Latham R-V School

          History

     Latham School has been in operation for more than a century. There have been four school buildings on the site. When Latham School first opened the building was a two story four room house. During the time this building served as the school and the teacher actually lived in one of the four rooms! Grades 1-8 were offered. Sadly, the first of four Latham Schools burned in February of 1879. For the first time, but not the last time in its history the community of Latham rebuilt a school for its children.

     The second building was a two-story frame house with a furnace in the basement. In 1900 Latham School had an enrollment of 86 students with an average daily attendance of 42. There were two teachers and W.T. Will as Principal. School was in session for 140 days. Starting in 1923 one year of high school was offered. W.E. Allen was the first High School Teacher and also taught grades 5th-8th. Ruth Charles taught grades 1st-4th. In 1924 two years of high school were offered. K.J. Moser was the high school teacher. W.E. Allen and Bess Phillips taught grades 1st-8th. Starting with the 1928 school year school was in session for nine months instead of eight as had been previously been taught.

     On December 19, 1929 the second Latham school building burned. The community met with the school board and as a group decided to rebuild. For the remainder of the year school was held in a house just north of Latham.

     In the fall of 1930 the third school building for Latham opened. It was constructed of brick and tile and housed grades 1st-8th and for the first time a full accredited four year high school. The school had four full time teachers. Two for High School and two for Elementary school. In 1933 the school added a third High School teacher O.R. McDaniel who was also the district superintendent. Cecil Phillips and Sara Lena Kasper were the other two High School Teachers. Nadine Moser and Wilma Allen served as elementary teachers.

     Hot lunches were first served to the students in 1941. The well balanced meals cost the students 5 cents. As the United States entered World War II the school saw a shortage of teachers as well as a reduction in funding. During the 1941 school year Latham had 33 students in Elementary School and 59 in High School. The last class to graduate High School from Latham was the class of 1946. From then till present day students finish their education in surrounding high schools.

     In May of 1952 the school board asked voters to pass a $30,000 dollar bond issue for the purpose of building a multipurpose building along the side of the main school building. The structure would have restrooms, offices, a gym, and the basement of the main school building would be remodeled with kitchen and lunch room. The Bond passed by a margin of 139 votes for and 41 against. When school opened in 1952 the enrollment of Latham Elementary were 113 students. All of the students of the district were transported to the school by four buses. That was the first year Barney Stokes served as principal as well as 7th and 8th grade teacher. Eva Collier taught grades 5th and 6th, Martha Van Stavern taught 4th grade, Hazel Jobe taught 2nd and 3rd grade, and Elna Newkirk taught 1st grade.

 

     During the last half of the 20th Century Latham Elementary grew its selection of classes and extracurricular activities. Classes such as speech, band, art, Title I, computer, health, and physical education were gradually added. Extracurricular activities such as band, music, math contests, spelling B’s, and archaeology challenges were added. After Barney Stokes retired as principal, Steve Smith, followed by Doyle Williamson became principal for a short time. In 1976 Kindergarten was added, and taught by Tena Potts.

"Miss Tena", as she was known, was also the principal until 2002. In 1986, three additional classrooms were added on the east side of the gymnasium. Tanya Brown became principal in 2002 till 2014.

 

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On December 15, 2010 an early morning fire left the Latham Elementary school devastated. As the sun rose behind in the morning the destruction of the school became clear to the community. The main part of the school, which was built in 1929, was destroyed. Most of the addition of 1952 sustained heavy fire, water, and smoke damage. The school was ruined. For the third time in its history the school building for the Latham School district burned. However the students, parents, teachers, and community once again worked together to make sure they would rebuild once again.

January 3, 2011 the 63 K-8 Latham School students returned to classes, although not to their regular classrooms. The students attended class at the Pilot Grove Baptist Church, two miles north of Latham, until mobile classrooms were installed and ready for school use. The school's office was at the Latham's First Christian Church. On Feb. 28, 2011 the students moved into four temporary mobile classrooms, while the new school was being built.

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On September 4, 2012 students started their school year in a brand new $1.3 million dollar school. The newest Latham School is a single story school that has a computer lab, library, and gym. The school continues to offer the children of the Latham community grades K-8. Once they leave Latham they can attend California, Tipton, or Versailles schools to finish their education. The current principal is Jennifer Hays who started in the fall of 2014. The present curriculum includes reading, math, ELA, science, social studies, health, physical education, art, music, life skills, and computers. Latham offers extracurricular activities such as softball, volleyball, basketball, and track and field

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100 Years later children pose for a picture in front of the Latham School.

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2008

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Click on KOMU to see the video about the new Latham R-V School.

1908

School History in Latham Heritage Festival Book 2007

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