In 2010, on my first trip to Lakeview, I made a visit to the school district office, the small gray building with a big sign that reads, “School District No. 7.” On the sign, there is no indication of the of the district name other than the number 7. It’s an anachronism (from the Greek “ana” and “khronos”) meaning against time – something that made more sense the past than in the current time.
The 7 in the school district title means that it was the seventh school district established in Lake County. A hundred years ago, when the Daly scholarship was first awarded, there were about 40 school districts in Lake County; today, as a result of closures and consolidations, there are only five: Adel, North Lake, Paisley, Plush, and Lake County School District No. 7. So, the school district more commonly known as the Lakeview School District is now number seven in a group of five.
A hundred years ago, when small schools were scattered throughout the county, the job of county school superintendent was quite important. From 1921 to 1928, the county superintendent was Pearl Hall, Bernard Daly’s dear friend and the love of his life (I promise to write more about Pearl in a future post). Pearl wrote a description of Lake County schools for the 1923 Biennial Report of the Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction that reflected well-deserved pride in Lake County schools. At a time when less than 20% of America’s youth graduated from high school, Pearl Hall reported that Lake County had four high schools: Lakeview, Union, Paisley, and the newly built Silver Lake High School. Pearl closed her entry on Lake County schools with news of the new Daly scholarship and its impact
“Since the Bernard Daly educational fund is available there is an incentive for eighth grade pupils to enter high school Practically 90 percent of the eighth-grade students of last year have entered school this year. Nineteen Lake County high school graduates entered Oregon state institutions this year on scholarships from this fund.”
Astonishing – at a time when most kids stopped formal education at the eighth grade, almost all of Lake County’s kids were going on to high school and many of them went on to college. Thanks to talented teachers, those kids were well prepared. Take a look at the yearbook photo of high school faculty from the early 1920s. You might recognize the name, Mrs. L. F. Conn, wife of the district attorney, Lafayette Conn, and mother of Ted Conn, the long-time Daly Fund secretary/treasurer.
I’ve been particularly fascinated by Orin K. Burrell, who went on to a distinguished career as a business professor at the University of Oregon. A prolific researcher and writer, he wrote a wonderful book on the history of banking in Oregon (“Gold in the woodpile: An informal history of banking in Oregon”) that includes a description of how Bernard Daly became a banker and established the Bank of Lakeview. While on the faculty at the University of Oregon, O.K. Burrell served as the faculty advisor for the “Daly students” and he was the whistle blower who called attention to the issues associated with the selection of scholarship recipients in 1936.
More than a decade has passed since my first visit to Lakeview. Since then, I’ve met with four “No. 7” superintendents (Sean Gallagher, Will Cahill, Michael Carter, and Howard Ottman) as well as a great many teachers, and students. I’m deeply impressed with Lake County’s strong commitment to education; it’s a legacy that will pay great dividends for years to come.