Thank you to the
Morgan County Historical Society for pictures and history information.
With the dawning of a new age at the turn of the century, the beautiful Morgan valley experienced more rapid growth and change along with the rest of the nation. The changing times also changed the functioning of the American families, communities, and society as a whole.
As the industrial age was opening up and leading to different ways of living and surviving, there were many new beginnings and new ways of thinking. Changes to the traditional way of farming that took a lot less time, freed up the hands of children who worked on the farm every day to make it produce and meet their needs.
It had pretty much been a given that a child born to a farming family had their way of life pre-determined for them. They would follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and farming would be their way of life. The new era opened up new and different possibilities for those born and being raised on a farm, much like historical families of Morgan County. New farm equipment was able to do the work faster, more efficiently, and with less physical demands on the part of workers... both the of the human variety and of the equine team variety.
With this new found time, one could pursue other forms making a living and providing for a family, and clearly, machinery would continue to be invented, built, and sold and would replace the need for more manpower rather than less. Following that line of thinking also led one to realize that getting a formal education may become more of a necessity rather than a luxury.
This horizon was definitely a new one. Rather than learning their letters, numbers, reading, writing, and arithmetic at whatever sporadic free time (usually during the darker winter months, or in rare and sporadic free times of parents and older family members who farmed sunup to sundown, or from they would now be taught by a professional educator who had current learning and knowledge of learning institutions .... again... rather than learning from the bits and pieces their parents had been fortunate enough to glean in their own early years.
Morgan had been fortunate to have many good learned men and women living in the community who set up schools to teach students who enrolled and paid a small fee. Classes were normally held in homes or church buildings during the weekdays and all ages were taught together regardless of their different levels of education and learning abilities.
Students still had the same challenges however in that they were needed on the farms all spring to cultivate and plant, all summer to water and tend to crops, and, of course, during the busy harvest time of autumn. The farm work came first, but all outside learning was a privilege of the times.
In the early 1900’s as the changes started to occur, class sizes increased and upper and lower level classes could be separated. It was after a decade of these changes after sufficient change had been made when a school board was formed by community members and a formal school system was proposed and accepted.
With the approval and hiring of teachers and curriculum ready for students, divisions were finally made possible. Upper level classes were finally created and older students could be separated from the younger ages needing their foundation of an early elementary education.
In 1911, the school board appointed 15 new teachers and shortly after, Superintendant Dickson informed board that the state superintendent’s office had authorized Morgan county district authority to grant high school credit to those who completed the ninth grade course of study. Henry Frye created the curriculum, course of study, and requirements for graduation. Finally, the older students were divided off for upper level classes of higher secondary learning.
As the population of the county grew and more and more students entered the Morgan School District’s educational program, all levels of education expanded in curriculum, resources, facility capacity, administrators and educators. Along with the increased quantity came continual increases in the course materials, school programs such as sports, FFA, drill teams languages and drama. Along the way, many customs and traditions have been started …. Now they have become rich traditions of pride for the alma mater of the Morgan High Trojan Warrior.
Now, it has been a century since educators of the newly established Morgan School District welcomed students of the first senior class of a Morgan High School. This small group of classmates would be the pioneer pupils given the opportunity to receive certified recognition of their learning achievements.
This would be received at the commencement of that school year. As tradition has held each year since, a ceremony would be held in their honor the following year at a springtime graduation… but these commencement exercises would be unique as this close group of peers would have the distinguished privilege of being the very first graduating class in the valley. Indeed, the faculty, administrators and students acknowledged the fact as names were called and they proudly accepted high school diplomas, certifying completion of their fundamental education.