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 VIENNA HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY

(submitted to this website by Russell Hayes, Class of 1958)

Vienna High School had its origin in the school year of 1913-1914 in the old school house on the hill. The building had three rooms. There was a wooden porch without a roof all along the east side, with a well in the north end of the porch. Part of the building still stands on the original site, and is the home of John and Charley Parker. The other part of the building was moved and remodeled into the dwelling now occupied by Millard Leuthen. The heat in the old school was furnished by a big iron stove in the back of the room. On cold days everyone sat around the fire on long benches. We had our coats on, and our faces would be burning while our backs were freezing. Big boys spent much time carrying in wood and punching the fire with a long iron poker. The first year only the ninth grade was taught. One teacher taught both the high school students and the upper grades. The first high school superintendent was Loren B. Grimsley, a bashful young man of about nineteen or twenty. There were about eight or nine high school students, and twelve or fifteen grade students. The subjects taught in high school were English, algebra, ancient history, and Latin. High school students in those days were very sedate. To preserve their dignity they were formally addressed as Mr. So and So and Miss So and So. Since the grade students were in the same room, they were addressed in the same manner, much to their amusement. In 1914-15 and 1915-16 Robert C. Hutchison of Chamois, Missouri , a young man of eighteen, became superintendent. He organized the first basketball team in Vienna . Since there was not enough boys to make up a team, both boys and girls played. Our first game was against the Belle boys. Belle won the game by an overwhelming score, but the Vienna girls got in a few good kicks and scratches. We played Dixon and were defeated again. The next year we had more students and had both a boys team and a girls team. The superintendent had a girl friend at Linn and for this reason most of our games were with Linn. It took all Saturday morning to drive to Linn in a surrey. That afternoon we played two games on an outdoor court in the cold. Saturday night there would be a big party in some home, and Sunday we would drive back to Vienna . We were taken into the homes at Linn for meals and to spend the night and were treated royally. About 1916 the well-dressed girl athlete wore baggy black serge bloomers, coming well below the knees, long black cotton stockings, a black middy blouse reaching to the hips, and a red bandana on the head. Quite daring. The older people wondered what the younger generation was coming to - - girls wearing such undignified clothing. The boys wore loud striped jerseys, shorts coming almost to the knees, three quarter socks, and a bill cap, with bill turned to the back in a snappy manner. There were other activities besides basketball. On Friday afternoons we had arithmetic or spelling matches. Once a week we sang church songs accompanied by a squeaky old organ that sat in one corner of the school room. At the close of school a big free entertainment was given by the students. This was a custom in the Vienna school for many years. One night was not enough -- we had two.

E. W. Allison became superintendent in 1916-17. This year second year high school subjects were taught for the first time. There were three in the class and we studied English, advanced algebra, medieval and modern history, and agriculture. In 1917 C. L. Crum was elected superintendent and held the position until 1928, with the exception of one year during World War I when he was in the service of his country. During this absence his work was ably carried on by Miss Pansy Johnson. About this time the old school became too small and plans were made for a new building where the school stands today. This building was a four room brick structure completed in 1919. Two rooms were used for the grades and two for the high school. The high school classes were held on the east side of the building in the rooms used today for the study hall and the English room. There was a stage built in the south end of the English room and folding doors between the high school rooms so they could be made into an auditorium. The library was in the hall between the English room and the middle grades room which was then used for the primary grades. There was a furnace under the building but no modern conveniences. The old piano in the gym was bought at this time. About 1921 or '22 still more room was needed, and a room was built on the south side of the building. It was covered with sheet iron and painted red to harmonize with the rest of the building. Another high school teacher was added to the faculty, making three. V.H.S. now became a four year high school. The first class to complete the four year course graduated in 1923. The members of this group were Edna Gray, Evelyn Finn, Ester Curtis, Alta Copeland, Carl Birmingham, Hazel Mosby, Edward Street, and Pope Terrill. C. A. Baldwin became superintendent of Vienna High School in 1928 and ably steered its course for three years. He is responsible for issuing diplomas to two weighty seniors by the names of "Cactus" Jack Allen and Arthur "Peanuts" Prewett in 1929. Lucy Parker Helms was a member of the class of '31. Following Mr. Baldwin was Drysee in 1931-32 and 1932-33. At this time the aged furnace began to fail and stoves were installed in the classrooms. One December day in 1932 Senior Paul Hollenbeck was following his usual pursuit of gazing at the ceiling when he saw --- FIRE! Yes, the school was afire, from an overheated stove pipe. Everyone got out of the building safely. Many books and much of the furniture was saved. But the building was badly damaged and could not be used any more that school year. Partitions were hurriedly put up in Rose and Tony's Dance Hall on Highway 63 and classes were resumed there in January. The class of '33 graduated in this hall. But V.H.S. emerged from disaster bigger and better. When the school was rebuilt, the superintendent's office, the math room, the typing room and bookkeeping rooms were added upstairs, and the science room, furnace room, home ec. room and the restrooms downstairs. The commercial, home ec., and vocational agriculture departments had their beginning at this time. The first commercial teacher was Miss Frances Furst, the first agriculture teacher was J. C. Webb and the first home ec. teacher was Miss Marie Weller. There were now six high school teachers instead of three. Wm. G. Sipe was head of Vienna High School in 1933-34 and 1934-35. The first school bus began operating in 1933. It was driven over the Dry Creek route by Mr. Lambterson. In 1934, it was driven by Homer Hayes and in 1935 Ray Hayes took over and has been on the job ever since. In 1935 Branc Massey began driving on the Leuthen bus line and Jack Allen, teacher of the upper grades in Vienna , began the Vichy route. The Little Flock route was started by Horace Miller in 1934, and taken over by Emmit Gillispie in 1935.

