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requirement of moral integrity, school trustees cited the rigorous educational standards expected of applicants. Literary merit and teaching experience were expected, as they stated, “With this due care and observance, our schools have reached their present state of high standing, and we today challenge any place in this county or state to show a greater proportion of excellent scholars that have been graduated from this school district.” Teachers’ salaries at the time came to a whopping $50 to $85 per month. Captivated by the competence of Gilroy’s teachers, the school’s academic excellence was noted on an 1871 school visit by the editor of the Gilroy Advocate. Among his comments were these, “The general expression of the scholars was animated and pleasant and among many we observed a beauty and intelligence that was highly pleasing. We scanned their countenances closely and did not find what might be called a stupid expression among them.” There was somewhat of a revolving door at the Gilroy schoolhouse, how- ever, with eleven teachers arriving and departing between 1854 and 1867. Two local names on the staff are recogniz- able in the annals of local history: Mr. E. Leavesley and P.F. Hoey. Then there was D.W. Herrington, later of San Jose, who later distinguished himself by becoming a District Attorney and member of the State Assembly. By 1867 the school had estab- lished a Board of Trustees with members Perry Dowdy, J.W. Clifton and Massey Thomas among those elected to office. With town growth came an expand- ed student enrollment and by 1868 the town’s original 1854 schoolhouse was bursting at the seams. A tax was voted to construct a new building. The lowest bid, from local builder J. J. Dorland, came in at $5,825. By then, after enthusiastically overspending on books for the school library, the Board of Trustees was forced to take out a 1.5 percent loan to furnish the building’s new classrooms. “The interest paid on this sum was rather high, we would consider, nowadays,” the school history brochure notes. Students already burdened with meeting year-end academic requirements doubtless groaned even louder in 1873, when the school year was extended from eight to ten months. In addition, given the town’s growth, greater student atten- dance had classrooms again overflow- ing with 40 to 50 students per room. By 1875 a new tax was raised to fund $5,000 for additional classrooms. By this time, the Superintendent’s salary was also boosted to $150 per month. To meet costs, pupils living outside the city limits were assessed monthly fees of $1.50 to $3 according to grade level. A bell was installed at the schoolhouse to be rung each morning, ensuring the children got to class on time. Ever seeking intellectual progress, publication of the first school newspaper, called the Gilroy Effort, served to inform the town on “the advancement being made by the scholars.” By the 1880s, local names on the staff included Miss Mary E. Rucker, in GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 charge of second intermediate level, and Henry Reeve, elected to the Board of Trustees. Other staff included Lizzie Tully, Bertie Benn, who later became the city librarian, Clara Ousley and Hannah Sorenson. Smoking and chewing tobacco on campus became an issue. In 1882, the Board of Trustees passed a law forbidding the use of tobacco on any part of the school grounds. The teachers were given strict orders for its enforcement. During this period the names of many student graduates familiar in local history were listed: Osborne, Furlong, Lennon, Willey, Wayland, Mayock, Murphy, Moore, Cullen, Goodrich, Holloway, and Cobb. By 1885 the high school graduated a class of 11 members. Seven of them eventually went on to hold teaching positions in San Ysidro, San Benito County, Castroville, Fresno, Washington State, and Gilroy. Of the four remaining Class of 1885 graduates, one became a lawyer and the others took up farming. Banning tobacco from school property was but the tip of the iceberg of school scandals, however. In 1890 the Superintendent came under fire when the local newspaper reported, “An investigation into the actions of the Superintendent of Schools concerning charging personal bills to the county came before the board. The Superintendent had refused to turn over the account records. When forced to do so, they revealed accounts kept in a slovenly manner.” gmhtoday.com 71