(The following was written by Faye White Moreland and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
A high school charter was secured in 1895. High school was a three-year course of study at that time. The first high school graduation was that of the class of 1896. There were four members in this class.
An editorial of the first graduation was written in the Grove City Blade issue of Thursday, June 4th, 1896. (The Grove City Blade was the first newspaper in Grove City. It started business in 1894.) The write-up states that the Grove City School, in the past and present, is the most prominent in the township, and rivaled by few villages. It also printed, “A.C. Fries, now superintendent, stated that this first commencement of Grove City High School marks an Epoch in the history of the town.”
Dr. Hoover, president of the Board of Education, introduced the speaker. The speaker was Honorable O.T. Corson, State Commissioner of Schools. He gave a “sound, hitting-the-nail-on-the-head”, speech. He emphasized that the most essential thing for every avocation of life was education.
The members of the Board of Education in 1896 were: Dr. Will Hoover, A.L. Nichols, Edward F. Darnell, John Baumgartner, D.D. Dupree and Aaron Neiswander. Teachers in 1896 were: A.C. Fries, Miss Ivy Clark, Miss Jesse Snouffer and Miss Dora Caywood. The total enrollment that year was 200.
There were no lights in this school at this time. On stormy days, the rooms were quite dark, consequently, little studying was done. There were no modern inside toilets. The four rooms were individually heated with “pot belly” stoves.
High school students were attending here from other school districts: Jackson, Pleasant, Franklin and Prairie townships in Franklin County and Scioto Township in Pickaway County.
Drinking water was pumped from a covered dug well, about 50 feet southeast from the front door steps of the school. The long handle of the pump had a heavy iron counterbalance weight on the other end. An interesting little story about this pump took place along about 1917. One day a boy by the name of Russell Darnell, stooped to pick up a marble he had dropped under the weight. Just as he stooped, a girl lifted the handle to pump a cup of water. The weight went down on Russ’s head, and the stars of the universe, he did see.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry).