(Editor's note: this is the third in a series of articles about the early days of schooling in the Wadena area.)
In 1914, Emerson T. Carroll, the superintendent since 1903, resigned in mid-year, stating that he resigns immediately in order that he might retain his self-respect and relieve the community of his services, inasmuch as they appear to be no longer needed or desired. The board had summoned Mr. Carroll to a meeting to advise him that due to ever-increasing opposition in the village they would be compelled to secure a new superintendent for next year. Mr. Carroll, deeply offended, offered his immediate resignation.
In 1915, a high school band was organized under C. C. Kirk.
In 1916, St. Ann's parochial school had outgrown its present building, resulting in a fund drive and building two times larger than their present one. Looking at the Catholic school today, from the south, less the addition on the east side, you will see two sections of the school, middle and west which were built at this time.
Also, the old problem of overcrowding reared up again when School Board Clerk Andrew Hall reported the problem, stating that the wish of the board was to build an addition on the north side of the school at a cost of $15,000. Also the request of north side residents for a school there was offered at a cost of $5,000. Both proposals were defeated in a referendum.
Later the proposal was again presented with the north side proposition being heavily rejected, effectively disposing of this question, and the other proposition for a $17,000 addition to the present school losing by only 37 votes. Thus leaving the door open for further consideration.
Finally in June the proposal for a $17,000 bond issue for the addition passed by a vote of 228-155. It is interesting that women were allowed to vote which may have accounted for its success. The contract was let to N. O. Nelson, a local contractor, for $16,424 with work to be completed by Jan. 1, 1917. The basement to be constructed for manual training purposes, the first floor for class rooms and the second floor for the commercial department.
Later that year a Parent Teacher's Organization was organized with Jean Stewart, president, Harald E. Boen, vice president and Mrs. Ida Kenyon, secretary treasurer.
In 1917, the Pioneer Journal noted that basketball teams from neighboring towns have taken to refusing to meet the local team on the home floor giving as the reason for their refusal that the gym is too small. Thus Wadena will have to play its remaining games away from home.
Also that year, courses in agriculture and additional manual training were added under the supervision of a Mr. W. Riley. A three months short course for the benefit of boys who cannot attend high school will be offered in the agricultural department beginning on Dec. 3.
In 1918, the school was closed for a three week period in December due to the influenza epidemic.
In 1920, the Pioneer Journal announced that teachers' salaries would require an additional $5,000 in the coming year. The new pay scale running from $120 to $160 per month with the majority in the $150 range, up from $90 to $105 in the grades and up to $140 in high school.
In March 1920, it was announced that a Kindergarten class would be organized in connection with the Normal Training class, beginning March 29. Children who will be six years of age on or before Jan. 1, 1922 are eligible. Parents are urged not to enroll students unless the school can be given reasonable assurance that the child will be present at least forty days during the remainder of the school year.
In 1921, the shortage of teachers was responsible for a pay increase for teachers for the ensuing year. The coming year Mr. Bothe, the superintendent, would be receiving $3,200 for the year. Pay increases for the grade teachers would average $5 per month with the high school and special departments higher. That year the high school graduated 22 and the Normal Training department 8.
In 1922, it was announced that Wadena Public School now boasts a radio telephone receiving set which is the object of a great deal of interest at this time and promises to spring into practical use locally in the near future. Thus far work has been confined to "tuning in" on the wave lengths to receive musical concerts from Denver, Pittsburgh and Newark, N. J. Superintendent Bothe hoped to purchase a Magnavox for use with the receiving set so that the local public can enjoy some of the big musical concerts right here at home at no expense.
Also that year the operetta "The Quest of the Pink Parasol" was staged at the Cozy Theatre, under the direction of Miss Dorothy Scott with the comment that it was well received and excellently staged and sung. It was further noted that the basketball team and David Roche in the declamatory contest both came away with District honors.
In 1923, war was declared on all students of the public school who were caught smoking, either on school premises or about town. An arrest was made the previous Friday on a warrant sworn out by Professor Hubert Kuefler and a nominal fine imposed on the individual.
In 1924, the Girl's Glee Club presented the operetta entitled "Yanki San" at the Cozy Theatre under the direction of Miss Vergne Campbell, with a cast of 35 high school girls.
Next week: From Latin to Cicero