Reliance school 

1906-1985

    


Always under construction


Teachers        School years


    The history of the Reliance school begins in 1906, a year after the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul  railroad reached Reliance from the east. School was held in and a one-room schoolhouse was built.

 School was continued in this building until it was no longer big enough to give the students good training and a new school became a must. A Miss O'Riley is recorded as the first teacher in the Reliance School (1906-07). No record has been found to indicate how many students attended that year.

 By the fall of 1918 Reliance had four teachers and more pupils than the building could handle, so the grades 5-7 were taught in the rooms above the Farmers State Bank rented by the school system. By January, 1919, a fourth teacher had been hired and the school building (by then) was now divided into three rooms for classes.

In June, temporary officers were elected and two bond issues were voted on and carried. One was for $15,000; the other for $25,000. Because of the governor's discouraging the construction of any new building, the valuation of the property being too low and the present war conditions, the construction was delayed for a month. The contract was let for construction to begin July 1, 1919 The work started, then the contractor fell down on the job and quit. The school board did the only thing they could do...they took over the construction and with volunteers and some hired men, the school was finished.

 Miss L.O McDonald was principal and Miss Pauline Entsminger, assistant. Mr. Stone was the janitor. (How the students enjoyed sitting at the desks that had been polished with his kerosene mop) 

  A petition was drawn up in April, 1919, for the construction of a new schoolhouse. 

In the fall of 1919-20 an influenza epidemic went through the country and some school sessions were held at night to accommodate those who had missed schooling. 

The new building was two stories tall with a large basement and outside measurements of 56'x70'. A large furnace supplied steam for the radiators in the upper rooms. It housed a domestic science room, which became the physics laboratory, and it had a dressing room and toilets equipped with waterworks. Many thought the most attractive part of the school was the gymnasium in the basement, which was large enough for a "good basketball floor and room for a large crowd of onlookers.

For the benefit of those who will,  in  years to come, read this history of the Reliance school system, it should be stated that the "new" two-story brick building in Reliance in 1920 came about because of the creation of an organization that worked diligently to see that Reliance had the "best high school in Lyman County". School board members were: A.B. Chattuck, president; W.V. Cullen, vice-president; H.O. Schoessler, clerk; Laurel Pease, treasurer; Fred Thietje, John DeGroot, and Frank Schindler.

Miss Louise O. McDonald spent two years working with the state to the get school certified an accredited four-year high school. The certificate was signed in June of 1921.

When the new school opened in 1920, it was with 31 students enrolled; three as seniors: Meta Kohler, Margaret Cullen and Hallis Alcott made up the first graduating class of Reliance High School (1921.)

          The new building was two stories tall with a large basement and outside measurements of 56'x70'. A large furnace supplied steam for the radiators in the upper rooms. It housed a domestic science room, which became the physics laboratory, and it had a dressing room and toilets equipped with waterworks. Many thought the most attractive part of the school was the gymnasium in the basement, which was large enough for a "good basketball floor and room for a large crowd of onlookers.

       Talk of consolidating the Reliance school had begun and plans for the building to house not only the students from the community, but from the surrounding area as well.

      Joann Byre, Dera and Delora Fields, Carol Lester, Helen Hamiel, Dorothy Reuer, Rita Hodgin, Rose Elaine Bukacek, Mary Bowar, Mary Lou Kistler and Peggy Murphy made up the girls basketball team in 1948; Dick Black and Florence Yarosh, coaches.

      The school's first year of football was during 1948-'49 with six games scheduled; one was called due to the weather. Cheerleaders were: Dera Fields, Carol Lester, Helen Hamiel, Mary Bowar and Delora Fields. Players were: Alan Hodgin, Earl Christensen, Dave Mason, Ronald Neyt, Henry Schelle, Gene Mohr, Dick Black, Ed Byre, Jim Jensen, Russell Black, Richard Graves, Donald Kistler and Roger Fletcher. That year was also the year the RHS Student Board of Control was formed.

     Homecoming royalty during the 1948-49 school year were Dick Black and Helen Hamiel, King and Queen, and Helen Hamiel, Mary Bowar, Peggy Murphy and Delora Fields. Francis Reuer and Mona Kay Murphy, crown bearers. 

      A large gymnasium was built near the northeast corner of the school in 1949 where school and community functions were held until the high school was closed. The Neugebauer family brought roller skating to the area to the delight of everyone who dared to learn to skate. The American Legion now (1985) maintains the building. 

      The graduating class of 1954 consisted of Jean Byre, best athlete; Judy (Swanson) Black, best posture; Keith Nissen, most likely to succeed; Gloria Tagtow, cleverest; Vivien Hodgin, most flirtatious; Larry Schelle, most energetic; Marlis Herron, healthiest, and Donald Wagaman. Russell Black and Judy Swanson surprised everyone by eloping during the school year and this was also the year the students learned that their noses were in the middle of the face because it is the scenter.  

