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DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Dubuque High School was opened in 1858 on the third floor of a building on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and 12th Street. The school enrolled one hundred ten students and had a staff of two teachers and one principal. The institution was moved to a building at 17th and Iowa STREETS in 1859 and then closed until 1866. Reasons given included the start of the CIVIL WAR, an economic depression, and a feeling among the residents of Dubuque that an elementary education was sufficient.
In 1866 the high school was reopened, and the classes that had been conducted in the ward schools were transferred to Turner Hall. The stage curtain and scenery present in the building were donated to the City. The District's administrative office was moved to the high school in 1872.
A complete high school course in the early years was three years in length. Each academic year included three terms. The first graduating class in 1870 had only two students, Sarah M. Belden and Mary A. Dorgan. Only twenty-five students graduated from the program between 1870 and 1876. The original teaching staff included the principal and up to three teachers.
By 1877 most courses were extended to four years. Four-year Latin, scientific and classical programs, and a two-year business course were offered. From 1877 to 1885 the number of graduates soared to 219. After 1885 the classical course was discontinued while the other two programs were continued with little change. When the board of education realized by 1895 that most students were choosing the two-year business program, it was discontinued, and high school became strictly a four-year program.
In 1893 the proposal to issue bonds in the amount of $75,000 to purchase a site and erect a new high school was approved by Dubuque voters by a margin of 956 to 235. CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL was dedicated on January 17, 1895.
In August 1920 the board of education purchased fifteen acres of farm land from MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH COLLEGE for $45,335. J. W. Royer was chosen as the architect with the general contractor being English Brothers from Champaign, Illinois. Hollow bricks for the interior walls were purchased from Heim and Sons of Dubuque while the stone work on the exterior was done by BYRNE BROTHERS. A special ventilating system changed the air in the twenty-six classrooms and auditorium every six and one-half minutes. Stairways were enclosed in fireproof walls and the corridor floors were constructed of cement and marble aggregate. The auditorium seated 1,166 and was designed with an old English style oak-beamed ceiling. This was remodeled in 2006-2007. The school's cafeteria was equipped to serve three hundred students at a time with two shifts of forty-five minutes each. (1)
Built at a cost of $766,179, Dubuque Senior High School was formally dedicated on February 9, 1923. An overflow crowd of four thousand caused many to be seated in the auditorium with others moved to the gymnasium. Speakers for the program spoke in one location and then moved to the other to allow everyone to hear. Enrollment the first year reached 733 students.
"Open House" played an early role in acquainting parents with the work of the school. On May 15, 1925 classes began at 2:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. and continued until 8:50 p.m. This was done to make it possible for parents who worked to attend. Every class was conducted, examples of work were displayed, and the cafeteria was open from 5:35 to 7:35 p.m. (2)
In 1936 the high school institute a point system for extra curricular activities. The purpose was to "distribute services" and to limit the number of activities in which any student could be involved. The merit plan, accepted by the student council and faculty was used to determine membership in the National Honor Society. During each of three seasons during the year, students were limited on the number of points (activities) they could carry with respect to their grades and classification. Supervisors of each activity graded each student as to their efficiency and service to provide a record of the student's extra-curricular work. (3)
With the help of WPA funding, a girl's gymnasium, lockers, dressing rooms, shower rooms, football practice field, and band room were added to the school between 1923 and 1940. A new technical building and a gymnasium were dedicated on November 12, 1954. Additional classrooms and a library were added in 1965-1966 due to increasing enrollment. In 1990 a $5.3 million building addition to Senior included departmental learning centers, a new cafeteria/ commons area, a new library, computer labs, and additional classrooms.
Efforts were launched in 1975 to provide Dalzell Field with Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT). Because the field was used every year by the city's three high schools, the grounds became very torn up. REILLY, C. Michael "Mike", spokesperson for Dubuque Turf Boosters, Inc., a group formed to promote a new surface for the field, explained that the PAT system was a regular grass surface installed over a sand base with an irrigation pumping system that removes rainwater--the major cause of field damage. The PAT system was cheaper and caused fewer injuries than artificial turf and was almost as durable. Maintenance costs were expected to be $300 annually instead of the $5,000 the district annually spent on repairs. A fund drive to raise $150,000 was planned. (4)
In 1990 Dubuque Senior High initiated the Renaissance Project, a means of providing incentives for good grades. Students with all grades an "A" received a red card for discounts at school and local businesses. Students with grades of "A" and "B" received a blue card and those with all "C" grades received a white card. There was also a card for those who significantly improved their grade point average. The program cost about $5,000 annually to support and new donors were appreciated. (5)
