Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

  September 9, 1993, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days  


By Dee Zimmerman


Occasionally, we receive photos and annuals from the Neillsville High School graduating classes of the past.  It is always interesting to read and discover and more about those years of the education system in Clark County.


The first graduation class as made up of three students in 1875: Mary Austin (later Mrs. John Thayer), Rosa Head (Mrs. Frank Burgess) and Walter F., Mason (became an attorney, practicing law at Redfield, N.D.).


A note of interest in the 1914-1915 School Annuals introduction:  “The Neillsville High School aims to give a practical as well as cultural training; to make the young people of this section more efficient in the everyday work of life.  Three new practical courses have been added this year and are being successfully conducted, in addition to the regular work in English, History, Languages (Latin and German), Mathematics, and Sciences, given in the high school.


Domestic Science, now referred to as Home Ec. (Economics) was an optional course in the first two years, required course the last two years of high school for all the girls.   As well as instruction on the practical work of homemaking, a once-a-week evening class was conducted for millinery and a class on household decorating.


Starting in 1910, a Manual Training class was available to students.  That course, too, was optional for the first two years and required the last two years for the boys.  The course was devoted to shop work and mechanical drawing. The shop was equipped with two lathes, sixteen work tables and a good supply of general tools needed for woodworking, etc.


The Commercial Department was established in September 1913.  The object of the course was to fit students to meet the requirements of the business world.  Commercial Arithmetic, Bookkeeping, Commercial Law, Business Correspondence, Typing, Stenography and other commercial subjects were taught.  Practical experiences in city offices during the last few weeks of the course, was required as part of the training.


Neillsville was one of the five high schools in the state to offer a short course during the winter.  The course began in mid-November and continued four and one-half months.  It was open to all boys and girls who wished to take some high school classes but couldn’t attend the full year.  Many of those lived on farms and their help was needed on the family farm.  Each student could elect subjects; a special class room and teacher was (were) provided for those students and a semester’s credit was given for the work done.


In 1914, it was realized that the rural school was coming into its own.  Before that, not much thought was given to the qualifications of the rural school teacher.  If that person had attended some high school classes, he or she, could teach rural school.  With the growing number of rural schools, the concern for more teachers’ training became a realization.  At that time, there was the University, eight normal schools and about thirty county training schools in the state of Wisconsin.  With that in mind, the state legislature appropriated $25,000 to be used to establish Teachers’ Training Courses in some of the high schools; the Neillsville district applied for and secured one of those courses.


In that course, two units in the junior year and two units in the senior year were required.  Upon completion, a certificate was given entitling the recipient to teach for five years.


In addition to the regular curriculum of instruction, there were classes in Manual, Psychology, School Management, construction work, drawing, phonics, etc.  A Practice class was conducted throughout the year with traveling to country schools and city grades for observation.  Many attended the Teachers’ Training Course during its years of existence in the Neillsville High School curriculum.


The extracurricular, fun events were available, too.  Boy’s football, boy’s and girl’s basketball, Orchestra, glee club’s and class plays.  Some of the basketball games were played with school teams of Arcadia, Mondovi, Eau Claire, Thorp, Greenwood and Augusta.  The team entered the Milton College Tournament.  Their first game was won, playing against Fort Atkinson.  The semi-finale game with Hartland also brought them a victory.  A vie for the championship resulted in a defeat by Janesville.  None-the-less, it had been a great season for the Neillsville team.


Though there have been many changes in the field of education since 1915, the desire and need for training the mind are still occurring.


Neillsville High School Class of 1915, front row, (left to right): William Korman, Emil Wepfer, Anthony Zimmer, James Farning, Ole Johnson and Frank Kelly.  Second row: Neva Henze, Elsie Henchen, Fern Flint, Frieda Radke, Henrietta Clemmens and Ruth Woodworth, Third Row: Floyd Hansen, Mildred Schiller, Beth Free, Kenneth Austin, Gladys Frantz, Isabelle Lowe, Will Waterpool, Bessie Rose, Lesa Langraf, Clara Wasserburger and Edwin Naedler.


1915 N.H.S. Girl’s Basketball Team, bottom row (left to right): Helen Zimmer, Edith Lowe and Beth Free.  Back Row: Mildred Schiller, Isadora Forman, Miss Hutton, Helen Hartman and Bessie Rose


Neillsville High school Boy's Basketball Team of 1915, first row: Center, Glynn Stoffel, second row: Walter Tragsdorf, Henry Just and Throniel Haugen, third row: Bill Waterpool, Mr. Crandall (coach) and Oscar Gerhardt.


Teachers’ Training Course students of 1915, (left to right) front row: Elsie Henchen, Neva Henze, Kenneth Austin, Elizabeth Free, Bessie Rose and Gladys Frantz.  Back Row: Grace Woodcock, Allie Roat, Augusta Martins, Lucille Henze, Ada Quinnell, Ida Newell, Miss Hammond (the instructor), Jean Davis Mildred Kintzele, Pearl Berg, Norman Schroeder and Jennie Ackerman.


Members of the Teachers’ Institute, Neillsville, circa 1915-1920.  Visible in the background is the Neillsville Graded school building and the High School building is partially shown on the right side of the photo. 



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