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CONGERVILLE - One hundred years ago, children came from Sodom and Hickory Point to join the new Congerville Consolidated School District 115.

The dedication article in the 1908 Woodford County School Bulletin said: "Three teachers were employed by the Board of Directors with an unusual amount of care. Mr. Joe Whetsel is principal and has charge of the advanced pupils. The intermediate grades are in charge of Mr. Andrew Moore and the first three grades are taught by Miss Maye Corbin."

It continued: "The new schoolhouse was built for $10,000, including furnace, furniture, grounds, and equipment. The building was ready for occupancy on Nov. 16, 1908. The building consisted of four recitation rooms, one office and library room, one laboratory room, one boys' play room, one girls' play room, furnace room, sanitaries and cloak rooms.

"It also contains a large attic which can easily be fitted for a gymnasium or an auditorium. … A barn with room for eight horses and two wagons has recently been erected on the school ground."

The board included A.J. Builta, C.A. Daniel and David Schrock.

To commemorate the event, Congerville Elementary hosted a re-dedication ceremony Friday. Principal Randy Berardi and Superintendent Randy Crump spoke, and there was music and singing by former students.

The Congerville Community Club, Parent-Teacher Organization and Woodford County Historical Society helped.

Historical photos show the horse-drawn wagons that transported children who lived more than two miles from school. The wagons were replaced in 1926 with Model T Ford trucks with special bodies. Several years after the 1908 consolidation, a two-year high school was established. It later was advanced to a three-year high school.

A gymnasium was added as a Works Progress Administration project during the 1930s and a kindergarten room was provided for 5-year-olds.

In the 1940s, Congerville School and Goodfield School were combined with Eureka schools to form District 140. Congerville School has 89 pupils today, and has taught upward of 10,000 total, Berardi said.

"When I was doing my research on the history of the school, I crawled around in some of the nooks and crannies," Berardi said. "I went up in the attic because up in the attic they used to play basketball up there. I crawled up there in the attic and I couldn't get down.

"It was a Saturday. Audrey came over to check on me and the ladder was too far down. I couldn't get to it. She went over and got a couple construction guys who came over and helped me out."

Berardi's office and that of his secretary have been moved to the first floor, a move forced by the "100-year flood" this spring. Both offices were cloak rooms at one time, and Berardi's office was the original kitchen of the old school.


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