History of Cabool Schools

Cabool Schools Picture
Cabool Schools Picture

"The first rural school, like the first town in this area, was located at Cedar Bluff. Later when Cabool became a town, the main street ran along the eastern end of what is now Summit Street. After the railway station was built near where it is now and Cabool's business district moved to approximately the present location, a private school was opened where the Chevrolet garage now is. Here in Cabool's first school the parents paid tuition fees to provide education for their children.

In the early 1880's the first public school was erected near the corner of Summit and Cedar streets. Here for nearly 20 years the children of Cabool attended school. Some of the first teachers were Mrs. Cora Patton, Miss Allie Burton, and Mrs. Bertha Everett Patton.

Among Cabool's pioneer residents were several who were greatly interested in securing some means of further learning for the young men and women of the town. Led by S. W. Grant (who served on the school board for more than 25 years) they encouraged and helped to finance the establishment of the first school of higher education, the McCully Academy. With the help of the townspeople, including some of the young men who planned to attend, a two-story frame building was erected atop School House Hill. Here in the 1890's a three-year institution offered classes at the senior high school and junior college level. The guiding spirit of the academy was Professor E .E. McCully, administrator, teacher, and counselor, and even landlord, for a large house on the corner of Summit and Elm streets was turned into a rooming house for out-of-town students and was also the home of the McCullys.

Just when McCully Academy became Cabool High School is not known, but it was some time before 1900. Also about this time a building of cement blocks was constructed just in front of the academy building and the grade school was moved into it. So Cabool Schools were formed. Among the first of the superintendents was William Lynch, a man who later became famous as a leader in education throughout southern Missouri.

During 1916 while W. E. Jadwin was superintendent of schools, CHS became an accredited four-year high school. The following year the first frame building of the old academy was declared no longer safe for occupancy and Cabool Schools had grown until a new building was needed, and the red brick building which looms familiarly in the memories of so many men and women of Cabool who attended grade and high school there, was built. The year 1917-18 was a war year, the year also of the first serious flu epidemic and for Cabool, at least, a year for many ice storms. Many things conspired to delay construction so that not until January 1919 were the schools reopened.

There followed a period of very rapid growth. The PTA was organized in 1921 with Mrs. Charlotte Durnell as its first president. Also at this time the brilliant career of a teacher was launched as Miss Mildred Davis became a member of the faculty. Through the twenties rural students began coming to Cabool to stay throughout the school year and attend high school. The first gymnasium was built. New classes were added to the curriculum: Sociology, a home economics clothing course, Spanish, and civics were among the first ones. In 1926-27 Cabool Consolidated School District #4 was organized and shortly after a system of bus lines began, one of the first serving Black Jack School, as it was then called. It was during the twenties that a fight for a school cafeteria began. The first yearbook appeared under the title of Loobac in 1920; it was renamed the Kabul in 1938, an changed to Bulldog in 1946, and back to Kabul in 1963.

A very interesting symbol appeared in 1926. It was a bulldog and was drawn by Paul "Socks" Roberts, more famed for his high jump record in track. Casey Williams designed the high school crest in 1938 and redesigned it in 1960. This is the one now in use.

In 1927 the colors blue and white were selected as the school colors. Buck Dickey recalls that the boys wanted orange or red or some bright colors, but the girls wanted blue and white and they won. The first colors were actually purple and white. In 1928 Nero Padgett, the music teacher, found music and words of a fight song of an eastern university and adapted them to the colors blue and white. The mixed chorus accepted it as the school song and thus it remains although never formally accepted. Mrs. Pansy Brown Kirkman was accompanist that year.

D. Meeker, president of the school board, led the crusade to establish a vocational agriculture department and W.W. Hoy became the first teacher. Soon this department was serving and influencing the surrounding farming community. The PTA sponsored and largely subsidized the first music department and continued to subsidize it for several years. A health and physical education program and the vocational home economics classes became parts of the curriculum. The speech and dramatics activities had been growing from the first debating and literary societies to include a greatly increased schedule of extracurricular forensic and dramatic activities and began to influence the development of such activities in surrounding towns. Teacher training, a commerce course, speech, two years of Spanish, American problems and other classes were gradually added.

