The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 14, 1905, page 1

Many Advantages To Such Plan
Advocated by Supt. Neff and Prof. Willey - Would be Economical and Bring Desirable Residents to Hood River

     The time is fast coming when the school facilities of the valley will be taxed to their utmost and in order to be prepared for an emergency it would seem that the best idea is to take hold of the matter now and not wait until there is no provision for the education of pupils in the higher grades.
     A plan advocated by Supt. Neff and endorsed by Prof. Willey, as outlined in an article printed below, it is to have a central high school located at Hood River, which will be amply large enough to accommodate the pupils of the advanced grades throughout the valley. The cost of an educational system of this kind would be reduced to a minimum, by the large number who would share the expense, and the comprehensive scope of its educational features would be widened to an extent that can be done in no other way. The prestige that would accrue to Hood River and its environment through the maintenance of a high school that would be second to none in the state, would many times compensate the taxpayers for any outlay of money spent this way.
     There is probably no way to attract the better class of citizens to a town or city than through its schools. There is no question more near to the heart of every good American citizen than the education of his children. A fine school for the higher grades, coupled with the many other attractions and advantages of the Hood River valley would be the means of bringing the most desirable class of residents that could be had to this section of the country.
     In discussing the matter Prof. Willey says:
     "Believing much of the success in fruit and berry raising in the Hood River valley to be due to the eagerness with which our people in general seem to seek after the very best methods and the persistency with which our local papers keep the people reminded of our advantages and the successful sale of our fruits, I am prompted to ask space to present some thoughts on the school outlook.
     "We all know how well and favorably known is our valley and the fertility of soil, the abundance of fruit and the beauty of its farm homes. We are as particularly favored with regard to educational advantages if we but rise to the occasion.
     "We have no less than five districts, trying as best we can to keep our boys and girls at home and give them a High school education. Wouldn't it be a wiser plan instead of building onto our crowded buildings to make room for one or two high school grades, taught by an over worked principle, to unite and build one large, modern, uptodate high school building and employ none but specialists as teachers?
     "Superintendent Ackerman has repeatedly said in different parts of the state that no section in the whole state presents so many conditions favorable to consolidation of school districts as Hood River valley. The districts adjoining Newberg have consolidated and bring the children to school in large covered wagons at the expense of the district. Can we not choose a location for a high school and provide some means of transportation? Why are not our boys and girls entitled to just as good advantages and opportunities as the boys and girls in Portland or anywhere else? Let us have one school board, one city or valley superintendent, (and when Cascade county is organized in January, 1917, make the county and the valley superintendent one and the same office) and one central high school. This suggestion has been heartily endorsed by Superintendent Ackerman, Superintendent Neff, Superintendent Landers and all other educators to whom it has been presented as "The Ideal Condition." "We would be surpassed by no schools in the state, not even Portland, for we would expect to have some strictly first class superintendent of a wide and successful experience equal to our best city superintendents.
     "Our present consolidation law, to my mind, provides for just what we need. If the consolidation plan doesn't suit everybody's idea then let's have a valley high school established by popular vote and maintained by the valley taxpayers just as the five county high schools of the state are now maintained.
     "This is not a plea to get a fine new high school building for the Hood River city schools, have been the valley pay for it and assume our present indebtedness. We will pay our indebtedness as fast as the bonds are due, consolidation or no consolidation. We have now an enrollment in our high school of 60 and more than 40 in the 8th grade and have contemplated a full four years course next year with 100 pupils. But why not join interests? Let's talk and agitate the question till our ideal is reached, then we can watch "our valley" and not the Washington city grow, for nothing will do more to bring us the desirable home seekers than these school consolidations. They can be brought about before another year if we want them. They are coming soon, why not have been met next year?"

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer