(Jamestown High School was located on 24th Avenue just south of R. B. Stilwill's blacksmith shop 
which was located at the southeast corner of 24th Avenue and Riley Street.)

JAMESTOWN HIGH SCHOOL - Spring, 1919

by Virginia Avery Meeth

When word reached us that there was to be a High School at Jamestown I made haste to enroll. Most of the first ninth grade was made up of children who had been out of school for two years or more.

Eighth grade had been rather sketchy. A new school was to be built in the spring of 1919 and the old school was dismantled. The new school wasnít ready until November and three precious months had been lost.

Now in our eighth year we had draw-backs. Our teacher, Jacob Van Dyke, decided, after teaching a few weeks, to leave. We had Mrs. Dick Smallegan for a few months. She gave up Bell School to come to teach at Maple Grove (Forest Grove). Before the term was over her certificate ran out. For the last weeks of school Mrs. Fanny Plasman Van Dyke came. She was a fine teacher but we were rebellious at having our teacher uprooted.

At that time children had to write their exams at Holland. It was going to be particularly tough that year because we had to crowd into seven months what most had nine to accomplish. We all went to Holland. No teacher came to give us last minute coaching. Mr. VandeBunte was there with his students and he came over and gave us a briefing. I think we all passed in spite of the fact that Nelson R. Stanton stood over us with a forbidding look.

With only seven months of eighth grade and two terms at home, High School, although welcome, gave us some doubts as to our ability to handle it. The summer of twenty-two finally ended and to school we went. The first ninth grade was an assortment of children of all ages. Some came fresh from the eighth but most of us would have felt ourselves a bit rusty.

Just Dick Vande Bunte taught that first year. He had planned to teach the eighth too but the ninth was such a big class that he had to abandon his plans to teach that class. We had no separate class room that year. We studied at our desks and gave our assignments from it. We had no extra curriculum. It was all work and we loved it. As I remember, a Glee Club was formed but I didnít take part. It was after school hours and the walk home was long. (Nate) She lived ľ mile east of the Forest Grove School.

I canít recall any electric lights. Dark days were just something we took in our stride. Those days were extremely happy ones. We felt we had the very best of teachers. Many years later I received a letter from Mr. Vande Bunte in answer to a Christmas card I sent him. He said "I was so poorly qualified to teach High School at that time, I had to really work to keep ahead of that class." They were there because they wanted to learn. Most had a taste of just staying home with little to occupy them, so the prospect of once again being able to go to school was a great priviledge.

Some of the class took Latin, but Botany and Zoology was offered for those who didnít. The ninth did give a play that first year. I canít recall what it was, but a success never-the-less.

The next year our tenth grade had Jeanette Hoffman who came to assist Mr. Vande Bunte. That year we had a class-room and it seemed more like the real thing. We had devotions out in the large room where the primary kids were. It all seemed such fun. We met and selected blue and gold for our class colors. Motto: "Be not simply good; Be good for something."

Graduation Day came all too soon for me. I loved it so. We searched the fields for wild mustard and violets and spent the day arranging them.

Baccalaureate services were held at one of the churches. Myrtle Klooster was our Valedictorian. Raymond Brummel was the Salutatorian. We met once more the next day and had our class picture taken at Zeeland.

With great feeling we disbanded. Some went on to other schools. I to Byron. But the days of Jamestown High will always live in my memory as one of the happiest episodes of my life.

Later photo of Jamestown High School (Unknown date)


Location: Article found in the Jamestown Public Library, Genealogy Room
Transcriber: Susan Gates Davis
Created: 25 April 2003
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/twprecords/Jamestw/jamestownhs.html