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Nashville Schools

During the year 1866 it became apparent that there were a number of children in Nashville for whom educational advantages should be provided. A notice was circulated that at a time specified a "bee" would be held for the purpose of erecting a schoolhouse. The call met a prompt response, and on the day appointed, before darkness approached, the school house was in actual existence. It could hardly be commended for beauty of design but it served well the purpose for which it was erected. At first it was without a door or window panes but when a wandering cow took to spending its nights there it became necessary to build a door. The forest was so thick at the time that you couldn't see Main street from the School. After a more spacious structure had superseded it, the former building did service as a barn on one of the neighboring streets. The first school housed thirteen children, who were under the care of Miss Aggie Smith (later Mrs. C. M. Putnam). The schoolhouse also did duty as a church and Sunday School room. Some idea of the rapid growth of the town can be obtained by the fact that by the next summer the pupils numbered 35 and increased to 56 the following winter. The next year the west side of Mr. Seaman's house was used for school and church purposes. This building was on the corner of Main and Reed Streets and was also used for lectures, singing schools, etc.

In the summer of 1867 the ground where the Kellogg Elementary School is now (currently the Alternative Ed Building) was cleared of beautiful forest trees and a two-room building erected which was then thought to be sufficient for all time - only one room was used or needed the first year. Then for seven years two teachers were employed. Then because of crowded conditions, a small building for the primary department was erected on the corner of the same lot. This soon proved inadequate and rooms were rented on Main Street and in a private house to accommodate the ever-increasing number of pupils.

During 1885, the larger building was torn down by Charles Smith. He used the lumber to build the Smith and  Brooks Creamery. The primary school building was moved to the location of the Maple Valley News Office. Orno Strong was the editor at that time.

A fine modern brick school building was built in 1884-85 well equipped and eleven teachers were employed.

The first graduating class of Nashville graduated with three girls and one boy. Previous to that time the "upper room" provided a very sketchy course and it was largely through the efforts of Professor J. W. Robert that a three year high school curriculum was inaugurated. The graduates of 1887 were Alice Smith, who later married Curtis W. Pennock and was the mother of Ralph and Arthur Pennock; Alice M Downs, who later became a teacher in Chicago City Schools; Emma Barber and Clarence H. Barber, who was later a successful physician in Hastings. In 1888 the graduates were Clyde W. Francis, Myron Stanton, Lena M. Parish and Mabel L. Sellick. In 1889 the graduates were A. J. Reynolds, G. W. Gribbin, Adrian Carter, Lida Feighner, Minnie Durham, Jennie Mills and Winnie Downs. In 1890 there was no graduates because the high school course had been changed from three to four years.

In 1891 the first class to graduate from the Nashville's four year high school was Will W. Potter who later became a lawyer and then a Supreme Court Judge, S. Wilburt SMith, Bertha Marshall, Lois Marshall, Alice McKinnis, and Greta B. Young. In 1892 the graduates were Elmer A. Griggs, Ella C. Mills, Elsie C. Mayo, Anna L. Downing and Mabel Wilcox.

In 1902 the school burned. This time the pupils were housed in the village churches. In 1902 they started to build a new brick school house. This was the brick part of the school house that was torn down in 1966.

Through the help of W. K. Kellogg Foundation, an addition was built to the building in 1936 and the name of the school was changed to Nashville W. K. Kellogg Rural Agricultural School. Then in 1950, on a new site on Fuller street, the beginning of an elementary building was started. Additions were made in 1952, 1956, and 1964. Today (1969) the Fuller Street Elementary School contains 14 classrooms, kitchen, multi-purpose area, library and office. (additional rooms have been added since this writing).

Voters of the former Nashville and Vermontville school districts approved consolidation into the Maple Valley Schools, January 21, 1963. A bond issue approved May 13, 1963, provided funds for construction of a modern Junior-Senior High School and additions to elementary schools - Fuller Street in Nashville and Maple wood in Vermontville. A fully accredited educational program and fine school facilities are offered to residents in the area. The district covers 140 square miles. This year (1969) there are 1,853 students enrolled with 78 teachers and librarians. There are 18 buses and 2 bus mechanics. We have the services of a speech teacher, visiting nurse and two visiting teachers.

The part of the old Nashville W. K. Kellogg High School built in 1902 in agreement with the state Fire Marshall's requirements was torn down in 1966, leaving the section built in 1936. The south end was bricked and a few changes were made in the building. It is now called Kellogg Elementary School. It has seven classrooms, a multi-purpose room, library and office. (now houses the Maple Valley Alternative Ed school)

The Maplewood Elementary in Vermontville comprises thirteen general classrooms, two special education rooms, kitchen, multi-purpose are, library and office area. One section of the building was constructed in 1952, the addition in 1964. (additional rooms have been added since this writing).

The Junior-Senior High School which is accredited with the University of Michigan includes attractive functional classrooms, special education room, four fully equipped science labs, two homemaking rooms, a flexible arts and crafts area, foreign language and math labs, 9,100 book library, two commercial rooms, a vocational shop area including metal, wood shops and drafting rooms, a 426 seat auditorium, combination instrumental-vocal room, and a spacious gymnasium seating 1,550 spectators. The cafeteria and study hall serve many activities. Administration area contains superintendent and principal's offices, two general secretarial areas, health room, vault and guidance offices. (a new administration office and additional rooms have been added since this writing).

Board of education meetings are held in the  Superintendent's Office the second Monday of each month 8:00 p.m. (1969) Superintendent Carroll Wolff, Principal Leon Housler, Elementary Principal Howard Yost, Board of Education: President, Reinhart Zemke; Secretary, Wallace Graham; Treasurer, Charles Viele; John Viele; Dr. Thomas Myers; Harold Hansen; Chris King.

HIgh School Song

Written by Zadah Keyes in 1912

Oh! We are loyal students of the N.H.S.

We’re proud of this, you just bet yes;

And if you will be patient we will try to show

Just why it is we’re bound to say

That we all love it so,

There’s many an act of courtesy

That’s passed around each day

Among the faithful faculty and students bright and gay.

So now you see we still believe in chivalry of old,

And will not let it wither up, grow stagnant dead or cold.

Oh, our colors are the yellow and the blue,

We think them fine, and honest now, don’t you,

We like to see them floating out on high

As we are passing by, are passing by –

So come and join us in our songs of praise

We now do raise and will in future days,

We know our love will never die for those two colors up in the sky

Which represent old Nashville High.