Schools Will Open In District 400 On September 11th, 1944

Nisqually Valley News  August 31, 1944

The schools in District No. 400 in Yelm, McKenna and Lackamas, will open for the fall term on Monday September 11.  Pupils will not need to bring lunches on the first day, pupils will need to plan lunches until notified of the date for opening the lunch room.

The bus schedule will be approximately the same as last year.  Pupils who live on the parts of bus routes furthest from schools should be ready for the bus by 8 a.m. All the busses will make the first pick ups at about eight.

Superintendent O. L. Montgomery announces the following members of the faculties of the various schools: Lackamas: Fannie B. King, grades 1 to 7 inclusive.

McKenna: Wm. Olson, principal; Alta Montgomery, grades 1 and 2; Ruby Lynne, grades 2 and 3.

Yelm grade school: Wm. Thun, principal; Cassie Pierce, grade 1; Marie Haug, grades 1 and 2; Frances Lyche, grade 2; Ada Harth, grade 3; Helen Carlson, grade 4; Carrio Lee Riley grade 5: Buna Belle Cavett, remedial; Velma Owen, Zelma Anderson, Linda Johnson, Frances Norton Frances Holkestad, and Paul Brincken, all upper grades.

S. W. Dunn, music, all grades, all schools.

High School: Frank Bower, Principal, science; Louise Lee, home economics; Mary Jane Fielde; English language, P. E.; Nellie McNeill, English, library; Mary Lou O’Bryon, general mathematics and commercial; E. A. Prescott, social science, general science: Clarence Jean, vocational agriculture, farm shop and boys P. E.

The vacation schedule is as follows: Thanksgiving vacation, two days set by Governor’s Proclamation.  December 21st ends at 9 a.m., January 2nd.

Washington’s Birthday, February 22, Memorial Day, May 30.

Last day of school, June 1st.

Schools to Open Monday; All Teachers Now Ready, 1943

Nisqually Valley News   September 9, 1943 

 The McKenna Lackamas and Yelm schools will open for the new school year on Monday morning, September 12th at 9 am. All bus runs will be the same as at the close of school last year. Both times and routes.

Pupils do not need a lunch on the first day. The buses will make the return trip starting at 11am. The second day will be a full day at the school, closing at 3:30.

The full staff for school district No. 400 is as follows.

Lackamas School: Mrs. Fannie B. King.

McKenna School: J.M. Johnson. Kathryn Rosenbaum. Ruby Lynn and the custodian will bee C.N. Ockfen.

Yelm Grade School: Patricia Coffee, Opal Hibbard, Ada Hart, Franc Norton, Vivian Uhlman, Virginia Clark, Evelyn Clumpner, Buna Belle Cavett, Laura Midsater, Laura L. Hahn, Paul Brincken, W. H. Thun, and Harry Southworth. John Pfeiffer custodian and Frank E. Carrier fireman.

Yelm High School: Grace Howard, Eva P. Curry, Ethel Jane Cahoon, Nellie F. McNeil, Mary Lou O’Bryon, Clarence Jean, and Frank Bower. The custodian will be Frank Noble.

Bus drivers will be Wm. Merz Jr, Sam Stewart, Jay V. Foster, Henry Moyer, Romola Follman and Lafayatte Parker.

Mrs. Jean Grinde will again be the librarian. The school directors are Dan Cook, chairman. Wm Merz Sr, clerk. Truman Wilcox, Jack Peugh, and George L. DeWitt, O.L. Montgomery is the superintendent.

Arrangements have been made for the services of a Public Health Nurse for at least one day a week.

The school lunch room will be open on Monday, October 4th. s

Greetings to our Staff!, undated

Here we are again with another year ahead

Of busy happy learning in district Four Hundred.

We’d like to have you meet the faculty of the school,

Who’ll help our children grow in democratic rule.

First we’ll introduce the leader of the gang,

‘Tis supt. Marvin Stevens, to start off with a bang.

Frank Bowers, as you know, is principal of the High,

And Harry Southworth directs the little younger guy.

William Thun, we won’t forget, from across Nisqually River,

In McKenna School reigns as chief lawgiver.

In the department of Music, Anton Hillisland,

Teaching our kids harmony in chorus and in band.

In the realm of King’s English, here’s Mrs. Marie Stout,

Rose Carbone teaches Spanish, Dramatics, and in English helps out.

Do you hear the noise from the typists clickety clacks?

The know-how is taught by Eugenia Fairbanks.

