Early Years

Hays High originally began as a grammar school in 1872.  Professors L. Messick principal of public schools, prepared a course of studies for two years of high school work in 1886. In 1886 he also created a school library.  The school was officially instituted in 1889. The second principal, Professor L. H. Gehman's, adopted a course of study and graduate pupils. The Alumni Association was founded in 1893. 

The first literary society (Alpha) also began in 1893. Although short lived it paved the way for future literary societies.  The next literary society was Signi Phi, which prospered for 8 years before disbanding in 1904. Later in 1904, two rival literary societies were created, "Anonymous" and "Alpha."

The high school library was started in 1886. At this time a set of encyclopedias was purchased for $180. This set consisted of 18 volumes, bound in sheepskin, first published in 1876. In 1890 a large Webster's dictionary was purchased for use in the high school. At the same time, a cheap bookcase was ordered made for each room so the teacher's books could be kept under lock and key. In 1920, a course in library methods was made a part of the activities of the school. The next year library books were collected and catalogued according to the Dewey Decimal system. At the time, there were approximately 500 miscellaneous books. But by 1937, there were 3,700 volumes housed in special library room with book stacks, reading tables, and with a seating capacity of 34 persons. The present-day library contains about 15,000 books and has a seating capacity of about 80 students.

In 1902 the first school paper was released. The Independent was issued weekly and was passed around and read by students for the cost of 2 cents per reading. The first yearbook was made in 1904.

Tennis was started sometime in the 1890's. It  was the most popular game played at Hays High. The organization had 7 members known as Junior Tennis Club. Pictured above is the 1904 tennis team.

Football at Hays High began in 1902. The first game was played against Lacrosse and resulted in a 5 to 2 victory. Pictured above is the 1904 football team

Baseball at Hays High began began in 1904, although it had been represented years before. No games could be  arranged with another school on any day other than Saturday, which often proved inconvenient.  If they arranged a trip to a neighboring town at the expense of the school, they were greeted on their return with the information that their absence could be procured; a practical suspension for three or four days.  The football team also played under these restrictions.

The Hays High Manual Training Department was primarily produced through the efforts of Mr. W. H. Keller. Work was done by boys and girls alike, each student was supposed to devote at least two hours a week to manual training. The equipment consists of twelve benches, a grindstone, and a tool chest.  Work consisted of planning, fitting and squaring, making crosses and squares, dove-tailing, and wood carving.

12th Street Years

In 1916, a fireproof brick high school building was erected at 323 West 12th Street at a cost of $65,000. The junior high school building at Salina was used as a model for this structure. The building was first occupied in the fall of 1917.

 In 1925, the athletic field now known as Shively Field, named after C. A. Shively, who served as superintendent of schools from 1914 to 1928) was purchased for $4,000.

The original building at the corner of 12th and Ash was torn down in 1939.  At that time, an addition was made to the west building. The addition consisted of a home economics laboratory, chemistry laboratory, library, wood shop, and vocational agriculture shop. The 12th street auditorium was also part of the addition.

The school  became the Hays Junior-Senior High School  between 1939 and 1941when seventh and eighth grades joined the top four grades in the building.

In 1964, the seventh and eight graders moved from the high school to the new Hays Junior High School.


Hays High School - Now and Then

Hays High School Homecoming - Now and Then

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