them are Jack Fournet, Ball, Miller, Getty, Woolery, Flood, Marchand, Gronvold, Daniels, Cochrane, and many others.

The subject of debate deserves a place of marked distinction in our history, for the debate team has brought to C.H.S. the greatest honors the school has ever attained. In 1911-12 the Junior and Senior boys organized a class in public speaking. Its aim was to develop facility in extemporaneous speaking. The result was the organization of a debating team which became a member of the Minnesota High School Debating League through which the state champions in debate were declared. Leslie Lee, Walter Baumgartel, and Harry Sylvestre were the first debaters and won the debate championship of the state. Their coach was Mrs. Faith Gray. In 1921 C.H.S. were again state champions in debate. The team included Keith Sanberg, James Montague, and George Hagen. with E. G. Norstrom, coach. In 1929 state honors were won for the third time by Robert Thompson., Margaret Pratt, Carol Lillo, Deborah Ekrem, Sue Thorson, and Margaret Fosmark, with Adeline Ebling, coach. The first three named won the semi-final and final contests.

High School interest in music received great impetus in 1916 under Miss Mildred Coe, who gave annual musicals in the Armory during the two years of her regime as music supervisor. In succeeding years glee clubs and orchestra were oganized and operas were given annually. In 1925 the Crookston orchestra won district honors and placed second in the state under the direction of Mrs. Homstead. In 1926 the Pep band was organized. In 1928, under the direction of Mrs. Marion Forsman the Girls' Glee Club won first place in the state.

In 1918 Beauty and Popularity contests were inaugurated in the High School, each class having a candidate. These eventually developed into the present Citizenship contest, which has been conducted annually since 1927, when the graduating class presented a bronze plaque to the high school., on which the names of the two best school citizens have been inscribed each year. To date this record honors Dorothy Fournet and Donald Graham, '26; Otto Heidrich and Marjorie Graham, '27; Elmer Foskett and Lucille Laramie, '28; Robert Thompson and Margaret Pratt, '29; Merriam Fredricks and Ruth Dahl, '30.

In 1923 only two divisions, the dramatic and oratorical, competed for declamatory honors, but in 1926 the humorous division was added. Miss Vida Holder won first outside honors in this division, going to the regional contest in 1926. In 1930 Miss Ruth Dahl competed in the final state contest, also in the humorous division.

In 1923, too, the present Normal Department was established under Miss Abbie Cole. Fourteen High School graduates enrolled and class rooms were in the Franklin building.

In 1926 a Journalism Society was introduced into the C.H.S., under the direction of Miss Emma Mills. The journalism class developed the ”Pepster" issued fortnightly under student management and edited by students appointed by a faculty director.

No history of C.H.S. would be complete without mention of Mr. Lobb, who has been custodian of the building since 1911. Among the pleasant traditions which have grown up during the score of years of his association with the students is the celebration of May 22, his natal day, which he annually presents to the Senior class, together with a decorated cake, for their birthday party.

It is our hope that those who come after us uphold the dignity and honor of our school as worthily as those who preceded us. 

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