       Patty Ann Recoy, Gloria, Corrine Cosgrove, Marlis, Jean, Judy, Vivien, Kathleen Murphy, Frances Stallman, Joanne Erickson, Janice Monson, Helen Schelle, Donna Hoffer and Marjo Fletcher made up the girls basketball team.

       Players on the boys basketball team in 1956 were: Francis Bukacek, James Murphy, Don Schindler, Loren Schelle, Theron Hodgin and Ronald Frame, coached by Darrel Cadwell. 

      New additions to the Reliance Consolidated School in 1957 were: Randy Fletcher, Russell Reed, Gerald Berg, Noel Hamiel, Jane Moulton, Dorothy White, Diane Berg, John Murphy, Diane Bukacek, Kenneth Kercher, Stevie Fletcher, Avery Tagtow, Edward Harvey, John Hansen, Joyce Hanig, Robert Muldoon, Charles Whitney, Judith Kindopp, Judith Schelske, Susan Cullen and William Hunt; all first graders. 

       Louis Cullen was the superintendent in 1957; Florence Anderson, principal, and Darrell Cadwell, coach/teacher. Hank Sattler, Joe Muldoon, Roy Fletcher, Jim Bukacek and Evert Fletcher made up the board of trustees. Marian Tagtow, Rosemary Card, Curtis Berg, Ralph Schelske, Marilyn Wagaman and  Darrell Herron sat on the student council along with Supt. Cullen and council president, Larry Huntsman. 

      1959 found Alona Parkening, Barbara Swanson, Karen Erickson, Jean Frame, Carol Whitney, Cassie Wagner, June Cosgrove, Linda Cullen, Lorna Schelske, and Beth and Sharon DeWitt playing on the girls basketball team. 

      We cannot leave out Ancil Lester who served as the janitor and kept the old school bell ringing at the Reliance school for 32 years. Mary Ann Rogers drove the school bus 19 years. Nor should we omit Reliance's triplets: Sheila, Sharon and Ronnie McManus who graduated with the class of 1963. 

      The staff of RHS in 1969 consisted of Larry L. Winters, Supt., Don Faus, Principal and teachers: Florence Anderson, Norman Olmstead, Keith McKay, Ralph Nauman, Dale Price, Lois Warner, Music; Anna Mae Nissen, Grades 6,7,8; Evelyn Bingen, Grades 3,4,5; Bertha McManus, Reading; Neta Schelske, Grades 1 and 2. Sitting on the school board were Supt. L. Winters, Dorothy Hall, Don Fletcher, Elmer Schelske, Pete Erickson, Verle Peterson and R. Fletcher. 

      Reliance High School classes were discontinued after the 1970-'71 school year. The schools were consolidated and some of the high school students went to Chamberlain, others to East Lyman and Kennebec. Grades 1 through 5 remained at Reliance; attending school in the metal Industrial Arts Shop north of the school.

       Mike Buffalo, Molly Butt, Peggy Cross, Nancy Fletcher, Anita Harvey, Tana Lucas, Roger Michalek, K.C. Peters, Neil Peters, Wesley Schaefer, Nancy Schelske, Rick Simpson, Leland Stewart and Barbara Wynia were the last graduating class from Reliance (1971). 

       The brick, two-story building was torn down in 1985. The school bell that Ancil Lester rang so faithfully all his years at the school, was removed and can be seen on top of the Reliance Fire Department building on Main Street. The long fire escape that everyone who ever attended the school (and ran down during the fire drills or just played on when they thought no one was looking) has been moved to Chamberlain to the residence of Garry and Marlys (Cosgrove) Swanson, graduates of RHS. Its usefulness goes on as it leads to the lower level of their property. 

       Some of the teachers at this school were Marla Patten, Bertha McManus, Lu Hammerbeck, Jeff Tveit and Gladys Stewart. Assistants were Sonia Schelske, Connie Bukacek, Mary Ann Rogers and RaeDean Hovey. Ever-present Loraine Suhl handled the janitorial duties at the school until the school was closed for the first time in its history, after the 1994-95 school term.

       All students, 1-12 now attend schools in Kennebec and Presho. The lot where the school sat for 75 years remains vacant and the metal shop is silent. The building is now being used for community events by the residents of Reliance. 

       This school has been there as long as most of us can remember. Children running outdoors at recess time; playing on the swings, teeter-totters and bars, have disappeared from the school grounds and a tennis court can be found on the east half of the lot.

        Thus ends the era of "the best high school in Lyman County" circa 1920.

Article reprinted from Chamberlain Register, 1985


Lyman County South Dakota's Genealogy

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Lyman County South Dakota's Genealogy

FEEDBACK    This website Copyright 1996-2005 by barbara stallman-speck   HOME
All Rights Reserved
This page last edited Thursday, November 17, 2005 08:07 PM