There were some bad times. It was discovered that the red brick building needed to be reinforced. The depression and drought of the early thirties brought hard times. School funds declined and as a result all expenses were sharply curtailed. The school year was shortened to eight months. In fact had it not been for the very real help of J.W. Harmon, G. V. Elliott, and others, Cabool Schools might have had to close. Many other schools did close during these years.

In 1932 the cement block building was torn down and a part of what is now the junior high building was built. Again, D. Meeker was the driving force in planning it and bringing it to completion. So much so that he received special honor at the dedication.

Throughout the years of its history, Cabool Schools have had many fine administrators, teachers and members of the board of education whose influence has been wide and lasting; it isn't possible to name them all. However, other board members who served for 25 years or more are John Johnson and C. E. Davis.

In 1936 more rooms were added to the elementary building,. During 1936-37-38 the present high school building and auditorium were built using WPA labor. A stone facing was added to the gymnasium and the interior remodeled. The stadium was constructed. It was begun while Ralph Palmer was superintendent and was completed under the administration of Superintendent Frank Haegerty and almost daily supervised by G. V. Elliot and other members of the board of education; these improvements definitely established Cabool Schools as one of the finest school systems in the state.

The schools were growing in many other ways; music, speech, athletics, and other interscholastic activities became a regular part of the school year. In 1939 with the help of Coach E. E. Lewis, the first football team organized. It was about this time that the administration of the school was reorganized and Mrs. A. J. Craft became the first elementary school principal.

During the forties the bus system grew to include eight regular bus lines covering an area from Twin Bridges to Tyrone. The staff numbered 30 or more; the high school curriculum offered nearly 40 credits. The music room was built, the campus and grounds were steadily improved and beautified. In 1949 the elementary school had again out-grown its housing facilities and a modern four-room primary department was added.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Frank Slobetz a modern philosophy of education began to be developed, a teacher salary scale was adopted, a central accounting and budgeting system was begun, and the interrelationship of the faculty, students, administration and Board of Education were more clearly defined. 

In the fall of 1948 the gymnasium burned and what appeared to be a disaster was a blessing. For then a fine new gymnasium and vocational building became parts of the Cabool Schools.

In the fifties, during the administration of Superintendent D. A. Ferguson, Cabool became a triple A school with all the growth and development that the 3A rating implies. Remedial instruction in various classes, especially reading and speech, were added to the elementary and secondary schools. Other improvements included a much improved system of reporting to parents, the organization of central libraries in both schools, guidance and counseling services were organized, diversified occupations and industrial arts and other fine arts courses were added to the high school curriculum, carefully planned schedules for each student were substituted for the somewhat indefinite choices theretofore made. The school cafeteria was added in the mid-fifties and has grown till today over 700 students eat the noon meal on the hill.

Steadily through the years Cabool Schools have grown in plant facilities, in courses and types of instruction, in philosophy of education, in numbers of personnel, in enrollment of students and in service to the community. It is one of the smallest AAA schools in the state.

The sixties have been years of broadening the program. In 1961 another building was proposed and built to improve the high school facilities. The school now offers some 60 units of work and teachers have been added in order to keep pace with the growing school population which now numbers about 1,100. The plan of organization has been changed to a 6-6 with the former upper elementary grades becoming a junior high school. A new 12-room elementary addition this fall has made rooms possible in order that three sections of each grade are possible. New band uniforms have appeared for the 50 to 60 piece marching and concert bands; the 1964 Bulldogs contributed the first undefeated united season in history. The staff has grown until 50 teachers and administrators are now employed.

What is ahead, what will make the history in the next 50 years? No one can really visualize the changes that will come. But there is one thing we can see and that is a Bulldog victory tonight. Let's close by singing the school song.

"All hail to the white and the blue boys,

The colors we love so well.

Our loyal sons now salute thee,

As the folds on the breezes swell.

Then hail to the white and the blue girls

Forever and a day.

'Tis the flag of our dear old C-H-S,

The white and the blue."

(The above history was written by charter Cabool History Society member Miss Mildred Davis and is an excellent history of the Cabool Schools from its beginnings into the 1960s. Since then a lot of changes have taken place in Cabool.

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