Edgar Prescott presides over History and Social Science,

With sweet Alice, from grade seven, has marital alliance.

Training our boys is Robert Walen, out in the shops,

To wife Joan in Home Ec., you bet he is tops.

Coach Spencer teaches Science as well as P.E.

Howard Newfield for the Veterans, leader is he.

“Ma” Jean Grinde, loved of teenagers, is library clerk,

And Robert Marshall at librarian and visual aids work.

Richard Rupert and Ruby Donaldson come from grade eight,

Lillian Nichols in the seventh, our program keeps straight.

Here come the sisters, from sixth grade so cheery,

Let me introduce the Misses Jane and Margaret O’Leary.

William Skillings, of the Grade School, Vice Principal,

Teaches the fifth with newcomer, Howard Bradwell,

Mrs. Grace Groutage has grades four and three,

Sir Marvin Capps takes in the fourth only.

Elsie Wheeler is three, Esther Raab three and two,

Ethel Weeks the second, our acquaintance will renew.

Thea Spencer and Cassie Pierce importantly click

With beginners in reading, writing arithmetic.

From McKenna comes Eva Miller and Ruby Lynne,

And Collins enjoys Laura Lasley and Gracie Fee.

Take a bow, Teachers, and Friends give a hand,

As fine a group as can be anywhere in our land


                                       Mary M. Engebretsen

Report On Yelm Union High School, 1941

Department of Auditor of State

 Division of Municipal Corporations

 Report On Yelm Union High School

No. 204, Thurston County, Washington

Seventh Examination

Period Covered:

July 1, 1939 to

June 30, 1941

Transfer from General Fund to Building Fund:

On December 12, 1940 the board of directors met with the County Superintendent of Schools and the County Reviewing Committees and recommended the allowance of an emergency expenditure in the sum of $2,000.00 for the purchase of building materials and equipment for a new machine and farm building, to be paid from current income. This was approved be the Superintendent of Public Instruction per H.C. Allen with the following notation:

“$2,000.00 to be transferred from General Fund to Building. Thereafter, payments of items approved herein to be made from Building Fund. Directors at time of the next budget to assess two mills to Building Fund, the proceeds from which are to be used to repay the General Fund.”

In so far as we can assert in, no question was submitted to the electors regarding the building or for a special levy. We do not see how a Union High School district whose levy is 4 mills, can set assess two mills for building fund purposes. Under the provisions of Chapter 183, Laws of 1937, the directors can set aside one fifth of the district’s taxable income for the establishment of a building fund, which in this case would amount to about $781.00 based upon the present assessed valuation of the district.

In an opinion as recent as May 20, 1941, the Attorney General has held that money in the general fund cannot be used for the erection of buildings and those expenditures for such a purpose from the building fund must first have the approval of the electors. We submit this to the Attorney General for his consideration.


Bond Redemption Fund:


The amount of outstanding bonds was reduced from $4,600.00 to $2,900.00 during the two year period. On July 1, 1939, the net bonded indebtedness was $3,692.15, while on June 30, 1941 it was only $1,540.55 or a net gain of $2,151.60.

Cost per Capita:

The cost per capita average daily attendance, excluding interest and outlays was $137.06 for the school year 1940-41, as compared with $112.62 for the previous year with $105.97 for the year ending June 30, 1939.


Claims and Warrants:

Claims were examined and found to be regular in form except that in some cases they were not sufficiently itemized. Claims for salaries and wages, if for less than a month, should show the number of days, with dates and rate of pay. Except as noted, warrants appear to have been issued for legal school expenditure.

Teaching Staff Completed For Yelm School District, 1943

Nisqually Valley News  Thursday August 19, 1943           

The fall term of school will open on Monday, September 13th according to Superintendent O.L. Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery reports that it has been estimated on good authority that the United States will have more than 100,000 teacher vacancies unfilled when school opens this fall.

In order to employ a full staff in District N. 400 it has been necessary to hire teachers from other states. This year teachers have been contracted for from Dakota, Montana, Illinois, Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, and Washington.

The teachers will be, according to Mr. Montgomery:

Principals: J. M Johnson, Frank A. Bower, and Harry Southworth.

Primary teachers: Fannie B. King (grades 1-6 inclusive); Alice Boyd, Illinois; Patricia Coffey, Idaho; Opal Hibbard, Missouri; Ada Harth, Frances Norton; Buna Belle Carvett, of Grandview, Washington.

