The Schoolgirl

Week 36: #52 Ancestors – School Days

By Eilene Lyon

There are very few school pictures handed down by my ancestors. I’ve shared some from my great-grandmother, Clara Ransom Davis, in The Schoolma’am. My grandmother, Reatha Gusso is an exception. She did save some class pictures, and even photos of her teachers.

Reatha’s photo albums are a mashup, but she did write information on or below many of the pictures. Nothing is in chronological order, but I’ve sorted them somewhat here. Unfortunately, I do not have any good scans of these.



Third grade class at Florence South Dakota 1925. Reatha is 3rd from the left in the front row. She apparently liked being front and center.
Reatha’s 8th grade class in Florence 1930. Reatha is second from right, in front.
Freshman class at Florence High School 1931. Reatha, again, is front and center.
Florence High School basketball squad 1931 -32. I believe third from right in the back row is my dad’s uncle, Al Halse. The teacher on the left is labeled as Mr. Mondloch. On the right is Supt. Minerman. I’ve not been able to confirm their identities.
Alice E. M. (Paulson) Shipley taught Reatha in 6th through 8th grades. She was a widow with a young daughter in 1930. She remarried in 1937 to Paul M. Shane.
Margaret O’Connor, Alice Shipley, Esther Struss, and Jeraldine Barta
Frank Habelberg. (This is how his name is spelled in the 1930 census. Reatha spells his name two ways: Hagerman and Habeger. I have not been able to further identify him.)
Mr. Minerman, Ms. Lamont, Mr. Mondloch. I have not been able to identify them further.
Miss Roderick and Miss Lamont. I have not been able to identify them further.
This teacher I have not identified. Her first name is Frances and it appears her last name begins Kos…

If anyone knows who any of these teachers are, please contact me.

Florence grade school
Florence High School

Reatha did not graduate with her class. She got married at 16 on December 31, 1932, the middle of her sophomore year. She did save this one certificate in her album.


Feature image: The Florence freshman class in 1931 had an initiation ceremony that apparently involved an event downtown. Reatha, again, is front and center, holding the big white package.

18 thoughts on “The Schoolgirl

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  1. School photos REALLY give us a glimpse into our past. Unlike today when children dress to project a social image via Facebook etc! In 100 years our descendants will wonder what the heck we were doing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love these school photos, it seems like everyone just gathered. Those like Reatha, who does not appear to be shy, got to be out front and probably stood next to their best friend. Although, I did notice all the boys seemed to be in the back, perhaps that was planned. Now the photographer lines everyone up so the tall are in the back and perfectly spaced. No one gets to hide!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoy seeing old photos like these. I don’t need to know exactly who they are but when you do it’s double the fun. Reatha did eventually graduate from high school? I remember two girls in my high school who got married at age 16, but they stayed in school.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. These photos are absolutely fabulous. I hope you get some readers who knows something about some of the people in the pictures. I found it sad though that she had to leave school in her sophomore year.

    Liked by 1 person

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