Clubs Vermillion Rotary Club

Vermillion Rotarians learned a bit of what the good ol' school days were like in the early days of Clay County during their regular luncheon meeting Tuesday noon at the Silver Dollar.

Featured guest was Marion Kryger, who has undertaken a substantial project for the Clay County Historical Society. Kryger is working at locating as many pictures of eighth-grade classes, usually taken at graduations throughout the years in the county, and is also attempting to identify each student.

In taking on this formidable task, Kryger has become well informed of the history of public education in the county. In 1886, the county commission organized the school system, but citizens weren't happy with those plans and petitioned out of it, he said, forming three school districts in Clay County. Prior to this time, education in the county was by "subscription" schools, he said, in which families bore all of the costs of educating their children.

"The first graduation held in Clay County was in 1896," Kryger said. "I've located a picture of that class, and it has 11 graduates in it."

The education system in the county underwent many changes. At one time, he said, there were 59 districts in Clay County. Country schools were located so that students would have no more than a two-mile walk to school from their homes.

Student numbers in the county grew at a steady rate from 1918 to about 1935, during the Great Depression. Student numbers had their ups and downs from that time, and the days of rural schools in Clay County ended in 1970. "The last class in 1970 had nine graduates," Kryger said.

He has located photographs by researching archives at The University of South Dakota and by poring through old issues of the Plain Talk and the Dakota Republican. He has found a picture of every graduating eighth-grade class from 1924 through 1970.

"I'm now in the process of identifying the pictures. I'm trying to identify as many as I can to create a record for the Clay County Historical Society," he said. "I would like any help that I could get from the public. I hope to have this project completed in three years."

Guests at Tuesday's meeting were Eva Greversen, the Rotary Club's exchange student, and Elliot Armstrong, a senior at Vermillion High School.

Clay County Democrats

The Clay County Democrats held their April meeting at noon April 11 at the Pro's Restaurant. There were several special guests present and a "Democrat Menu" graced the tables. Berwyn Svoboda, co-chair, called the meeting to order and Allen Johnson, co-chair, made several announcements regarding upcoming events.

The annual fund-raising banquet will be held on May 24 at Pro's. Arrangements regarding the speaker have not been finalized as yet; there will be an auction held in conjunction with the banquet. Maxine Johnson spoke briefly in tribute to Bill Radigan. She mentioned his accomplishments as mayor and how much he will be missed at Democrat functions. Sen. Joe Reedy and Rep. BJ Nesselhuf were also present. Roland Chicoine from District 16 was a guest as was Nick Braune, chair the Yankton County Democrats of Lisa Braune and Leo Cwach, president of the Farmers Union, were also present.

Stanna Donely, presently working to circulate a petition to place SB 226 to the vote of the people, was introduced. Stanna reported on her experiences attending the Democratic National Convention � it was great! Several USD students were also introduced and welcomed.

Bob Simpson, prospective candidate for U.S. Congress, spoke about his qualifications and background. Presently, he is working with Fannie Mae, which is implementing one of the largest private investment commitments in South Dakota. Over the next five years, Fannie Mae is committed to investing $500 million to provide opportunities for affordable home ownership. To date, Fannie Mae has assisted over 4,000 South Dakota families to buy a home of their own.

On Wednesday, April 18 at 4:20 p.m. Denny Pierson, potential candidate for the United States Congress in 2002, will participate in a bowling exhibition match. He will bowl against Dennis Tomhave � they bill themselves as "two very good bowlers." Jefferson Jackson Day will be held May 5 in Aberdeen. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan from North Dakota. Senators Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson will attend and a very special guest, Sen. George McGovern, will speak briefly.

Odd Fellows/Rebekahs

The Vermillion Odd Fellows and Rebekahs held their annual roll call on Tuesday evening, April 10 with Dwight Baisden as master of ceremonies. He opened with a welcome by the Noble Grand of the Rebekahs and then gave a welcome from the Odd Fellows.

The regular roll calls of the branches of the order were called. There were 42 in attendance. Katie Kribell favored us with selections she wrote. We were then favored with a song by Carlos Baisden with his guitar and then a trio of Barb, Dwight and Carlos Baisden.

Captain John Sealey gave a presentation of the hanging of Col. Dick Youngkrantz's picture for completing his term as department commander. John Sealey and Dwight Baisden then favored them with two songs. Everyone then joined in with He's got the Whole World in His Hands. Lunch was served to all after the program.

Senior Citizens Center

On Wednesday, April 11, 21 pitch, four pinochle and 18 bridge players spent the afternoon at the Senior Citizens Center. With the weather being gloomy it was a good day to play cards.

Bridge prize winners were Pat Berglund, high; Veronica Heimes, second; Robin Eisenmenger, third; Adeline Isaacson, blind bogie; and Lois Erickson, low.

The center furnished refreshments.

Men and women are welcome � no reservations needed, playing time starts at 1 p.m.

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