Intermediate teachers: Evelyn C. Clumpner, Lewis County; Vivian Uhlman, Arizona; Kathryn Rosenbaum, Montana.

Upper grades: Laura Hahn, W.H. Thun; Paul Brincken, Ruby Lynne, Dakota; and Laura Midteater, of Tacoma.

High school teachers: Grace Howard; Eva P. Curry; Ethel Jane Cahoon; Nettie F. McNeil; Mary Lou O’Bryon; Clarence Jean; and Frank Bower.

By delaying the opening to Sept. 13 to help the bean growers, it is hoped that everyone will be ready to start school on the first day.

Plans Being Made for New School, 1941

Nisqually Valley News  Thursday, June 26, 1941

 Tuesday evening following the big fire which completely destroyed the Yelm High School member of the board of directors of School District. No. 204 met with School Superintendent O. L. Montgomery and County Superintendent Marvin Stevens to discuss plans for a new school building. With present costs of material and labor, it’s estimated that a now building with sufficient capacity to care for the present school population plus any increase would cost between $65,000 and $90,000. It will be almost impossible for the people of the Yelm School District to arrange for any expenditure as large as this so an effort will be made to receive state and federal help with the possibility of beign able to complete the most of this project this year.

Superintendent O. L. Montgomery made a trip to the new Clover Park School to see the type of structure and equipment that is being used and will go to Toledo within a few days to look over the new school plant there. Those two schools are reported to be among the best and most modern of the new high schools in the nearby territory.

Mr. Montgomery and County Superintendent Marvin Stevens made a trip to call on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mrs. Pearl Wanamaker, in Olympia Wednesday and made application for help on the new building. This request will have to be acted upon by the State Board of Education and later by Governor Arthur B. Langlie, but every effort will be made to rush things along as fast as possible in order to have school in the new school by early autumn.

Notices for an election to be held on Saturday, July 12th, were authorized by the school board to vote on the question of building a new building and also for the authorization for the levy of 15 mills to provide finances to build with. This levy, together with insurance money and stat and federal aid will provide money for the new building.

It is also possible that an Olympian architect will be chosen to plan the new building so that he will be close to the state and federal authorities in making plans for the building.

In holding the election for this vitally necessary project, it must be carried by a majority of 60%  and must have 10% of the voters who voted for governor in the last general election. This means that 40% must vote and 60% of those voting must vote favorably.

The local  post of the American Legion Joseph Redberg Post through the new commander Dan Carew is so interested in getting plans carried out and a successful election that both posters and handbills will be made and handed out so as to have a large and favorable vote for this project on July 12th.

Yelm High School Destroyed, 1941

Loss Estimated At Around $30,000

Nisqually Valley News  Thursday, June 26, 1941

 Fire started in the Yelm High School early Tuesday morning and was discovered about 7:15 by men nearby. Although the actual alarm was not turned in until this time, the crackling of the fire was heard for some ten minutes previously before anyone was able to identify the sound. Bob Fristoe called the phone office and the siren blew immediately and Fire Chief Ed Brown, assisted by Neal Curry, Louis Alongi and other volunteer firemen had the hoses going in the projection room where the fire probably started within a very few minutes. Credit for holding the fire in check must be given to Fired Chief Brown and his helpers.

The major part of the fire was just above the projection room and over the auditorium where nothing could have stopped the fire according to the school authorities and others familiar with the architecture of the school.

 Fearing that the fire might spread if the wind came up or when the building reached it’s largest volume, a call was made to Olympia there call there being received about 7:47 with the Olympia Fire Department responding immediately, the Olympia fire fighters were on the job in 23 minutes from the time the call was made.

Superintendent O. L. Montgomery was in Seattle where he is taking a summer course at the University and could not be reached immediately but returned as soon as he could.

William Mers, school board member and E. H. Booney, also of the school board were present soon after the fire was reported. John Peugh and other members that could were present to assist in any way they could. L. Sholseth and Charles Donaldson of the janitor force were on the job to help.

Some of the equipment, including typewriters and electric ranges were saved, as well as some books, but the bulk of the equipment was a total loss.

The building was built in 1917 at a cost of some $25,000 to $30,000 and a great many improvements have been added since that time so that the value of the building, cost of replacing would be considerably higher than this and the building itself was insured for $14,000and the furnishings were insured for another $9,000.

The school plant is heated from a central heating plant so that no loss was incurred to the heating plant.

Other fire departments which were present to help out were the Roy fired department and the new pumper recently purchased by the Weyerhaueser Timber Company at Vail. The Vail equipment ran a line and had water in the hose immediately after they arrived, but the Roy department was held in reserve in order to provide for safety.