 

Delbert Wilson was the next high school superintendent. He was in Vienna school from 1935 till the spring of 1941. In 1936 the Vienna School and Community Fair came into existence. It was discontinued during the war years and has now become the Maries County Fair. In the early thirties Miss Eva Johnson, an excellent musician was a teacher in Vienna High School . She organized the first girls chorus. Music was not offered for credit until about 1935. The department reached a high level in the late '30's under Griffith L. Gordon. V.H.S. had a forty-piece band, girls and boys glee clubs and quartets. A course in Appreciation of Music was also offered. The band uniforms were bought in 1936. During the '20's and '30's athletics continued to play an important part in the life of the high school boys. The girls just weren't interested. There were many good softball and basketball teams in these years. The boys were handicapped in having no indoor basketball court as most of the surrounding schools had by this time. In the late '30's they used a court in the Visitation School auditorium for night practice and for games. Graduation classes were becoming so large there was not enough room in the auditorium for their relatives and friends who wished to attend graduating exercises. The auditorium would no longer accommodate the crowds who came to plays. The vocational agriculture department also needed more room, so plans were made to enlarge the building. The music room, combination gym and auditorium, the vocational agriculture classroom and shop were completed in 1942. E. R. LeFevre was superintendent in 1941-42 and 1942-43 and Elmer D. Harpham in 1943-44 and 1944-45. During the war years students all bought stamps and bonds, gathered scrap iron and waste paper. The band received a citation for their contribution to the war effort. The moving picture machine was bought in 1944. In 1940 Mr. Allen became principal of the high school and coach. Miss Maxine Sipe organized the pep squad, the girls volleyball teams and helped the students choose the school song in 1942. Vienna High School has been outstanding in softball, basketball, volleyball and track the last few years.

The Eagle was first published in 1943-1944. Clyde E. Rinehart was the head of Vienna School from September 1945 until his death in October 1946. Mr. Allen was appointed superintendent after the death of Mr. Rinehart and Mrs. Parker became principal. Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Helms have both taught in the grades and were members of the high school faculty in 1945-1946. The Institutional on the Farm Training Program was started in November 1946. The original group consisted of five vets taught by Mr. Akers, the vocational agriculture teacher of the high school. At the present time there is a class of twenty-three farmers taught by Mr. Marvin Helms, started in October 1947; a class of twenty-five farmers taught by Mr. Max John, started in February 1949; and a class of seventeen carpenters taught by Mr. Al Bethel started in April 1948. The carpenters have erected a new building on the campus for their classroom, another is under construction that will be used for a grade school. And this brings us up to 1949. In thirty-six years Vienna High School has grown from one teacher and nine pupils to an institution with ten teachers and 190 students. Twenty-three units of credit are now offered. This growth is the result of careful planning and good leadership by school boards and teachers who have worked unselfishly in the interest of our boys and girls. We are proud of our growth and development, and look forward to greater attainment in the future.

Written by Irene McKeever for the 1949 V.H.S. Yearbook