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FIIST I-HGH SCHOOL
The history of education in Antigo dates from 1879 when the first small, ungraded school opened.
The schoolhouse was a log cabin that the builder had intended to use for a private residence. Miss
Anna Sheriff, the first teacher, had six pupils during that first term.
By 1882 a new school building was under construction but was not to be ready for several months.
Until the completion of this building, a second floor room in the Ben Spencer hotel was used. The at-
tendance had grown and this room was provided with fifty seats for the pupils expected: however,
many more pupils came than had been provided for. In fact, before December of that year, one hundred
pupils were enrolled.
A young graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Byron Oakley, came to Antigo in 1882, looking
for a place to open a law office. Instead, he became principal of the school, and when the new building
was ready for use, Mr. Oakley graded the school.
The new building, which was located where the public library now stands. was a "modem" frame
structure of that time. It consisted of four rooms, on two doors, and basement equipment with a
furnace. The enrollment continued to grow and before the end of the year seventy-three students
were in one of the rooms and the others were also overcrowded,
Mr. C. O. Marsh, also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was the next principal and super-
intendent of schools. In September, 1883, when Mr. Marsh came, the high school department was
added with a registration of forty-one students. A new wooden building was erected in the second
The Junior-Senior high school system was established in 1929.
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In 1906 the renting system of book was installed.
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ward to accommodate the senior and grammer dep2rIm2I1IS- This building WHS I1iCkIl2m2d The "dry
goods box" because of its shape.
Principal Marsh was ambitious to have a free highschool in Amigo and he held the first entrance ex-
aminations in October, 1883, Twelve Students passed me required state test. lt was necessary to
have twenty-five or more qualified students before A0030 WHS Entitled I0 2 free high school. S0 in 1384
a second examination was held, Finally rlqe eel-rifi.ate arrived from the State Superintendent of Schools
stating that the city of Antigo was entitled to a free high SCH001 Wim 3 three YW? COUISC and that lf Was
also entitled to S300 aid from the state.
The first graduate, Agnes Donahue, completed the three year course in 1885, with a record of never
having failed in recirarion, The following is the program of the first commencement. It is interest-
ing to compare it with more recent programs:
Music by orchestrag recitation, "Kentucky Belle," Sybil Cornish: essay, "Self Reliance," Edith Logan:
declamation, "Edinburgh after Flodden," George Porter: music: valecnctory essay, "Character," Agnes
Donohue: presentation of diploma: music.
The high school course was extended to cover four years in 1888, and it is interesting to note that
one student who had graduated in 1887. re-graduated me next year from the full course.
The first brick school building was erected in 1890 at a cost of Sl6,500. This building occupied
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