Timeless Teachings in a Changing World
Bothell has been graduating high school students since the first class graduated in 1912. In 1907, Henry Simonds started teaching high school classes on the upper floor of a new school building in downtown Bothell. Prior to that, students had to travel across Lake Washington by boat to attend Broadway High School in Seattle. In Henry's class was his daughter, Sarah Simonds (later married to Ron Green). The Simonds family moved out to Bothell from Wisconsin in 1906 in order to get away from the harsh winters. Henry's youngest son John had health issues, and the doctor recommended moving to a milder climate. Their eldest son, Albert, was already living and working in Tacoma, and he raved about the mild climate.
When Henry saw an ad in the paper for 40 acres of cleared land in Bothell, he bought it sight unseen with a plan to become a chicken farmer. He resigned from his position as the Oshkosh Superintendent of schools, and put his whole family on a train to the Pacific Northwest. But when they got to the property, they found that it had been cleared, but many of the stumps had been left behind. The house was really more like a shack, especially compared to their home in Wisconsin that was equipped with all the modern conveniences. Henry set to work blowing up stumps, but it wasn't long before he was running out of money, so he decided to find a job. Luckily for him, the Bothell School Board was looking for someone to start a High School. Henry was offered the job, and started teaching classes in 1907. It was lucky for Bothell to be able to start the high school with such a seasoned educator and administrator.
Unfortunately, because there were so few teachers and students, the first high school class had to agree to all take the same course of study, which included four years of Latin, one year of German, American Literature, Physics, History, Drawing, and Algebra. There were five young women in the first graduating class, including Sarah Simonds, Carrie Ross, Merle and Erma Olin, and Nina Beckstrom; and they must have been exceptional students, because they wrote and presented their own play on Women's Rights that was written all in verse. Women's Suffrage was on the forefront of the news at that time. To read an extract from the play, go to page 3 of the December 2015 issue of the Cougar Tracks Newsletters.