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The beginning of higher education in Morgan County

Article Date: 
6 January, 2012 (All day)

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MORGAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(To Clarify from 100 years of  Morgan High School article,  the beginnings of Morgan higher education started 100 years ago, not the graduating class. The 100 year graduating class will be 2015) 

 

Linda H. Smith 

County Historian 

 

In September 2010 Pat Peterson, Morgan School District Executive Secretary, and Linda H. Smith, County Historian met together to compare information and to determine the date when high school classes began in Morgan County.  This information was reviewed and corroborated by Superintendent Adams. 

 It was our conclusion after much research from several sources that the opening of Morgan High School was on September 18, 1911.  However, this was only for ninth graders. 

 As recorded in the Board Minutes of September 9, 1911..  Mr. H.B. Fry stated, “There would be about twenty, ninth grade students ready to begin work by Sept. 18.”   The minutes also record, “The opening of the High School was set for Sept. 18, 1911.”

 The Reaper, the first issue of the high school newspaper Vol. I, October, 1914. No I.

“The first hopes of a high school in Morgan County came to us when we were nearing graduation from the eighth grade.   Our principal, Mr. Henry B. Fry, was to come back home to Morgan and teach the first year high school along with the eighth grade of South Morgan.”

“Our [8th grade] graduating class, 1911, was the largest ever turned out in the county, numbering thirty-nine.”   

“The next school term found twenty-two Freshmen [9th graders] in the Morgan High.   Mr. Fry was both instructor and guardian, for there were no Seniors to take care of us.”

At the end of the school year, ninth grade exercises were held Saturday June 1, 1912 in the Opera House in South Morgan.  An article in the Davis Clipper Newspaper states: “. . .There were Twenty-two pupils who received certificates for the first year of high school.  These were as follows- Vernon Butters, Harry Giles, Laurel Rock, Lila Clark, Lula Grover, Leora Johnson, Doris Martin, Jesse Clark, Leland Heiner, Arch Smith, Nellie Compton, Mary Giles, Luella Little, Bessie Peterson, Lovisa Waldron, Don Durrant, Leland Mecham, Leone Coolbear, Lena Francis, Disc Heiner, Mary Mecham and Jessie Taggart.”

 School minutes verify that on May 9, 1914, the fourth year of high school was added.   This was the first year for the 12th grade.

      A Timeline for the beginning of higher education in Morgan County:     

 1910-1911  - 8th grade students graduate       

1st year at MHS     1911-1912  - 9th grade only 

2nd year at MHS    1912-1913  - 9th and 10th grades

3rd year at MHS    1913-1914  - 9th, 10th and 11th grades 

4th year at MHS    1914-1915  - 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades 

The 12th grade students were those who were 8th grade graduates in 1910-1911--the first graduating class having completed four years of high school education in Morgan County.  This graduation was held on Monday, May 24th 1915 in the Opera House (currently the Spring Chicken Inn).  A Grand Ball was held following the graduating exercises.

Another statement from The Reaper 1914.  “The year 1914-1915 is going to be a very important one. . . .The first class is to be graduated this year.  The future of the high school is in our hands, fellow students.  God grant we may prove true to this sacred trust.”