Genealogy Trails

NEOGA SCHOOL
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, ILLINOIS


THE SEPARATION OF THE ELEMENTARY & HIGH SCHOOLS

In 1909 high school was organized and a suitable building erected at a site on the east  edge of Neoga. This site has remained throughout the years. This marked the beginning of Neoga township High School. The first graduating class from the new building was in 1911.

On October 28. 1922. the building was destroyed by fire. Students were housed in churches and other locations until replaced by a larger three story brick building.

Transportation to school was by horseback or horse and buggy. A building housing the animals was behind the school This building holds many memories for the boys who sought to prove their skill at fisticuffs during the noon hour. Later transportation was by car and students from out-lying areas formed car pools.

In 1929, the juniors and seniors chose a design for a ring, unique to NTHS. This practice continued for 17 classes and was discontinued in 1946.

The school colors were purple and gold until 1935, when they were changed to red and gray. The tradition of exchanging the wooden shoe with Teutopolis at basketball games preceding Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations began some time between 1930- 1934.

School code changes brought about many changes beginning in 1948. The school became known as Neoga Community District No. 3 and included territories in Cumberland. Coles and Shelby Counties. One-room schools in the area were being eliminated.

At a dedication on November 1, 1953, the following changes were included: 4 additional classrooms from the old study hall to house the junior high; a community room, cafeteria, music rooms and a farm shop revamped from the old gymnasium; and a new modern physical education plant. There were 32 on the faculty and a fleet of 11 school buses transported the students.

In 1960, the junior high moved to the new elementary school located on West Sixth Street.

THE NEOGA ELEMENTARY AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Old Neoga School

The dedication of the new school was Sunday September 24, 1961 The Supervisory personnel was as follows: Louis K. Voris, Unit Superintendent, Jean H. Manuel, Principal, Mrs. Vera T. Queen, Assistant Principal and Mrs. Dortha Greeson. Secretary and Lunch Supervisor. There were twelve teachers on the elementary staff and eight teachers listed on the junior high faculty.

Many changes and innovations were made in schools. Busing and food served in the cafeteria became common practices. Additional changes are given in this time-line.

1973-Beginning of the pre-school DIAL screening of Neoga Elementary. Children three years or older are tested for school readiness.

1976-Mrs. Vera Tolch Queen retired from Neoga Elementary after 47 years as an educator. Robert Schwindt was named as her successor.

1979-1980-R.I.F. (Reading is Fundamental) This program was financed by both Federal and local funds to provide all elementary children with free books. Students receive books three times per year. This program is continuing today and is directed by Mrs. Marilyn Rennels.

1981-Gifted program begins for Neoga students. elementary students attend computer classes at Eastern Illinois University. 1986-Preschool testing became the Brigance Pre-School Screening.

1986- Project HELP program begins. Children age three to five are eligible students. Teacher is Donna Nelson with instructional aide Carla Sylvester.

1987- Beginning age for school children changes to September 1.

1989- Neoga Elementary school begins all-day kindergarten program. Teachers for the program are Mary Sur. Mary Lou Matthews. Carolyn Hayden and Lisa Sutherland.

1990- Computers purchased for the Pioneer attendance center and the Neoga Elementary. Kindergarten through sixth grade learn basics of computers as well as computer aided instruction.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

The education of exceptional children is an integral part of our total school program and several special education programs are available. The Neoga Community Unit School District offers the following programs: speech therapy, learning disabilities, programs for the educable mentally handicapped, trainable mentally handicapped, and early childhood education for ages 3 to 5. It is necessary to have help outside our district. This help is available through the Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education (EIASE).

Mr. Richard Greene, Superintendent of Schools in 1985, in keeping with the School Reform Act, and with the aid of the teaching staff developed "OUR MISSION" a statement. "Neoga Community Unit School District #3 is committed to educating all students to be responsible, competent, and confident citizens who will make a positive contribution in our changing world." A plaque with the statement and goals for all students is posted in the schools.

Beginning in 1977 the elementary school has an ECO (ecology) team that competes with area teams. Awards are given by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

In 1991 the high school maintains a consistent graduation of above 90%—well above the State average of 78.0% and the national rate of a lower amount.

Information supplied by Mr. Robert Schwindt, Elementary Principal with certain facts recorded in previous accounts.

NEOGA SCHOOLS - 1960-1992

The Neoga Community Unit School District #3 was created in 1948 by uniting several one room elementary schools and the Neoga Township High School. By 1968 the Pioneer School, four miles east of Neoga on Route 121, served grades one through five on two floors. Elementary students grades also grades one through five, then six through eight were educated at the in-town facility two blocks cast of the Jennings Park. Secondary students worked toward their diploma at the three-story Township High School building on the east side of town.

School building changes for Neoga students began in the Sixties and continued into the Seventies. The new Neoga Elementary School, on West Sixth Street, opened in 1960. In 1978, the seventh and eighth grade students began attending a new one- floor junior-senior high school which was constructed on the site of the old Township High School.

Social and technological changes significantly influenced both curricular and extra-curricular activities in the Seventies and Eighties. More students began driving to and from school. Both parents in many families were working, and many older students were holding down part-time jobs. The teachers association negotiated their first written contract with the Neoga Board of Education. The Girl's Athletic Association was replaced by girls' teams in volleyball, basketball and track. The addition of calculators, electronic equipment and personal computers in classrooms, labs and school offices resulted in new coursework and record keeping procedures.

Legislative reforms dictated changes ranging from consolidation talks to higher graduation and college admission standards to formalized school improvement planning. The schools struggled to video presentations by installing satellite and cable television systems offering educational programming via the popular medium.


NEOGA TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


Submitted by Dave Carpenter, Principal Neoga Community High School
Source: Cumberland County 1843-1993
Photo contributed by James Winnett

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