History of Cornell Schools
The Cornell School was founded in a blacksmith shop building in 1907/08 under the direction of Julia Fluery and Anna Butler.
The first school building was the “Little White House” near the end of the present grade school building. One room was built in 1912/13 and two more were added later on. This was the grade school until the other one was built in 1940/41. This building held eight classrooms and housed the largest auditorium/gymnasium combination in Northern Wisconsin. The 1940/41 building was replaced in 1996.
The middle section of the present high school was erected in 1915. It was three stories high. Another section was added in 1921 that was two stories high with plans to add to the south as the student population warranted it. In 1952 the two story north edition was added. In 1962 the south two story, gymnasium, and shop were added. The present high school was upgraded with a new commons, food service area, and elevator in 1995.
The first graduating class consisted of two people. Bernard Forier and Bertha Miller, and took place in 1916. Loren Van Gorden was the principal at the time. Miss Blakely was one of the teachers and Charles Guilford was a coach. The staff has grown to 58 people in 2012.
Basketball was introduced in 1916 where the games were played in the Lyric Theatre. They eventually moved to the elementary gym in 1920. The Cloverbelt Basketball League was formed in 1936 with Owen, Withee, Thorp, Stanley, Cadott, Boyd, Gilman, Holcombe, and Cornell being the participants. From 1936-46 Cornell won 7 District Tournaments, six in a row. Lauren McChesney was the coach.
The first football team competed in 1920 with Ladysmith, Bloomer, Augusta, Owen and Colfax. The sport was dropped in 1927 and was resumed in 1939 in a 6-man league. In 1944 eight man football was added and 1945 it went to eleven-man football. In 1962 Cornell received the award for number 1 public school football team.
Other sports that have been added are baseball, track, wrestling, volleyball, cheerleading, pompons, Cross country, and softball. Aaron Phelps was the first state champion in the sport of wrestling. Other wrestling state champions from Cornell were Colby Roberts and Corey Hodowanic.
Cornell had 7 track members become state champions as well. They were George Rivers in 1960, Gary Robarge in 1961, Dennis Rivers and Harlan Robarge in 1962, Randy Carter in 1976, Dan Bublitz in 1977, and Chris Walters in 1999.
Due to declining enrollments 2011/12 saw co-ops with Lake Holcombe in Cross Country, Baseball, Wrestling and Track and soon Softball & Football were co-op. A new Golf co-op began in 2016.
E.E. Waters began a school orchestra in 1924, and a band mother’s group was started by his wife in 1931 to help the group out. The school has also been involved in forensics and drama at different periods of time in its history.
In the educational process, the school has kept up with state requirements at all levels. At the high school level, the school has gone through a number of changes. The move to a 4 period day in 1996 was one that was considered major in those years; but returned to an 8 period day in 2014. The school is now involved in distance learning, alternate education, and correspondence courses and youth options to help students learn at a high level.
The elementary school has received the School of Recognition award for the school years of 2002/03, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 & 2013/14. There were no awards given in 2014/15 due to a new state test, but scores were very high. The Elementary also received the National Blue Ribbon award in 2010 of which only eight school in the state are nominated each year.
The High School has received the School of Recognition award for the school years of 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11, and 2011/12.
Technology came to Cornell in a big way in 1997 with a $123,000 technology grant. By 2002, the school was involved in fiber optics and, 2002 the two buildings connected through technology. In 2009 classrooms were updated with smart boards. Wireless technology was added in 2012 and chromebooks were purchased for middle school students in 2013. Teacher Erica Deitelhoff obtained over $125,000 in grants for additional SMART boards, chromebooks and other technology.
A trophy case was built through donations from various people, groups and organizations in the community in 1998 to display all the items won in the history of the school. A new gym floor was added in 2012.
2001 brought on a $3.5 million referendum to upgrade the site and the high school building. This was finished by the year 2003.
In 1939 the school district of Cornell had 670 students. As of 2015/16 we have a total of 409 students. Many fine people have graduated from the Cornell School System and have gone on to prove themselves in all walks of life.