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The history of Camden township schools is an interesting one. Beginning with seven district schools, they accommodated the youth of the township in an adequate way although meager in equipment. District one was located on route 20, across from what is now the Tom Lee farm. The Davidson district was located west of what is now the William Davidson farm. One school was located just west of Camden Center, now the Andrew Davidson farm. A school house was located west of Samtown, now the C. Salzman place. Also there was a school on the Ray Green farm and another known as the Cannan district school. The seventh of these schools was located on the present site of the Camden high school.
In the fall of 1893 a third-class high school was built in the village of Kipton. This went under the name of the Camden Township High School. The first teacher there was D. M. Byam. He had his first graduating class in 1895. It boasted of eight members who ‘were as follows: Agnes Davidson, Cora Warner, Eva Warner, Ira Hanes, Effie Hanes, Roy Sheffield, Clara Godette and John Snyder. The next two years were also under My. Byam and the class of 1896 had four graduates, and ten were graduated in 1897. In 1898 there were nine graduates who started under J. O. Ver Soy as principal and had the misfortune to lose him. Mr. Hall became principal for one year. There were ten graduates that year.
Following Mr. Hall, O. M. Mills became head of the schools and four graduated as the class of 1915. Three were graduated in 1916 and one in 1917. That following year L. D. Mennell taught as principal for a few months and resigned. His place was taken by L. W. Baker and seven were graduated in the spring of 1918. Principal C. E. Craft sponsored the graduating class of 1920 with three members, but there was no commencement the following year as a fourth year was added to the course, making Camden a first-class school. Additional sources and a wider range of subjects were taught.
From 1921 to 1923 N. S. Jones was principal, with four and twelve graduates respectively. In 1923 a large addition was built to the former building. Mr. Schiboli was the architect and the work of construction was under the direction of the Willing Bros. of Bellevue. The school board members at this time were, J. E. Davidson, president; L. B. Hudson, vice president: W. W. Calkins, A. W. Calkins and H. W. Lathrop, H. L. Swick took the principalship at this time and under him graduated the proud class of nine members, the first from the new building. Ten were graduated in 1924. In 1925 fourteen members were graduated under H. W. Newton and also the following classes of 1927 with eight members, 1928 with seven members, 1929, seven, and twelve were graduated in 1930. Mr. Cryole then became principal and there were 15 graduates in 1932.
Miss Ruth E. Kelly then became the first and only lady principal and there was a class of ten graduates in 1933. Mr. Byam returned for three years and the classes of 1899 with two members, 1900 with four members and 1901 with three members graduated under him.
In 1901 E. O. Parker became principal and during his service the following classes graduated: 1902 with five members, 1903 with ten members, 1904 with five, and 1905 with five members. In the year 1906 there was no commencement as the second year of high school was added. In 1907 three members were in the graduating class. In the fall of that year C. Thomas held the office of principal and under him in 1909 there were six graduates. The following school year was under the principalship of E. J. Dwire and five students were graduated in 1910. 1911 had six, 1912 four, but in 1913 a third year was added to the school course and there was no graduating class. This made Camden a second-class high school. Mr. Dwire left in 1914 and E. S. Hall became principal. In 1934 there were thirteen, and nine in 1935. Miss Kelly left that year and H. W. Baety was elected in her place. His first year had nine graduates. 1937 had a class of fifteen and this year’s class numbered ten graduates.
[At time of article] The present teaching staff is: H. W. Baety, principal, history, general business and typing. Mr. Teout, coach, science and mathematics; Miss Ethel Roth, English, Latin and home economics; Josh Lowery, seventh and eighth grades; C. C. Duds, agriculture; Mrs. Wood, fourth, fifth and sixth; Miss Miller, first, second, and third. Mrs. J. R. Kirwan teaches vocal music and Floyd Moore instrumental music, and Miss Aber, art. It is a very efficient corps of teachers. The present board consists of Robert Davidson, president; H. C. Searles, vice-president; Hardy Scott, clerk; William Jackson, Sr., and W. D. Davidson. Camden people are very proud of their high school and the high standing it has among educators.
By Leota A. Whitney
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