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by Helen D. Gunderson
Class of 1963 and RHS alumni web site editor

The history of the Rolfe schools dates back to 1860 when Rolfe (at its former location three miles northeast of town) hired the first teacher in the county with classes held at the log house of William M. Hait.

The Independent School District of Rolfe was established at the current town location in 1884. Students met in a two-story building made of lumber from the court house at Old Rolfe - the original site of the Pocahontas County seat.

The first brick school was built in Rolfe in the 1890's. It was later destroyed, and for a period of time, classes convened in churches. Then a "general construction contract" was awarded in 1916, and in 1918, the rectangular brick section of the present building was erected. The current gymnasium and a block of classrooms were added in the 1950's followed by a new shop and locker rooms in the 1970's.

Of course, buildings are only the physical framework for a school, and the heart of an educational system lies in the experiences of the students and their relationships with friends, siblings, other students - teachers, administrators, other staff members - parents, board members, and the public.

In 1990, the school held its last senior commencement services, and Rolfe became part of the Pocahontas Area Community School District. The town was then the home for the PAC Middle School and some elementary school classes. However, by 2004, there would be no more classes at Rolfe. The elementary students had already been bused to Pocahontas, and damage to the 1907 section of the brick school building forced the middle school to relocate to Pocahontas as well.

The PAC superintendent is shared with the Laurens-Marathon school district, and there are projections that it will not be many years before Pocahontas County has only one school district. The trend is a common one in rural Iowa.

latest revision February 1, 2005

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