The first school taught in Alta was opened in 1874 and consisted of one room, with Miss Jennie Carter as teacher. Miss Iris Kelso followed Miss Carter, and in 1875 Miss Bell Moore was teacher. In 1876 and 1877 Ira C. Harlan and Emma Wilson were teachers, the school having arrived at the dignity of two rooms and the growth was steady. The first schools were conducted in small buildings provided in various parts of town, one standing at the present location of the hotel, while for a time school was held in the Swedish Lutheran church.
Mr. Harlan was the first principal of the graded school in the independent district, and was succeeded in that position by the following, in the order named: Thos. Walpole, Mrs. W. R. Mallory, Mrs. O. M. Byam, J. H. O'Donaghue, S. A. Darland, G. F. Ostrander, H. E. Crosby, G. B. Hess, Willis J. Bell and L. D. Curtis, the present superintendent. The school at present has the following staff of teachers : L. D. Curtis, superintendent; Edna Windolf, assistant, and Stella Pence, Clara Johnson, Jessie Olson, Mrs. Dora Wessman, Ethel Lawrence and Audrey Adams, grade teachers. The enrollment averages two hundred and twenty-five pupils. The first school board consisted of a. T. Steever, F. O. Wiss, J. D. Adams, H. J. Poulson and G. Gerner. The present board is as follows: P. Morrissey, D. E. Hadden, G. A. Benson, Claus Lindlief and V. E. Herbert, directors; W. J. Sievers, secretary and G. F. Tincknell, treasurer.
About 1880 a block of ground was purchased in the south part of town and a schoolhouse with four rooms was erected. This burned to the ground shortly afterward and another was built as soon as practicable. This also burned and, the present building was erected. It is of frame construction and has seven rooms and a laboratory. A library was installed five years ago, thanks to the generosity of Geo. W. Schee of Primghar and local contributors.
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