The period from
1911 to 1916, was truly remarkable. During the
the (Washington) building was remodeled. More
rooms were added and a heating system was installed. Then
backed by a progressive school board, the young,
enthusiastic, and very efficient superintendent, J.N.
Hamilton, worked wonders. A school paper, the “Tattler,” was
not only published but also printed semi-monthly.
located in a house a block west of the school, was
supervised by the domestic science teacher and staffed by
students who needed to earn in order to stay in school. A
high school band was organized and directed by Mr. Kelley.
Vocal music was also stressed. Football had been popular
since 1905. Games were played at the fairgrounds. Basketball
soon became a popular sport and these games were played in
the Phelps Opera House. Students had chance to meet visiting
teams and rooters at skates held after the game, since the
Opera House was also a skating rink. Each spring a county
track meet was held in the afternoon, and a literary contest
in the evening where students competed in readings,
orations, and chorus.
students of that day, since the chance to attend high school
was a privilege, class work
very important. Everyone
assembled each morning for roll call
exercises, which included group singing, announcements,
listening to classical records, and closed with a short
prayer. By 1913, four courses were offered; college
preparatory, normal training, business, and agriculture. A
college preparatory student could enroll in four years of
English, four of Latin, two of German, two of science, two
and one-half of mathematics, American history, and
government. A normal training student took Reviews (grammar,
arithmetic, geography, and spelling), psychology and methods
of teaching. “Normal” training was for students who intended
to become teachers. Upon successful completion of this
course, one could teach without taking the county
Hamilton resigned in 1916, and Guy Armstrong carried on
successfully for the next year. Conditions became unsettled
because of World War I. On account of the draft and a great
wave of patriotism, the older boys dropped out to enter the
service. Andrew Steele served as superintendent from 1917 to
1920. The Bennett Building, used primarily as a grade
school, had been built in 1916. The basement contained a
combination gymnasium-auditorium with a stage and dressing
rooms at the north end. On the other sides there were two
balconies, one at ground level, and the other lower. Meade's
basketball teams, playing in their new gym, were
outstanding, one team even made it to the state tournament
in Lawrence. The older boys, returning after being
discharged from the service, contributed much to the success
of the football season.
resigned in 1920, and for the next two years Meade High
School had a difficult time. Fred Eaton the superintendent,
was seriously handicapped by deafness. A number of the
better teachers left, and less admirable ones had taken
their places. One bright spot was the excellent job of
teaching English and Latin that Marjorie Bodie continued to
resumed in the fall of 1922, when Ralph Smith became
superintendent and Lena Martin Smith, high school principal.
Beginning in 1923, a yearbook, the “Meadio,” was published
every other year. Purple and white remained the school
colors, and a school song was composed by Mrs. Smith. A
dramatics club presented skits and one-act plays at
assemblies, P.T.A. meetings, and community programs. The
junior and the senior class plays were stressed. Music
held a prominent place. Girl's Glee Club, Boy's Glee Club,
chorus, soloists, trios, and quartets entered the music
contests and received good ratings. Operettas were given,
and an orchestra furnished music for school programs and for
commencement. With the help of Mr. and Mrs. Smith the
academic program was strengthened. Athletics continued to be
The highlight of
his period was the completion of the new high school
building in 1926. The auditorium-gymnasium was much larger,
with a stage, dressing rooms, and a storage room for stage
properties at the north end. A tunnel led from the main hall
to a large room under the stage from which a stairway
provided access. The new gymnasium gave basketball teams an
excellent court on which to practice and play. Football and
track continued to be practiced and played at the
Then came the
financial crisis of 1929, followed by the bank holiday,
drought, and dust storms. The Smiths resigned in the spring
of 1931. During this period with D.W.
Lewis served as
Elvis Prather as high school
principal, only the necessities could be afforded. The
government lunch program under the very efficient management
of Mrs. Effie Whitehead, was taken advantage of. Meals were
served in the balcony of the Bennet Building and the cooking
was done in one
small rooms nearby. A government program (the WPA) also made
possible the construction of the football field with native
stone bleachers. It was located just east of the Washington
Building and completed in 1936. It is said that Meade's
football team started calling themselves Buffaloes at this
time as a tribute to their former coach, Willis Carmichael,
who was then teaching at Buffalo, Wyoming.
In the following
years with M.F. Stark (1934-35) and H.D. Kemper (1935-38) as
superintendents and Margaret Wilson as high school
principal, a strong faculty,
a cooperative student body,
progress was gradually resumed. With Myrtle
in charge of
vocal music, and J. Ellis Jackson of band and orchestra,
music groups became outstanding. Football, basketball (both
boys and girls), track, and tennis were stressed. For the
girls there was Girl Reserve, and Hi-Y for the boys.
Kemper's resignation in 1938, George Swartz became
superintendent. Academic work was stressed, and Meade High
School was accredited by the North Central Association. A
large school bus made possible
transportation of athletic
groups and of the seniors on their skip trips to Carlsbad
Caverns and to scenic places of Colorado. Play days,
organized by Frieda Nurse, and folk dancing made girl's gym
class fun. The faculty, high school and grade, met evenings,
and under the supervision of Gertrude Claytor, the home
economics teacher, made a cyclorama to replace the outworn
stage scenery. Then in 1940, the
opened with a 12 to 0 win over Elkhart on Meade's brightly
lighted field. A tunnel had been constructed from the west
end of the football field to dressing rooms in the basement
of the Washington Building.
