|Big Springs Rural
High School dates back to 1914, when this branch of higher learning was established,
with classes being conducted in the old Grade School Building. The High School
was operated through the local school district. In 1921, under the direction
of Loren Root, Supt. of Schools, a Rural High School District was formed.
This district comprised a number of the rural districts in the eastern portion
of Deuel County. Mr. John Menter, Mr. John Warren and Rev. Snyder served
as the first School Board Members. Miss Mary Eatwell was the High School
Superintendent, with a faculty of four, and an enrollment of approximately
40 students. Due to lack of facilities, extra curricular activities were
at a minimum. However, a basketball team was formed, with practice sessions
held out-of-doors, and actual games being played in "Waterman Hall", now
the second story of the Heidemann building. The present High School Building
was put to first use in 1923, when the Junior and Senior Class Plays were
presented in the auditorium. However, the class of 1923 did not graduate
in the auditorium due to extremely wet grounds. The graduating class of
that year included three members. The move to the new building was completed
during the summer, and in the fall of 1923, the first classes were held.
Thus, the class of 1924 holds the distinction of being the first to receive
diplomas from the elegant new building, with the class of 1927 being the
first to have attended their entire four years of high school in the present
building. Basketball was greatly enhanced and expanded with the facilities
provided by the sparkling new gymnasium...one of the finest in the area and
football got underway in 1924, under the direction of Supt. P.C. Redfern.
In addition to increased sports activities, facilities were now available
for a continued addition to the curriculum during the next few years. Included
were band, glee clubs, typing and commercial subjects, dramatics, Normal
Training and Home Economics. In 1928, after the Smith-Hughes Agricultural
Dept. act approved the erection of a Vocation Agricultural building, this
splendid structure was built and equipped as a shop building, where farm
boys were able to "learn by doing," and Agriculture became a very important
subject at BSHS. In 1943 the High School was admitted to membership in the
North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Thus, graduates
were fully equipped to meet college entrance requirements, with a diploma
from a fully accredited school system. In 1950 the football field was remodeled
and lights were installed. The May Fete celebration, including the winding
of the May Pole, was the highlight of each spring during the 40's, 50's and
early 60's. Music programs were an important part of the 50's and 60's with
girls trio, quartet, madrigal, pep band, jazz band and orchestra (even a
string bass!) FFA, FHA and Home Economics were active and still an important
part of High School life. 1954 was the first year for girl's basketball.
In May of 1965 a proposed bond issue of $425,000 for the building of an elementary school was voted on and passed by a majority of the patrons of the district. Construction started in December 1965 with completion in May, 1967. The class of 1967 held their graduation ceremonies in the new gymnasium on May 14, 1967. During the summer of 1967 the lower grade classrooms were moved to the new building and the addition opened in the fall of that year. With the addition of the new classrooms and gymnasium the old gym was remodeled and made into classrooms and library facility.
In the late 1970's a new 7,200 square foot building was erected north of the school buildings. This building houses the industrial arts workshop and classroom areas, along with bus barn, basketball practice area The first chapter of Future Business Leaders of America was organized in 1983. During the summer of 1988, the home economics room was completely remodeled. Also, at this time the hallway and north entrance into the old building was removed and new men's and women's restrooms added. In the fall of 1989, the upstairs of the new shop building was transformed into a fitness center for community and school use. That same year six IBM computers were purchased and networked in the school. Big Springs entered into a cooperative sharing program with the Brule Public Schools and the combined athletic teams chose South Platte Blue Knights as their new name and mascot. South Platte Blue Knights joined the minuteman Activities Conference in 1990.
On May 13, 1995 the last official class to graduate from Big Springs High School held their ceremony in the Big Springs gymnasium. After several years of half and full day sharing programs with Brule, plans were put into effect to reorganize the school districts and consolidate. On August 1, 1995 Big Springs Public School District #80 and Brule Public Schools #17, officially became South Platte Public Schools, District #95.
The Big Springs Rural High School Alumni Association was an idea conceived by the Young Matrons' Club. After considerable discussion, the idea gathered momentum and was presented to more BSRHS graduates. Glen Kepler was contacted and he consented to head a discussion meeting. One member from each class was asked to attend to gain further ideas and aid in setting the machinery in motion. From this meeting, our Alumni Association was born. The Big Springs High School Alumni Association wished the very best to the future South Platte High School graduates. May your memories be as sweet as ours!
The first officers to be elected were:
The first Annual Alumni Banquet was held in May, 1951. As the record decisively indicates, our Alumni Association, through the work of this first group, was set on a solid foundation. Each year a great number of BSRHS graduates come from all over the United States to renew acquaintances. There is every indication that the event will continue to maintain the ranks of post graduates.