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Founded 1953

The original Papago School site of ten acres was purchased from the Anders farm in 1952. At that time Mr. William T. Machan was the Creighton District Superintendent. The Board of Trustee members were Dale Curtis, Russel Scheid and Vernon Croaff.

The original school, built with a Federal grant of funds, was constructed by Pete Homes and Son, Contractors, with Weaver and Dover as Architects. The original buildings were completed in August 1953. They consisted of three, five classroom wings, the administration building and an all-purpose building which is now used as a library.

The first Principal was Everett E. Cooke. The first teaching staff consisted of three first grade teachers, Mrs. Maurine Bemis, Mrs. Opal Irby and Mrs. Lillie King. In the second grade were Mrs. Evalyn McDermott and Mrs. Donna Finder. In the third grade, Mrs. Laura Brown and Mrs. Beulah Willis. Mrs. Beatrice Spangehl and Mrs. Lora Watterson taught the two fourth grades and [in fifth grade] Mr. Lee Rock, who has since assumed a Principalship at San Manuel, Arizona, and Mr. Jim Weston who taught Art at Papago.

In the sixth grade Mrs. Gloria Rausch and Mrs. Alberta Schultz were the first teachers. A few days after school opened a seventh grade was created to take care of an overflow from Monte Vista. Mrs. Edwina Elder was the first seventh grade teacher.

The special teachers were Mr. Robert Adler, Physical Education, Mrs. Lillian Wood, Art; Miss Harriett Moore, Vocal Music; and Mr. Kenneth Hicks, Instrumental Music.

The first head custodian was Clarence Houser. The first nurse was Alice Humphrey, who went on to serve as the District Head Nurse. The first secretary is Eleanor Sumners.

Enrollment the first year was 467 pupils.

In October of 1953 work was started on the fourth classroom wing, the cafeteria and the Homemaking and Industrial Arts building. These were completed in September and October of the term 1954-55.

On December 1, 1954 work was started on a three-unit timber-rib building. These three classrooms were ready to occupy just twenty-four days later.

Work was started on wings five and six, and an additional room on wing four and a janitor\’s warehouse in the spring of 1955. These were completed so that they could be occupied during the Christmas holidays of the same year.

In the spring of 1956 four and one half acres were purchased from the Leeper farm on the west side of 36th Street for the purpose of building a primary school. The first unit of six classrooms was completed during the summer of 1956 and were used by the six sections of first grade pupils for the term 1956-57.

During the summer of 1957 a new wing of two classrooms and a store room was completed. This allowed two second grades to be placed over there.

Parent-Teacher Association Presidents have been:

  • Mr. Austin Adams 1953-54
  • Mr. Calvin Rutger 1954-55
  • Mr. James Helmericks 1955-56
  • Mr. Earl McCoy 1956-57
  • Mrs. Virginia Reilly 1957-58

The first registered Scoutmaster was Clarence Beddome whose place was taken by Richard Geyer. The first Cubmaster was Vernon Baker.

Basketball courts were poured in 1954-55 term. Also in 1955 the stage in the cafetorium was constructed by Robert Allther and curtains were installed by P.B.S.W. These were paid for by the P.T.A. and district funds. The school was fenced in 1956 and the sidewalk in front of the school was started in January 1957. This same month the Music Boosters Club was started with Mr. Vince Montenieri as President.

The first Industrial Arts teacher was Edgar Smythe, who left in 1957. The first and present Home Economics teacher is Miss Ruth Ann Gildea and Mrs. Opal Irby; one of the original first grade teachers later the librarian. Rena Fritz was appointed school nurse, replacing Mrs. Humphrey. Robert Adler served as the Audio Visual Education technician. Clifford T. White joined the staff in 1956 and was made Assistant Principal in 1957.

(Written approximately 1960)

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