BHSU News & Events

Lab School Reunion planned at BHSU on July 1 in conjunction with Spearfish All-School Reunion

A gathering for all former teachers, friends, and attendees of the Lab School, which was located on the Black Hills State University campus from 1895 until 1963, will be held July 1 from 2-4 p.m. in the E.Y. Berry Library Learning Center on the BHSU campus. This 1959 photo shows teacher Doris Leberknight conducting a math lesson with students at the Lab School.

Former teachers, friends, and attendees of the Lab School, which was located on the Black Hills State University campus from 1895 until 1963, are invited to a reunion July1 from 2-4 p.m. in the E.Y. Berry Library Learning Center at BHSU.

The Lab school reunion is being held in conjunction with the Spearfish All School reunion that weekend. Attending the Lab School conjures up fond memories including being instructed by college students, performing the annual Christmas programs on the Woodburn Stage, having kite flying contests, planting spring gardens, and competing against public school students in athletic events.

Reunion organizers, Charles Schad, Norm Edwards, Julie Weidensee Pechota, and Sue Fulleton, note that the reunion is open to all former classmates, teachers, friends, student, and anyone else who is interested. People interested in attending are encouraged to register online at www.spearfishschools.org/labschool.

The Lab School offered kindergarten through eighth grade education for community children while providing practice teaching opportunities for college students pursuing their teaching certificates and degrees from BHSU. The actual Lab School building, which was located where the E. Y. Berry Library Learning Center is now, was in use from 1907 until the mid-60s.

Through the decades, college presidents took great pride in providing this educational opportunity for the community and were closely involved in the school often making presentations to the students and participating in classroom activities. The children and staff of the Lab school were included in a wide range of campus activities including Swarm Day events as well as attendance at fine arts events and athletic competitions. In 1958 the Lab School children were prominent in a dance and music pageant that marked the University’s 75th anniversary.

The first lab school classes were held in Normal Hall beginning in 1895. As enrollment grew, more rooms were made available in Wenona Cook Hall. According to Schad, the school primarily served children of faculty and staff who worked on campus as well as children from the western part of the county.

According to a history of the Lab School prepared by Paul Higbee, in 1903 there were 100 children enrolled and in 1905 that number had increased to 179 students. To accommodate the demand, a new building on campus, which was then known as the Science Hall, became the Lab School. This building remained in use until the mid-60s with only a brief interruption due to a fire on campus in the mid 20s.

For more information about the reunion please contact Edwards at 642-3555 or Schad at 722-2830.

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