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New school launches a new century in Cortez

Editor’s note: Following are two articles about the Calkins Building, published by the Montezuma Journal, that were written at the beginning of the school year and after the first class graduated. Both were edited for grammar and style.

Our new Cortez school: School notes

Editor’s note: Following are two articles about the Calkins Building, published by the Montezuma Journal, that were written at the beginning of the school year and after the first class graduated. Both were edited for grammar and style.

Mr. Dan Goff is the new janitor who has charge of all buildings.

The Cortez School Baseball team organized Monday evening with I.E. Levey, manager, and Wilkes Bozman, captain. The boys are practicing every evening and feel confident they will carry home the purse, fair week.

Owing to the addition of the 11th grade, the High School course will be enlarged this year by the addition of the following subjects: bookkeeping, economics, English history; English and American literature.

School is well on in the second week with a vim and enthusiasm that is a criterion of success. We have an enrollment of 110, divided as follows: Primary Department, 37, Anna A. Smith, teacher; Intermediates Department, 36, Ora Elliott teacher; Grammar Department, 18, Mrs. Durward, teacher; High School, 18, I.E. Levey, principle.

The High School organized a literary society for the year with the following officers: President Edna Duncan, Vice President Claire Bozman, Secretary Margaret Gates, Oricle Professor I.E. Levey, and Curators Bertha Longenbaugh, Martha Clark and Nannie Stevenson. The first program will be given Friday, Oct. 2 and then every two weeks.

Bells will ring as follows: 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 12:55 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.; and 1:15 p.m.

You will notice there are three bells. One, called the “five-minute bell,” is rung five minutes before taking up the regular work and is arranged thus to eliminate tardiness. All pupils not in their seats at the ringing of the third bell are counted tardy unless living more than 1 mile from school. Such pupils have 10 to 15 minutes’ grace according to distance.

Every member of the community, and especially every parent, should take a deep interest in the public school. It is not enough to pay your school tax without complaining or to know that the teachers are qualified, nor is it enough to keep your children in school regularly. If you are really interested in the subject as you should be, you should visit the school regularly and persistently. Few people have any idea what an incentive it is to both teacher and scholar to know that parents and outsiders are taking a lively interest in their work. We believe the “little folks” at the school appreciate such interest perhaps more than the larger ones. The effect is not lost on any of them, and we hope every parent will take a hint from this and place the “public” school on their visiting list. Come, let’s get acquainted and study your child mutually. If you have any grievances, talk them over with the principal and teachers rather than the neighbors. Perhaps we can remedy the matter satisfactorily. Let us all put the shoulder to the wheel and make this year the very best school year in the history of Cortez. We ask your hearty cooperation.

“Put the hammer in the locker,

Hide the sounding board likewise;

Anyone can be a knocker,

Anyone can criticize,

Cultivate a manner winning,

Tho it hurts your face to smile,

And seems awkward in beginning,

Be a booster all the while.”

First graduating class, in 1909, was a big one – four members

A large audience consisting of parents, relatives and friends greeted the class of graduates at the commencement exercises held at the Woodman Hall May 28, 1909. The hall was decorated with flowers and pennants in the high school colors – black and orange – and splendor was added to the occasion by the bright and interesting faces of the graduates.

At eight o’clock, the march by the Cortez Concert Band announced the entrance of the class upon the stage. Professor Levey led the way and was followed by the class, Edna Duncan, Della Marymee, Nannie Stevenson and Elza Mowry. They were followed by Professor W. B. Mooney of the State Normal of Greeley and the board of Education: W.T. Bozman, R.R. Smith and H.N. Sprague, all occupying seats upon the platform. The program was complete and carried out in splendid shape. The orations by each graduate were masterly and gracefully handled, and each graduate deserved the applause. Large and beautiful clusters of carnations and roses were carried upon the stage by the flower girls, who presented them to the graduates as token of love and esteem of their friends.

Professor Mooney addressed the class, making a remarkable and forceful talk, one that will be remembered by all present. Professor Mooney also presented the diplomas in a splendid manner.

Mrs. Calkins’ solo was well received, and she responded gracefully to an encore. The program was interspersed with music by the band and piano selections. The exercises were a success and showed that weeks of hard, patient work had been performed not alone by the graduates but by Professor Levey as well.

After the exercises, the graduating class and teachers gave a banquet at the Adam Lewey restaurant to the school board, parents of the graduates and county superintendent that completed the occasion. The amount left from the entertainment, after paying the expenses of the hall, left a neat sum for the library fund.

The principal of the school at the time was I.E. Levey, who made his home in Durango in later years. Professor Levey pointed out that although the four students represented the first graduation class from the school here; the students had only attended school three years.

June Head, historian of Montezuma County Historical Society, can be contacted at 970-565-3880 for comments or questions.