William Mers, speaking for the school board expressed his appreciation and sincere thanks to the member of the Yelm Fire Department, the volunteers and the visiting fire department of Roy, Vail, and Olympia for the fine way in which the fire was handled and for the efforts made to save other school property which might easily have caught and destroyed more property. He particularly was grateful to the Yelm Fire Department for their prompt response and the efficient way the fire was controlled.

Among the things that were saved that can never be replaced were the pictures of the graduating classes of past years, together with the trophies and awards, which will mean a great deal to those who attended school in this beautiful old structure.

The building was not modern, nor was it constructed for as many students as now use it, but the grounds and surrounding shrubbery gave it a beautiful setting that will always be remembered by those who attended school there.

The View to the West (photo), 1940

Introduction:  This aerial photo from the 1940 annual was taken facing west.  Note the flat prairie surface and lack of trees.  The site of the school is now occupied by the Yelm Middle School.  Schools have been in this location over a century.

LITTLE TORNADO, circa 1948

Introduction:  This is the student handbook from Y.H.S.


When a pupil is not in school, he must bring a note from his parents, stating the reason for his absence. The only accepted reasons for absence are; illness, work at home, a dentist or doctor appointment.

Any Absence for other reasons is considered unexcused. Three such unexcused absences lower the student’s grades by one point. Three tardies to school count as one unexcused absence.


If a student becomes ill while at school, or has to leave for any reason whatsoever, he must check through the office. Failure to do so may mean a penalty.


The school is financed by the state, county, and local school district, on the basis of the number of pupils in attendance each day. Whenever a high school student is not present, 61.6 cents is subtracted from the amount given the school. Therefore better attendance can mean more and better equipment for the students’ use.


Students are urged to be prompt to classes to spare teachers and classmates unnecessary disturbance.

Students tardy to class report to the office for an admission slip. Teachers may require students who have unexcused tardiness to make up 15 minutes at noon or after school.

Three tardies become one unexcused absence. Three unexcused absences in one six-week period lower grades 1 letter grade.


Courtesy as defined by Webster: “polite behavior and thoughtfulness for others.” This rule is to be applied at all times.


Assemblies are held throughout the year for the enjoyment of the students and teachers. All students must attend these assemblies. Orderly attention is required at all times.


The Yelm High School Quill and Scroll Society, known as the Jean Bower Chapter, was organized by Mrs. Katherine Burgess in 1947. It originated with fifteen members and now has increased to thirty-one members, and five honorary members.

The qualifications for membership for students are as follows:

1. One must be of junior or senior standing when initiated.

2. One must be in the upper third of the class (scholarship).

3. One must have done superior work in writing, editing, art, or in business management.

4. One must be recommended by the advisor or by the committee governing publication.

5. One must have one year of journalism; write an article and take journalism the current year; or write an article and be a member of the newspaper of the annual staff.

The high school publication must be approved by the executive secretary of the International Quill and Scroll Society before a chapter may be formed.


The Torch Society of YHS is an Honor Society of the school, the symbol of which is the Torch.

The object of this organization is to establish good fellowship among the students interested in the pursuit of knowledge, to encourage scholarship by recognition of merit, and to promote school citizenship.

Points are earned to obtain membership in the Torch, —- points for grades, school offices, athletics, and dramatics. To be a member of Torch, a student must have earned 28 points during freshman year, 8 points by the end of his sophomore year, 90 points by the end of his junior year; in order to obtain permanent possession of the Torch, 1224 points by the end of his Senior year.

As character-development is a basic aim of this organization, good school citizenship is prerequisite for eligibility to membership.


The boys athletic organization of the school is the Lettermen’s Club. To become a lifetime member, a boy must earn a first team letter in any of his four high school years.


1927 This year the team competed against Puyallup, Olympia, Tenino, ST. Martins, and Auburn. Four of the basketball team and two of the football team are still residing in Yelm. i.e. Ray Pollman, Ed Harrison, Cherster Reichel, and Chuck Demich. Chester Reichel and Ed Harrison played both basketball and football.

1935 The construction of the new gym was completed. The newly-organized basketball team completed the season as one of the high teams in the league.

1936 Yelm entered the Pierce County League and the football team battled its way to the top, to tie with Roy for first place. The play-off game awarded the championship to Roy.

