History of Leonardville Public Schools


Leonardville was started in September of 1881.  The railroad came through in October of 1881 and the new city began to built.  A new city needed a new school.   A new school house was built in the summer of 1882 which was located at the north end of main street.  The money was secured by selling bonds for about $1000 to the College of Manhattan. Clara Ford was the first teacher.  Clara was a sister to Jonathan Ford, who had given part of his land to establish the Leonardville town site.  In later years, two more additions were added, making a three-room school.


First School Buildings (1882-1910)

Lucien Kilbourne, who also had given part of his land to establish the town site and originally owned the land the new school was built on, took great interest in the new city.  He raised enough money by subscription to purchase a bell for the school house.

By 1909 the old wooden buildings were in need of repair and space was cramped from the growth of the city.  In 1909 the patrons of the Leonardville school district voted to build a new school building at a cost of $7,560. The construction was finished in the spring of 1910.


New School Building built in 1910

The new two-story brick school building was built at the south end of main street to house all the elementary classes.  Also plans were being made to start high school classes.

The first freshman class of Leonardville High School started in the fall of 1911. Lowell H. Damon taught the high school classes for the first two years along with teaching his elementary class.  In the fall of 1913 Mrs. W.G. Nanninga took up the work, organized the school more efficiently and put it on solid ground.  In the fall of 1913 Earl Vandruff transferred from McLouth High School and became the first graduate and the only member of the Class of 1914.  The first class to go all four years, the Class of 1915, graduated seven members the next year.

The first Leonardville High School yearbook, Memoirs, was published by the Class of 1919.  By now over sixty students were attending high school.
In the fall of 1920 the school district boundaries were expanded to include more of the rural areas and the name was changed to Leonardville Rural High School.  This brought more students and there was just not enough room in the building to accommodate this new growth of students.
A new building was planned and in 1923 a new two-story brick building was built on the west side of the city.  The cost of the new building was $50,000. There was now over ninety students attending high school.   Along with more classroom space, there was also an auditorium and a gymnasium.

Links to other School related pages

Here is a scanned copy of the official "Program" for the
Leonardville High School Dedication Day on December 4, 1923,
click on this link:

1923 LRHS Dedication Day Program


For the school year 1951-1952, the Leonardville Grade School published a booklet titled, "School Day Memories."  It had pictures of all the faculty and students, basketball teams, cheerleaders, "candid" pictures and an Advertising section.  Have you ever seen a copy or know some who has a copy.  Click the title below to see the scanned images.

(It may take a while to load, as there are 32 images...)

1951 - 1952  LGS  "School Day Memories" Booklet

Riley County High School is 50 Years Old -- The doors of RCHS opened in September of 1959. 

To read more about that first year,click here:  

"RCHS  at  50"

(The taken from The Leonardville Monitor on November 22, 1923.)

Building Dedication Dec. 4
To Be an All Day Event.

Programs, Basket Dinner and Football Game Included.

The dedication of the new high school building at Leonardville will take place on December fourth. The building will then be completed. This day is to be a real community day. All the people of the community are invited to attend. The people of the surrounding community can come and see the splendid building they are paying for. The day is to be a real red letter day which will long be remembered in Leonardville. It is to be an all day affair. There will be a program beginning between nine and ten in the morning and lasting through out the day. In the morning a general chapel is to be held to which everybody is invited. The program will consist of numbers rendered by the students and the people of the community.

At noon there will be a basket dinner. All the people of the community are invited to come with well filled baskets. Tables are to be placed in the gymnasium where the dinner will be held. Miss Gugenhan and the domestic science girls will have charge of the dinner. Everyone come with their dinner and eat with the rest of the people of the community.

After dinner there is to be a short program. President Jardine of K.S.A.C. will speak and there will be speeches made by local people.

At three o'clock a football game will take place between the Tigers and the Wildmen from Riley. The teams will clash at the Leonardville field to see who will carry home the bacon. The two teams are old time rivals. This is to be the last game on the home field this year and will be played on the new field.

The Tigers won from Riley at Riley this season and the Wildmen will come back at the Tigers with a fighting spirit. A close and interesting game is assured, and the people should be sure to come to Leonardville if they want to have a right good time.

The evening program will commence at eight o'clock. The students from the various classes will contribute a gift that will be given in remembrance of their class.

The seniors will contribute a picture "The Monarch of the Glen."

Juniors, a bronze plate with their class motto "Excelsior."

Sophomores, the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Freshmen, the statue of George Washington.

After the presentation of these gifts from the various classes the state superintendent, Hon. Jess W. Miley will speak to the people about the dedication of the new high school building.
The members of the board will give short talks in regard to the new building. The high school orchestra will furnish music and the girls glee club and boys quartette will furnish the singing.


New High School Building built in 1923


The new building was dedicated on December 4, 1923. 
It was a day long event with programs in the morning, afternoon and evening,
and a football game* in the afternoon!

The program included:


Morning Community Program

9:30  Song
        Devotions -- Rev. Platz
        Music -- High School Orchestra
        Education and Revelation -- W.H. Sikes
        Music -- Girls' Glee Club
        What the Building means to the Teacher -- Miss Rodewald
        What the Building means to the Student -- Eveline Larson
        The High School as a Community Center -- Mrs. Coltharp
        Instrumental Solo -- Milton Pelischek
        The Alumni -- David Bletscher
11:00 Open House
11:45 Dinner -- (Grace) Rev. Carlson


Afternoon Community Program

1:00  Community Singing -- Rev. Dahlsten
1:25  Invocation -- Rev. Draper
        All Together -- Mayor Johnson
        Greetings -- Professor Bursch
                Principal Riley High School.
        Selection -- Boys' Quartette
        Announcements -- J.B. Underwood
        Address -- Dean E.L. Holton
                 Head of Dept. of Education, K.S.A.C.
3:00  Annual Football Game -- Riley vs. Leonardville

Evening Formal Dedication Program

7:30 Music -- High School Orchestra
       America -- Congregation
       Invocation -- Rev. Peterson
       Selection -- Men's Chorus, Evangelical Church
       Cost of Building -- Mr. R. Bohnenblust
       Presentation -- Seniors, Jacob Nanninga
       Presentation -- Juniors, Milton Pelischek
       Presentation -- Sophomores, Marjorie Manshardt
       Presentation -- Freshmen, Grace Springer
       Instrumental Solo -- Miss Oliver
       Acceptance -- Mr. B.R. Nanninga
       Announcements -- J.B. Underwood
       Address -- Hon. Jess W. Miley
               State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
       Selection -- Girls' Glee Club

 (* Oh, by the way, Leonardville won the football game, 19-13, Go Tigers!)

To see a copy of the official Program that was printed for the Dedication Day click on this link:

Dedication Day Program

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