Soon after the turn of the century, upon seeing the need for better education facilities for their children, the citizens of Crook District began discussing the possibility of erecting a District High School. In May 1923 the Crook District Board of Education purchased and obtained a deed to the real estate where Van High School is now located. The land acquired consisted of three acres and cost $5,000.
Crook District High School was completed in time for the opening school term in September of 1926. The building was of brick construction and consisted of five classrooms. Since there were no secondary pupils to start with, the grades taught the first year were the seventh, eighth and ninth, with a new grade being added each year until the full six-year high school was in operation. Four additional classrooms and two basement rooms were added to the first unit in the summer of 1930. This completed the construction until the wood annex was added in 1947 to serve as kitchen, cafeteria, and all-purpose room. A boy’s shower, dressing and athletic equipment section was added in 1948.
The first faculty consisted of John Tanner, principal; Melvin Roberts, Georgia Moore, and Charles Wharton, teachers.
The first graduating class, in 1930, consisted of six people.
For several years a school newspaper, “The Vanguard”, was published giving news of school activities and community news. In 1938 an Editorial Staff put together the first copy of the “Vancourier”. This proved to be financially impractical to continue and was not resumed until 1949.
The first Band was organized October 15, 1939. Uniforms were bought by parents and patrons of the school. The first concert was in the Van Skating Rink under the direction of Dewey Canfield.
The school began its inter-scholastic athletic activities in 1928 when the first football team was formed. Since the school did not employ a coach, Albert Evans, husband of the Latin and English teacher, consented to coach the boys after school. Mr. Evans was employed as engineer for Koppers Coal Company at Wharton and came to the football field at Sandfield after work. The team he coached had only one boy, Ted Samples, who had as much as seen a game of football, to say nothing of having played before. Page Dickens was quarterback on this team.
With the construction of a gymnasium in the summer of 1950, as well as the development of a nearby athletic field, facilities became adequate for a full program of group activities.
The athletic field was named for a local boy, Herschel Jarrell, who lost his life while serving in World War II. He was a graduate of Van High School and West Point Military Academy.
The name Crook District High School was changed to Van High School in the mid 30′s.
Throughout the years, Van High has seen many new programs and activities. In the school year of 1940-41, the National Honor Society was formed to recognize outstanding students.
In August 1979, the present building, a few hundred feet west of the original site, was completed.
Enrollment has increased substantially in sixty-two years with the class of 1988 numbering seventy.
Courtesy of Sherman High School