~Click on left links to read names of the graduates

Early area residents shared a concern for education, and so wasted very little time in providing schoolhouses and teachers. Although the first Reading Twp. School, taught by Mr. Jacobson, nephew of County Superintendent Eli Johnson, had been erected in the lower tier on Sec. 33 in 1870 or 1871, settlers in the north part of Reading Twp found it more convenient to patronize the first Washington Twp school known as the Tarbox School. The first teacher there was Miss Flora Shaw, and for several years peoples included children from Hodam, Burket, Ingledo, Percy, Whitney, Sargent, Root, and DuBois families.

Reading Twp settlers on Sections 5, 6. 7 and 8 organized School District No. 3 about 1875 and erected their school building on the SE corner of Henry Kluter’s homestead in Sec. 6. Miss Libby Banister was the first teacher, followed by Roy Wheeler (editor of the Ireton Clipper), Rev. Lisle (minister of the Pleasant View Methodist church), and Miss Lizzie Benton. Pupils included youngsters from the Kluter, Fosburg, Shimer, Savage, Wescott and Elder families.

By 1882 the area was developing rapidly and Ireton had been established. The village children continued to study in the little country school until the summer of 1885, when The Kluter School Building was moved into town and placed on a full block on Outlot A provided by the town. This plot, between Third and Fourth Streets and bounded by Oak Street on the west and Ash Street on the east became “Schoolhouse Hill.”

Miss Christie Montgomery became the Primary teacher, and Miss Sadie McCallum was in charge of the Intermediate grades. The school year was ten months long, only single women were hired, and the salary ranged from $28 to $40 per month.

Almost immediately the Kluter building proved too small, so a former bank building was purchased and moved to the hill for a Primary room. Miss Emma Sargent joined the teaching staff.

In 1886 the Ireton Public School Board consisted of M. M. Elder, a farmer as President; L. M. Black, the postmaster and himself an early school teacher in Plymouth County; and D. E. Wing, druggist, harness-maker, and General Manager of the still unincorporated town of Ireton.

During the 1886-87 school term, a frame two-story, four room building was erected just west of the old building to replace the first two structures with only the two lower rooms occupied and the classes taught by Miss McCallum and Miss Nellie Ingersoll. The rectangular “Kluter School” was sold to Mr. Milton Miller, who moved it to the west side of Elm Street, between 3rd and 4th, where it became his family’s residence. In 1982 that building was occupied by Mr. and Mrs.  Van Donge, Sr.

When they saw the available space, and interested students to fill it, Mr. Charles Cobb, son of an early settler and Mrs. D. R. Stewart, wife of a local blacksmith and herself a successful businesswoman, suggested starting a high school. Approval was quick, but funds were short. After citizens raised the money in every possible way in prosperous, growing Ireton, the dream became reality and Ireton Independent School was soon offering ten years of basic subjects with Mr. Cobb in charge. There was enormous community pride in what had become the Independent School System of Reading Twp.

The first graduating class of 1890 held exercises in the United Presbyterian Church, where all six members delivered original orations before an elaborate backdrop of live sod and wild flowers. They were the first graduating class in all of the eleven towns of Sioux County.  Forty years later they, along with the first Superintendent Charles S. Cobb and their School Board President M. M. Elder, were the honored guests of the Class of 1930, at which time other graduates were in attendance at the annual Alumni function.

~Source: Ireton, A Proud Heritage 1882-1982, pp. 77, 78