World War II and
the draft brought changes. In 1943, Superintendent Swartz
joined the Navy.
Orley Wilcox served as
Superintendent the fall term of 1943-44, but was drafted.
Kenneth Hill accepted the position and finished the spring
term. This was a period of steady growth. The academic,
athletic, and music programs were strengthened. Driver's
training and vocational agriculture were offered. Busses
provided transportation for students living in the country.
Dottie Tacha accepted the position as school secretary in
1948, and served through the spring term of 1952.
Then Lola Nash took over.
Both girls filled a much needed place very efficiently.
Kayettes, sponsored by Ruth Brumfield, and the M-Club,
sponsored by Joe Urban, continued to function effectively.
Future Farmers of America and an industrial arts club were
organized. In 1947, the publication of a yearbook, "Buffalo
Trails," was resumed.
Change came again
in 1950, when the Bennett Building was tom down and a new
grade building built just west of the high school and
connected to it. The large gym was shared by the grade and
high schools. The former gym was remodeled into an
auditorium with a slanting floor and permanent seating. Also
shared by both schools were the lunch room and kitchen. Mrs.
Anna Wurdeman and her helpers, Georgia Hale, Anna Farley,
Melva Blattner and others continued to serve very
efficiently in the new roomier quarters.
In the spring of
1953, Superintendent Hill resigned to accept a better
position. Margaret Wilson resigned as principal, but
continued as a teacher of English and Latin. Hilton Prather
became superintendent with George Highfill as high school
principal from 1953-56, Lawrence Blair from 1956-58, and
Dean Shoemaker from 1958-60. Football, basketball, and track
continued to be stressed and were joined by tennis, which
was played on courts constructed near the summer ball park.
Forensics became important. Coached by Ronald Shafer,
outstanding debate teams won high honors, as did play casts,
extempore speakers, orators, and others. Equally successful
were the various music groups directed by Waldo Wiens.
Students who made the Honor Roll were recognized by becoming
members of the Alpha Club. A scholarship team took part in
each spring. The Kayettes had long been active and continued
to be. A K-Club was organized. Cheerleaders were elected by
the students. Eugene Luce became superintendent in the fall
of 1960, Mrs. Luce, as librarian, reorganized and beautified
In the fall of 1963, Bob Commons became principal and Adah
Howat, school secretary since 1959, was transferred to the
To any school the
custodian is important. For several years Frank Byrns and
later Jerry Masters and Godfrey Blehm kept the building
shining. Later LeRoy Lemaster took charge of the grade
school, Tom Benear of the high school, and Harold Dye of the
junior high and the lawn.
In 1959, the
Washington Building was torn down, and a wing containing the
industrial arts, home economics department, and a large band
room was added to the east end of the high school building,
which marked the beginning of a period of change. After Mr.
Luce resigned in 1965, Mr. Commons served as both
superintendent and principal during the fall term of
1965-66. Frank Rybnick as superintendent and Mr. Commons as
principal finished the year.
1960's, Mr. Rybnick and Ron Musselwhite, the new high school
principal, became much concerned with the problem of
overcrowding. The "baby boom" groups had reached junior and
senior high schools. Then in 1967, the Meade Bible Academy,
a four year high school, closed and those students came to
Meade. In 1968, there were fifty-nine students in the
graduating class, the largest class which has ever graduated
It was decided to
build a new high school building. This time the site chosen
was a forty-five acre site at the southeast edge of town,
entirely away from the original buildings.
The new school is
a large one story, air conditioned brick building facing the
west. In addition to the class rooms, it houses offices for
the superintendent and the high school principal, a work
room, a large library and a commons area. There is also an
auditorium which seats seven hundred and a gym with a
seating capacity of sixteen hundred.
In front of the
building is a circular drive and to the south, a large
blacktopped parking lot. To the east is the new football
field. Bleachers were installed in 1972, and the field was
used for the first time in 1973. Improvements were gradually
added. A track around the field was laid in 1972-73, then in
1977, an Atlas Track (70% rubber and 30% asphalt) was
installed, the first one of that type in Kansas. In 1974,
the industrial arts class, supervised by Mr. James
Bebermeyer, built a press box. A brick building houses the
athletic equipment, a restroom and concessions. The total
building, cabinets and other fixtures were built for the
concession by Mr. Dwayne Hoselton's Industrial Arts class.
In 1980, as a federal project, four tennis courts with wind
screens were constructed a block north of the high school.
Frank Rybnick served as superintendent and Ron Musselwhite
as principal during the construction of and moving to the
new building. In 1971, Ron Musselwhite resigned and David
Easterday accepted the position of principal. Mr. Rybnick
resigned in 1972, and Harold Vestal served the next three
years before Dannie Clodfelter, took charge.
program evolved to consist of football,
tennis, basketball, track, and girls volleyball. The music
and speech departments have continued to be active. Instead
of class plays the combined music and drama classes present
all-school musicals for which the stage band furnishes
arts department added the house project in 1975, in which
the students actually help build a house which is then sold.
There is also an active auto mechanics department, and a
greenhouse which was built in 1979, on the northwest comer
of the high school near the science room.
vocational building located to the east of the grade school
football field was tom down in 1979, and a new metal bus
barn was erected on these premises the same year.
In keeping with
the times a number of new programs have been added such as a
computer program started in 1982, and an audio-visual
program. Meade High School also has a counselor, a special
education program. Many changes have taken place, but there
still remain the deep interest in education which the
pioneers brought with them one hundred years ago.