By Arvid Huisman
My alma mater’s days are numbered. Beginning this fall, the Northeast Hamilton Community School District’s middle school and high school student will be bused to Webster City for classes and extracurricular activities. As part of the whole grade sharing project, an elementary school will remain in Blairsburg.
This is happening across the state as rural areas lose population and, consequently, rural school districts lose enrollment. I moved back to Hamilton County a year ago from Ankeny where, ironically, school enrollment is growing so rapidly we had to build a second high school a few years ago.
There was a wave of school reorganization in Iowa during the 1950s and 1960s. In the fall of 1959 I was a sixth grade student in what had been the Jewell Independent School District when my classmates and I noticed that new textbooks had been stamped, “Property of South Hamilton Community Schools.” The Jewell school had merged with schools from nearby Ellsworth, Randall and Stanhope. The four high schools came together on one campus in the fall of 1962.
My family moved to nearby Kamrar in 1960 and two years later our school merged with the schools in Blairsburg and Williams to create the Northeast Hamilton Community School District.
I was a high school freshman that first year. It was an exciting time as the student body got to select team mascots, school colors, the school song and the like.
My buddies and I wanted our mascot to be the Knight. The boys’ teams would be the Knights and the girls’ teams … well, we boys thought that they would be the Knighties.
Brighter minds prevailed and we became the Trojans and the Trojets.