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Recalling the early days at the Hungry Horse School - Hagadone Corporation: Hungryhorsenews

Recalling the early days at the Hungry Horse School

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Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:45 am

This is an obituary for Hungry Horse School. Unlike most obituaries I have written, it is impossible to name actual date of death, survivors, residences, amount of estate, beneficiaries.

School in the new little community of Hungry Horse was conceived as afterbirth of Hungry Horse Dam. Terms of the contract held by General-Shea-Morrison called for construction of the school in 1948. Taxes were not used.

Only first six grades were taught during the first year, with seventh- and eighth-graders transported by bus to Columbia Falls. Graduation for Hungry Horse eighth-graders was held at the school in 1950.

"Dam Days," inscribed in gold, was name of hard bound volume published as 1949-50 Hungry Horse School Annual. Dedication page of the annual was sincere: "To the industrious men and women of Hungry Horse who, in the building of a mighty dam, are adding greatness and grandeur to our country; and to their children, the delightful and delighted first graduates of this school is proudly dedicated."

History of Hungry Horse Dam was included in the school's annual. Prime contract for construction of the dam and power plant was awarded April 21, 1948, to General-Shea-Morrison, a combination of 12 contracting firms, on a bid of $43,431,000. They had 2,000 calendar days, amounting to approximately 5 1/2 years, to construct the fourth largest concrete dam in the world and third highest.

First commencement at Hungry Horse School took place May 24, 1950. Salutatory was given by Norman Seilstad, with Jo Anne Sletten, class history, and Donald Brownson, class will. Class prophecy by Barbara Dumay was followed by Class Prophecy No. 2 by Robert Drager.

Chuck Hamar gave parting advice to seventh-graders at the new Hungry Horse School. Norbert F. Donahue, FBI special agent, Kalispell, was speaker for the commencement. Superintendent Clarence E. Lee, School District No. 6, presented eighth-grade diplomas. Evening concluded with Marian Baird's valedictory address and "Farewell to Thee," Class of 1950.

Eighth-grade graduations were important events in elementary schools years ago.

Gladys Shay is a longtime resident and columnist for the Hungry Horse News.


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