Members of the school board and administration saw a preliminary sketch by Carl Hornstad of Decorah, Iowa for the Dubuque Senior High auditorium in June 1991. The graduating class planned to give the mural to the school to portray minorities and women in leadership roles. The sketch showed a woman working on a telephone pole, a black construction foreman and a professional woman calling on a wheelchair-using executive. (6) The board's curriculum committee chose to refine the sketch. The group decided that the woman working on a telephone pole should be wearing a hardhat. Three men standing at the construction site should include a Hispanic, Native American and an Asian. The indoor office scene should include a white man and a black man discussing business with a white woman in a wheelchair. (7) The mural, completed in a two-week period during the summer of 1991, was unveiled in late September. Donations had been received from students, city residents, and the Dubuque chapter of NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE (N.A.A.C.P.). (8)
In 1993 Dubuque Senior began a school within a school. The concept involved three teachers and approximately ninety incoming freshmen. Each school morning the students studied science, English and math with the three teachers who had the ability to adjust the schedule to fit unique learning opportunities. In the afternoon, the students returned to the larger school for elective courses. The idea was to make a large school seem smaller. The result was high academic success, high attendance, and high parent involvement. The $22,000 planning grant from the New Iowa Schools Development ran out and the school-within-a-school was ended for one year. It was revived in 1998 with the same three teachers and one hundred students. (9)
During the summer of 1993, Senior offered its first summer clinic for students who needed extra help or in some cases needed to make up credits for classes they had failed. The clinics featured teams of students and teachers working together for an entire morning. (10)
Dalzell Field, serving Senior and Hempstead, was the scene of a $10.5 million renovation in 2012-2013. The completed complex featured artificial turf, Musco sports lighting, a regulation eight-lane track, a 3,125 home bleacher section with an additional 1,500 visitor seats, an 11 x 20 feet digital display section on the scoreboard, new locker rooms, new concession stands, tickets booths and an $86,500 private donation-funded bronze statue of Jay BERWANGER. (11)
In February 2015, it was announced that a $25 million project involving renovations at Dubuque Senior was moving into the conceptual design phase. Architects' renovations would be funded by the 1-cent sales tax. (12) In the same month the school received three critic's choice banners at the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group All-State Festival. It was the third time Senior received three banners in a single festival preceded by 1984 and 1987. (13)
Maddie Hawkins in 2017 became the first athlete in the history of the school to win her third straight Mississippi Vlley Conference Player of the Year award and the same week to capture her third city title. (14)
Encouraging volunteerism was part of many schools in the tri-state area in 2018. At Dubuque Senior the Silver Cord Program begun in 2018 required freshman to earn 100 service hours during high school at a recommended rate of twenty-five hours annually. Older students' requirements were prorated on their grade as the program was phased in. Students completing the program received a cord to wear at graduation and recognition in the graduation program. (15)
Mr. D.M. Case, 1858
Dr. C.W. Catlin, 1858 - 1859
Mr. A.J. Townsend, 1858 - 1859
Mr. J.M. Brainard, 1859 - 1866
Mr. W.H. Beach, 1866 - 1867
Mr. Wells, 1867 - 1875
Mr. Peet, 1875 - 1877
Mr. Parker, 1877 - 1885
Mr. Compton, 1885 - 1889
Mr. Walker, 1889 - 1894
Mr. Smart, 1894 -
Mr. Gochanauer, 1895 - 1899
Mr. Smart, 1899 - 1901
Mr. Anderson, 1901 - 1903
Mr. Ehrlman, 1903 - 1914
Mr. Stevenson, 1914 - 1924
Ms. Hallmann, 1924 - 1925
Mr. Johnson, 1925 - 1944
Mr. Jackson, 1944 - 1947
Mr. Lee, 1947 - 1964
Dr. Kampschroer, 1964 - 1966
Mr. Darsee, 1966 - 1970
Mr. Don Kolsrud, 1970 - 1987
Mr. Larry Mitchell, 1987 - 2005
Ms. Kim Swift, 2005 - 2011
Mr. Rick Colpitts, 2011-2012
Mr. Dan Johnson, 2012-
1. Gibson, Michael. "Yesterday and Today," The Golden View, February 2014.
2. "Open House Day at Senior High," Telegraph Herald, May 10, 1925, p. 7
3. "School Adopts Point System," Telegraph Herald, November 15 1936, p. 12
4. "Fund Drive Planned for New Dalzell Surface," Telegraph Herald, December 9, 1975, p. 2
5. Krapfl, Mike. "Senior Project Aids Good Grades," Telegraph Herald, February 2, 1993, p.5A
6. Hanson, Lyn. "Preliminary Sketch Unveiled for Senior Auditorium Mural," Telegraph Herald, June 15, 1991, p. 4A
7. Krapfl, Mike. "Senior's School Within A School Back With Old Lesson Plan," Telegraph Herald, February 24, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970224&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
8. Hanson, Lyn. "Panel Revises Artist's Conception For Senior Mural," Telegraph Herald, June 21, 1991, p. 3A
9. Arnold, Bill. "Mural Depicting Dubuque in 1900s Unveiled," Telegraph Herald, September 29, 1991, p. 3A
10. Krapfl, Mike. "Success Focus of Summer School Clinic," Telegraph Herald, July 2, 1993, p. 3A
12. Becker, Stacey. "Principal: Renovations Sorely Needed at Senior." Telegraph Herald, February 12, 2015, p. 1
13. "2015: A By-The-Numbers Review of the Year in the Tri-States," Telegraph Herald, January 3, 2016, p. 1
14. Mumm, Shannon. "Hawkins in the Zone," Telegraph Herald, May 18, 2017, p. 1B
15. Hinga, Allie. "Schools Emphasize Role of Volunteerism in Education," Telegraph Herald, March 26, 2018, p. 1A