Who is Voshall Gymnasium named after?The gymnasium at Pittsfield High School is named after J. Harold Voshall. Voshall, a well known Illinois educator, was born in Pleasant Hill in 1903 and was 81 years old when he died on March 14, 1985.
He graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 1922 and went to Illinois College in Jacksonville for two years before beginning his career in education in September 1924 in Kinderhook, where he started as a teacher and coach. He coached his basketball team in what was called the Coliseum in Kinderhook. Voshall was the superintendent from 1927 to 1930.
He was the superintendent at Pleasant Hill from 1930 to 1935.
The hometown was good to me, giving me 100 percent support, Voshall told The Herald-Whig in a 1976 interview. "As it not always the case, this worked out very well for me."
He then moved to Pittsfield in 1935, starting a 31 year run that involved the school district going through three reorganizations.
He was named superintendent on Aug. 31, 1935, succeeding E.S. Simmonds, of the small city District 88 that maintained both grade schools and high schools and drawing half its high school students from non-high school territory. Pittsfield formed its community District 168 for high school students in 1939 while also maintaining District 88 until the present District 10 community unit was formed in 1948. That move embraced 44 one and two room schools, comprised of 326 square miles and one of the largest in the state at the time. It included Summer Hill, Nebo, Pearl, Milton, Baylis, Rockport, New Salem and Detroit.
He also was president of the Illinois Educators Association in 1947 and the Illinois Association of School Administrators in 1963.
The Pittsfield School Board chose to rename the gymnasium after Voshall when he stepped down in 1966.
Voshall said in his 1976 interview that most of the time his work as a superintendent was a pleasure, "more than adequately compensating for the writer's crap from signing upward of 6,000 high school diplomas."
Voshall eventually joined the staff of the state superintendent of education in Springfield, serving as coordinating of the in-service education programs for school administrators from 1966 to 1971. He then became the first president of the first of the 13 Illinois Area Agencies on Aging to be chartered in Illinois, working on a part-time basis out of Quincy as a liaison contact with the Senior Citizen councils in six counties.
Contributed by Bill Browning
Source: [Herald Whig - Quincy IL 2016 January, Written by David Adam]
Photo from the Schultz Academy Year Book