H - SV School boasts rich history

by

Cindy Stewart

Kittson County Enterprise
Volume 116, Number 13
March 29, 2000

Christmas programs, proms, graduations, spring concerts... the memories go on and on.

And even though the Humboldt School District was smallin number, it was "Large" in other ways.

"As a small school we were fortunate to have dedicatedteachers and staff, many of whom were local residents," former schoolboard member Bill Dykhuis said.

It all began over 100 years ago, when the school districtwas established in 1882.

According to history books, education was always importantto the area. A $140 building was erected a mile and a half northwest ofthe village. Miss McLean was the first teacher.

A new school building was erected in 1906, on the presentgrounds. It served until 1917 when they added on. P. N. Tri began the highschool department that year. It wasn't until 1919 that Humboldt graduatedits first class.

Tri was administrator until 1933. During these 16 years,14 classes were graduated.

Kenneth Saunders then assumed the leadership for six years,from 1933 - 39.

John Longstreet terminated the four year high school in1940. Since the enrollment was so low, only grades 1 - 8 were continueduntil 1951 when Tri again set up a junior high school.

Joe River, Grampian and North Hill Town Schools becamepart of the Humboldt School in the fall of 1950. The St. Vincent 7-8 graderswere transported to Humboldt in the fall of 1951.

The board applied to the State Department of Educationto set up a Junior High School at Humboldt. The plans were officially approvedin March of 1951.

Tri assumed leadership for three terms. P. A. McArton tookover in the fall of 1954.

On Jan. 27, 1955, bids were let to construct an additionto the school building. The construction began in June 1955. A modern gymnasium,three elementary classrooms, an industrial arts department, hot lunch kitchen,science room, and administrative suite were parts of the new building.

These facilities were partially utilized in March of 1956when the 5th and 6th grades were moved into their room.

In the fall of 1956, C. T. Hermes set up the senior highschool.

After a lapse of 16 years, Humboldt-St.Vincent graduateda class of 12 in the spring of 1957.

In the 1960s through the 1980s, past school board memberDykhuis, recollects the difficulty the school sometimes had filling teachingpositions.

He also remembers various superintendents over the years,specifically from 1974 until 1991. They included Merlyn Kleven, Lloyd Fandrish,Jacob Klein, Bob Haller and D. Guy McDonald.

Dykhuis took over as chairman of the school board for theHumboldt-St.Vincent School District in 1975.

"Having three daughters who attended H-SV promptedmy serving on the school board and I also felt it was my duty to serve thedistrict in any way I could," he said.

Board members serving during those years were Leonard Howe,Francis Ness, Ron Cleem, Bob Turner, Lorne Lofberg, Leo Ash, Jane Dexter,Gary Johnson, Raymond Ward, Dennis Diamond, LeRoy Clow and ken Wiese.

Class sizes continued their downward trend in the late1980s. In 1987, there were no girls in the senior class, forcing the districtto do without a homecoming queen.

In 1991, the district's last year, there were 65 studentsin grades kindergarten through 12 grade. The school ranked as the state'ssmallest K-12 school district and spent $11,381 each year to educate a singlestudent. That was the highest ofany K-12 district in Minnesota at the timeand more than twice the state average.

On Dec. 10, 1990, the H-SV board began to undertake theconsolidation process with the Hallock School District.

On Jan. 8, 1991, the Hallock board of education voted tobegin the consolidation process.

"Consolidation of school districts is a difficultthing for all those who are involved, and it is an all too frequent itemin the news in rural areas. Hopefully, buildings that are closed for thisreason will be used in some way to prevent them from falling into disrepair,necessitating their demolition," Dykjuis said.

The closing of the Humboldt School property was held Dec.29, 1992. An auction of books, furniture, music instruments and equipmentbrought in $26,818.50.

A long-standing tradition of education came to a close.

"I have good memories and some sad, like the closingof our school," Dykhuis said.

"And more recently, the demolition of the buildings...," he said.


Some information for this segment was taken from:

Kittson County History book

Humboldt-St.Vincent yearbook

Kittson County Enterprise newspaper archives

Star Tribune news article, April 1, 1991


Additional information on Humboldt and Humboldt School:

Humboldt Graduates

Humboldt History

Michael Rustad Memories

Red River Valley Website

 E=+1>Michael Rustad Memories

Red River Valley Website