1887 - The Oakes Public School was opened in February under the supervision of the Climax Common School District. The first school building was a part of what was the American Storage Building and was located where the New Haven Hotel once stood. Miss Belle Brainard was the first teacher. The next year the number of teachers increased to two, but the school was still on the same basis as a county school.
1888- In the spring Oakes Special School District was formed and the Board of Education had its first meeting on June 4th. During the summer they decided to build a school house, and plans were immediately made for the same, the estimated cost being about $4,000.00. The owners of the Washburn addition donated three lots in the south half of the present school site and the Board bought the other three at a 15% discount. On October 15, school was again held in the old building. The primary teacher now received $40.00 a month and the principal $55.00. They began to teach some of the higher branches such civics, algebra, geometry, higher mathematics and botany.
1889- In January the new building was completed and the school moved from its old quarters. The upstairs of the building was rented for the rest of the year to the Masonic Lodge. In the fall all four rooms were used and another teacher was hired for the intermediate department.
1890- Nothing unusual occurred.
1891- In the fall the school year was extended to nine months and two grades were added, making a total number of twelve. As there were only two teachers, some of the high school pupils received normal training from the principal and assisted in the lower grades.
1892- In the spring the first class was graduated consisting of three members.
1893- There was but one graduated and no others until four years later. This year the term was extended to 10 months, a regular course of study adopted and a school catalogue published. With the proceeds from several school entertainments a library fund was started, also thru the influence of the principal, the school received 500 volumes as a gift from a library in Boston.
1896- Another class was graduated with the first commencement exercises. This class consisted of seven members and their colors were rose and cream. The school then ranked as a first class school and was second best in the state. It was then compulsory, that the students take the state examination. This class organized the alumni and added to their list the names of the four who had previously graduated. As the school continued to grow, it was necessary to gradually increase the number of the faculty and to make some improvements. A steam heating plant was installed and more room was provided for.
About 1899- The primary department was located in a room of what was the Samaritan Hospital remaining there four years.
1902- Part of the school was in a building on Union Street west of Klein and Sutmar's Store.
1903- The west addition of the school house was completed.
1905- The east addition was completed. (picture) The class of 1905 gave the first play and this same year the juniors gave one also. About this time athletics was a prominent feature in the school. Football was introduced for the boys, and the girls engaged in basketball, meeting with marked success. Owing to the omission of languages from the curriculum the school was reduced to second class.
1907- The school was restored to first class. German, music and drawing were added to the course of study.
1908- During the two years ending with 1910 the school was so crowded that the second and third grades occupied part of the Marsh Building.
At various times, aside from the additions to the building other improvements had been made such as the procuring of new furniture, books, pictures, laboratory supplies and a piano. Later the School Board bought all of the north half of the block in which the school house was located and remodeled two old buildings to accomodate all the classes. The boys took an active part in athletics, both glee clubs did excellent work, a basketball team was organized as was a track team.
1911- The senior class consisted of fourteen, seven girls and seven boys, the largest class that ever graduated from the school. The total number graduated was about 100. There were twelve teachers this year and the total number of pupils was 275, seventy of that number being in the high school. It was felt during this year it was impossible for the school to reach the highest efficiency because of the lack of room.
1923- Oakes School was, after many interruptions, completed. Mr. Gould resigned as Superintendent to go to Mandan. Mr. Slater was elected as the first superintendent in the new building.
1930- I. L. Plummer was superintendent.
1932- E. A. Quam of Leeds, ND, came to head the educational system.
(The Oakes Centennial Book pp.107-109; published 1986)
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