Our History. . .
The following was taken by permission from an article written by Aaron Thiessen, 2005 Senior of Frederic Remington High School. The research was completed by the 2005 Senior British Literature class taught by Susan Hanzlicek. Class members included: Jared Hujing, Erin Jackson, Scott Johnson, Elizabeth McKinney, Emerald Miller, Dustin Moffitt, Elysa Patterson, Gretchen Regier, Karen Slater, Sammy Smith, Alana Tilson, Ashley Toews, Zack Vogel, and Tyler Whiteside.
In the late 1950's there were numerous small school systems functioning in the area surrounding the towns of Whitewater and Potwin, Kansas. Many smaller schools were struggling with reduced numbers of students and were on the verge of closing or consolidating with other schools to survive. At that time, there was legislation in the state government that, if passed, would close these smaller schools and encourage consolidation with medium sized schools. Charles Joseph, a state senator from Potwin, thought this bill would be passed, and obtained permission for the schools, in this area, to consolidate before the bill actually became law. The schools voluntarily joined together to allow them the choice of which schools would become part of the consolidation. With legal issues settled, the proposal to join the Brainerd, Countryside, Elbing, Furley, Golden Gate, Potwin, and Whitewater schools was presented to the electorate and passed with little opposition. This formed a joint rural high school in 1961.
A board of education was formed and the first members were: Charles Joseph, director from Potwin; Ted Zimmerman, clerk from Whitewater; William Regier, treasurer from Elbing; Ted Klaassen, Countryside representative; Jim Augustine, Golden Gate representative; and Dewey Sanders and Nick Toews, two at-large members who did not have the privilege of voting.
The ultimate goal of the new school was to become a unified rural high school district. To attain the status of unified school district, the school system needed to function from a single school building instead of the two separate buildings, one in Whitewater and one in Potwin, from which it was then operating. A bond issue was discussed with one of the major issues being the location of the school building.
Ted Zimmerman pushed for the school to be located in Whitewater because there were available sewer facilities in town. He also pointed out that by placing the school in Whitewater, a large number of students would be able to walk to school. People from Potwin opposed that idea because they wanted the school built in their town. However, they were at a disadvantage because Whitewater had a better water system, which could easily be modified to include a new school building. Many people living in the surrounding rural areas were against positioning the school in either of the towns. There were many heated discussions, but eventually a compromise was reached. A vote was taken to determine if the school should be built halfway between Whitewater and Potwin. The location passed with 745 "yes" votes to 155 "no" votes. A problem with this site was the lack of electricity, water and sewage facilities. All new lines had to be run to the school. The Board chose to construct an up-to-date, modern school building, spending $900,000 on its construction. This building has sufficiently met the needs of students who have attended, only being remodeled slightly in the 1980's with the addition of a special education room and computer room, and in the 1990's when air conditioning was installed and the home economics room was updated.
Once the location was approved, a name had to be chosen for the school. A contest was held with the goal of finding a name that was unique. The selection committee looked for a name with historical value which would form a strong foundation and pave the way into the future. A famous name to add to the prestige of the school was desired. The name of Frederic Remington was submitted by Christine King, daughter of Elwood King, and won the award.
Frederic Sackrider Remington was born on October 1, 1861 in Canton, New York. He enjoyed the outdoors and began sketching scenes of horses in his youth. In 1878, he attended Yale College School of the Fine Arts, where his first published art appeared in the campus paper. Remington took his first trip to the West in 1881 and decided to move west. In 1883, Remington bought a sheep farm in Peabody, Kansas. His farm was unfruitful so he again traveled the West before heading back to New York. By 1885, Remington had decided to be an artist and portray the quickly fading life of the Old West, which included, in their daily course of life, cowboys, Native Americans, horses, and soldiers. Remington gained recognition for his illustrations that were published in Harper's Weekly and Collier's . He also painted and sculpted. Remington died at the young age of 48 due to complications following an appendectomy, but he was prolific, nonetheless. He produced more than 3,000 paintings, 22 bronze sculptures, two novels, and over 100 magazine articles.
The board voted in favor of adopting the name Frederic Remington Rural High School. One of the reasons they accepted this name was because there were many artifacts and works of art by Remington that could be presented to the school as symbols to define the school. A copy of Remington's bronze sculpture "The Bronco Buster" was obtained and placed in the courtyard of the new school, where it remains today, a reminder of the rich heritage of the school.