Over the decades, the Shawano County Historical Society put together information on the history of schools in Shawano County. However, there hasn’t been a comprehensive text outlining the history of the county’s school system. As we considered a project we came across a book by Jane Glenz, a history teacher at Shawano High School, published in 1994 titled, “TEACHING THEM TO FISH – A History Of The Shawano/Gresham School System.” This project was completed with the help of her students and the approval of the school superintendent, Fred Davel. In our research, we found the only copy of this document in the archives at Shawano High School. Of all the documents we’ve reviewed, this document is the most comprehensive we’ve found that outlines our county’s school system development. With the permission of Jane Glenz, we are publishing this on the Shawano County Historical Society’s website. Within these pages we will be augmenting Jane Glenz’s content with additional photos and information in the possession of the society.
by Jane Glenz
“Give them a fish and they eat for a day,
Teach them to fish and they eat for a lifetime.”
This saying has always been one of my favorites just ask any of my former students. The following pages contain a great deal of information on the history of education in the Shawano area or, staying with the above, the attempt of educators in our area to teach children to fish.
I became interested in this project when Mr. Fred Davel, current Superintendent of Schools in Shawano, mentioned to me that no one had ever put together a composite of the history of the district. Because I’ve always been interested in writing, but have been frustrated because of a lack of a subject matter, I saw this as my chance. I had no idea how big this project would become. It has taken four summers to do, one for research, two to write, one to rewrite, and I know there is much more that could be done.
Most of the information came from newspapers, yearbooks, district files or personal interviews. I’ve tried to provide statistics showing the growth of the district plus a feeling of how schools, school life, and teaching has changed. I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible, but I’m sure errors exist.
I’d like to thank all who helped, including Mr. Davel, Sonja Maas, and those who consented to be interviewed. A special thanks goes to two students. Jennifer Wilson and Denise Kleman, who did most of the “digging.” They gave up many hours of outside summer activities to spend in dusty library files or the Guidance Office going through old newspapers and yearbooks.
I hope you find the following pages informative and enjoyable reading. The one thing that touched me the most is the number of dedicated educators we’ve had in our district. Many have devoted their entire career, 20-40 years, to educate the youngsters of Shawano. With that in mind, I would like to dedicate the book to them. It’s certainly, if anything, a long history. This is a very old district with many ups an downs. I hope you enjoy reading about it.