With just 12 members - 11 girls and one boy - the Aurelia High School Class of 2011 is among the smallest graduating classes in school history. Not the very smallest (the initial graduating class of 1891, for example, had just two members), but it is certainly smaller than the classes during AHS' heyday.
At its peak, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Aurelia High School had roughly 275 students in its four grades - 65-75 per class. Now, after decades of smaller families as well as fewer families engaged in farming, the "numbers" (and the state funding which is directly tied to enrollment) have resulted in the decision for the Aurelia School District to cease functioning as an independent school district. Starting this fall, students in the Aurelia School District will begin sharing classes with students from the Alta district.
The sharing does not mean the end of school in Aurelia, of course, as both towns will still have their own elementary school buildings, and Middle School students from both towns will have classes in Aurelia, located in the building which has served as Aurelia High School since 1962.
The last high school classes in Aurelia will be held this May, though, and all high school students will begin attending classes in Alta in the fall.
Over the coming weeks, I plan to salute my alma mater by remembering some of the people, places and events in the 120-year history of Aurelia High School, as well as noting a few of the many distinguished alumni who received their early education in this "small, but mighty" school before achieving considerable success in their chosen fields.
In concluding this introduction to the series of articles, let me state up front that I am well aware that the residents of area communities like Larrabee, Meriden, Cleghorn, Washta, Quimby, Galva, Primghar, Sutherland and Calumet have also experienced the loss of a high school in their communities in recent years, and I beg your indulgence, please, as I take my walk down "memory lane." I'm sure most of you went through a similar experience.