1937 The baseball team became the Pierce County League champions and were awarded the championship trophy.

1938 Again this year the football team zoomed to the top, to tie with Fife for first place.

1939 This was the football team’s undefeated season of eight games. Yelm scored twenty-two touchdowns to the opponents’ two. This feat brought the school and team state-wide recognition and a trophy.

1940 The baseball team won the Pierce County League championship trophy.

1941 The basketball team ranked second place in the tournament.


The following are the rules of the Washington High School Athletic Association which apply in all cases of inter-school competition. To be eligible to represent his school in inter-school competition the pupil shall meet these conditions:

1. He shall be under 20 at the beginning of the sport season in which he participates.

2. He must have attended a four year high school not more than six semesters after he has earned six academic credits, or a three year senior high school more than six semesters.

3. (a) He must have passed in at least 15 periods per week (3 full subjects) in the previous semester. Deficiencies may not be made up. (b) His grades in three full subjects shall be passing from the beginning of the semester in which the contest is held to the date of the contest.

4. He shall have been in regular attendance in some elementary, intermediate, or high school during the semester immediately preceding the semester in which the contest is held.

5. He shall have amateur standing.

6. He shall not represent any organization except a member of the State Association in that branch of athletics.

7. His parents or guardians shall be bonafide residents of the high school district in which he is attending high school; providing that after one year’s attendance in a high school, this rule shall not apply to his subsequent attendance at that high school; and provided that a pupil from a non-high district shall not be subject to this rule except when he transfers from one high school to another.

8. He shall have enrolled in school not later than October 1 the first semester and February 15 the second, and shall have been in regular attendance to the date of the contest.

9. He shall not have received awards of intrinsic value other than letters, medals, trophies, etc.

10. He must have had a physical examination for the current year.


1. No drinking or smoking.

2. No fattening food before games.

3. Nine hours of sleep.



Visitor Host

Yelm 0 Orting 25

Roy 0 Yelm 27

Yelm 0 Eatonville 33

Fife 13 Yelm 0

Kapowsin 13 Yelm 0

Yelm 8 Peninsula 13

Yelm 13 Federal Way 6


Visitor Host

Orting 35 Yelm 26

Yelm 35 Roy 50

Eatonville 39 Yelm 24

Yelm 24 Fife 26

Yelm 35 Kapowsin 31

Peninsula 31 Yelm 18

Federal Way 16 Yelm 41

Yelm 42 Orting 33

Roy 42 Yelm 33

Yelm ? Eatonville ?

Fife 33 Yelm 28

Kapowsin 22 Yelm 31

Yelm 23 Peninsula 27

Yelm 42 Federal Way 34


1. Take criticism with a smile. When you’re in the wrong, that’s the time your true character is revealed.

2. Be polite and courteous to your elders—–that includes your teachers. (Common courtesy provides that you listen quietly whenever someone else is speaking)

3. It’s the personality that counts. Make yours one hundred percent perfect.

4. “Speaking well of everyone is speaking”

5. Fingernails are much more attractive.

1940’s – Yelm Football Records

This information was organized by Dennis Larsen, Yelm High School Athletic Director

1942 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 6 …Kapowsin 33

0 …………………Fife 40

L …….Clover Park W

51 ……………Orting 7

0 ….. Federal Way 19

0 ………..Eatonville 6

6 ………………Roy 6

1943 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 6 …..Kapowsin 13

W ………………….Fife L

W ………Clover Park L

50 ……Federal Way 7

0 ………..Eatonville 21

26 ……………….Roy 6

W ……………..Orting L

1944 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 12 …..Orting 0

25 …….Kapowsin 0

0 ……………Fife 14

31 ………Vaughn 0

7 ……………..Roy 7

0 ….Federal Way 0

6 ……..Eatonville 0

26 ….Gig Harbor 0

1945 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 0 ………..Fife 19

55 ………..Vaughn 0

6 …………….Roy 12

7 …Federal Way 26

6 …….Kapowsin 12

18 ………Orting 0

7 ………Gig Harbor 13

12 ……….Eatonville 6

1946 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 6 …Orting 0

6 ……..Vaughn 13

7 …Federal Way 6

0 …….Eatonville 28

0 …..Kapowsin 6

6 …..Roy 0

19 …Gig Harbor 0

0 ……Fife 39

1947 Season – Pierce County League

Yelm 0 ….Orting 25

27 ……..Roy 0

0 ……..Eatonville 33

0 ……..Fife 13

0 ……..Kapowsin 13

6 ………Peninsula 13

13 …..Federal Way 6