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Unit 7: Set 4: Rural & Town Schools - Divide County High Schools

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In a special, county-wide election conducted February 15, 1962, Divide County voted 4 to 1 to consolidate all of its schools into a single school district. Voters accepted the concept of a single county school district in order to “equalize educational opportunity,” and to “equalize taxes.” Fortuna, Ambrose, and Alkabo high schools closed in 1962 and thereafter students rode the bus to Crosby. Noonan and Crosby high schools, the only accredited high schools in the county remained open, “for now.”

Ambrose High School was a Class 3 high school for many years, though it held Class 2 status in 1931. The high school employed about three teachers who taught a wide range of subjects. One of the teachers was also principal, and one was also school superintendent. Like many other Class 3 high schools, Ambrose had a low percentage (16% in 1932) of its students go on to college or trade school. The high school was classified as a Graded and Consolidated school in 1961, and closed in 1962. Ambrose students enrolled at Crosby in the newly organized Divide County District 1 high school.

Noonan High School was another Class 3 high school in located in eastern Divide County. Noonan High became an approved school in 1919. Though it managed to hold onto its school population for many years, students were bussed to Divide County High School for some classes for several years after 1962 until the school finally closed in 1981.

Crosby High School was approved and accredited in 1918. It had a larger student body than other Divide County high schools which may be related to the fact that Crosby is the county seat. In 1962, when Divide County schools consolidated, Crosby was designated the site for both high school and grade school. In the fall term of 1962, Crosby high school enrolled an extra 50 students from the three high schools that closed in June 1962.

Sources:

State of North Dakota. 26th Annual Report of the Director of Secondary Education 1933. SHSND Series 130101.

55th Annual Report of the Director of Secondary Education of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the year ending Jun 30, 1962. SHSND Series 130101.

AmbroseND.com

Divide County Journal, November 22, 1961; November 29, 1961; February 22, 1962.

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