October 14, 2020 — Students in North Dakota have, throughout decades past, been subject to the changing of seasons in an agricultural state. Different farm-related chores sometimes took precedent over the classroom.

On this day in 1925, the Fargo Forum reported that Cass County kids were actively seeking more of an education. Statistics from the county showed that 87 percent of the eighth-graders from Cass County had enrolled in high school. Moreover, 48 percent of high school students were set to go on for more education at normal schools and colleges.

“According to figures compiled by Miss Carolina Evingson,” county superintendent of schools, the Cass County schools had “established a record not only in North Dakota but throughout the country.”

These averages may seem low compared with today, but in 1925, only about 60 percent of students in the United States went on to receive even a high school education.

Miss Evingson said that the reason for this “happy situation” was due to the principals and superintendents of the schools, as well as to the parents, who constantly reminded their children of “the advisability of obtaining as much education as possible” as well as the opportunities it opened for both men and women.

Twelve smaller town schools also set records by sending their entire graduating class of eighth graders to high schools in the fall. These lucky towns were Chaffee, Erie, Rose Valley, Page, Hunter, Argusville, Grandin, Hickson, Tower City, Leonard, Gardner and Kindred. Casselton was listed as a thirteenth school that was “very close to the 100 percent mark.”

And, you may wonder, what about the country towns, where there may have only been one-room school houses? Where farm kids were especially ruled by the changing of the seasons?

Well, by the time of the report’s release, 100 percent of all the eighth-grade graduates of those rural one-room schools were either preparing to enter or already had entered high school classes.

“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast, or buy the Dakota Datebook book at shopprairiepublic.org.

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