Click on school name to see the high school graduating classes for each of the schools.  Not all classes have been added, but more will be added as time allows. At the bottom of the page is information about school & class reunions.

 For lists of graduates for each high school and other school news,CLICK on the name of each school

    In the early days, settlers in the Bitter Root valley were not allowed to establish educational facilities for their children, so many home schools were established.
    The first schools were primitive compared with the schools of today.  The first were "parlor" schools where a mother, who was better educated than most, educated her own children and neighbor children. The education was limited to the fundamental three R's and school was in session only during the winter months when the farm chores were light. Even though many of the early settlers could not read or write, they were convinced that education was important and necessary for their children. St. Mary's Mission school was started in 1841 by Father DeSmett. At St. Mary's school, the Jesuits taught the Indians Christianity and agriculture. It isn't known whether they taught reading and writing.
    In 1864, when the first Montana Territorial Assembly met at Bannack, the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, County Superintendent of Schools, and District Clerk were created. The Assembly also provided for the organization of counties into school districts and the election of school trustees. The first territorial superintendent was Thomas J. Dimsdale.   
    In 1867, the first public school in Missoula County opened at Corvallis and Corvallis offically became School District #1. This school first school was kept by a man named Woods. The first schoolhouse in Corvallis was located near the Slack farm, about 3/4 mile north of the present day Corvallis. It was a 1-room school building made of logs. William Slack, who was only 3 years old, attended the school to make the required 12 students needed for a school. The teacher was Bent Reeder.
    Montana became a state under the Enabling Act of 1889, which required new states to provide for the establishment and maintenance of public schools. As an incentive, the federal government set aside two sections of land per township in new states for elementary education. 
    Schools were allowed to levy a limited amount of money each year to operate and maintain the schools and could not bond themselves beyond the current year. When a new school house was needed, the money had to be raised locally by subscription. Many schools were built on land donated by local farmers and ranchers.   
    School district numbers were assigned when Ravalli County was part of Missoula County, then the numbers were changed when Ravalli County was created in 1893. Through Ravalli County's history, there have been about 40 school districts, but have been consolidated into the present seven.
    In 1906, there was an election to establish a county high school in Hamilton. For more on this story, go to  HAMILTON SCHOOLS.

Eighth Grade Examinations
   Not a little misunderstanding has arisin in connection with the exact provisions of the resolution of the state board of education relative to teachers and eighth grade examinations. Therefore, The Western News reproduces it verbatim, as follows:
    "Resolved, That the several county boards of education examiners be authorized to hold eighth grade examinations in their respective counties as provided in house bill 118, Tenth legislative assembly for the purpose of granting eighth grade pupils who show themselves proficient cetificates to enter accredited high schools, such examinations to be optional with local authorities until January 1908. Afther said date all pupils desiring to enter accredited high schools regularly from the eighth grade shall hold certificates granted by the county board of educational examiners. The questions for these examinations shall be prepared by the state superintendent of public instruction and the examinations shall be held under the rules and regulations prescribed by him. The minimum standing for passing shall be 65 percent with an average in all."
The Western News, April 24, 1907, page 1


    The first Stevensville school was established at St. Mary's Mission by the Jesuits who followed the pattern of their order and held classes for the Indians. Then, John Owen hired a tutor, P. MacDonald, to teach the Indian and half-breed children at Fort Owen from December 1858 until April 1859.
    The home of Henry Buck was the first school in the town of Stevensville. At first, it was a just a school for his children, but then became Stevensville's official grammar school. Records show that 26 pupils attended the school in 1872 and three of the early teachers were Mrs. Sara Lent, Rosa Knapp (later Mrs. Amos Buck), and Mrs. Nellie Haynes Buck.   
    In 1890, 152 students attended the Stevensville school during the 7-month term. They had a total of 10 library books and the one teacher who was paid $75 a month during the winter months and $65 a month during the spring. The next year, the school had 116 students and two teachers. A man who received $65 a month and a woman who received $50 a month. The school term was 10 months. The town population and the number of students continued to increase. By1905 there were 324 students, one man and three women teachers, 880 library books, and two school buildings.
Teachers for hired for the 1909-1910 school year: Highschool: Prof. C.C. Williamson and Mrs. Ruth Smith
    Public school: Prof. J.F. Sharp, principal; Miss Ida L. Crossman, 6th and 7th grades; Caroline Wells, 4th and 5th grades; Josie Robb, 3rd and half of 2nd grades; Miss Debora Wagy, 1st and half of second grades.
    Victor's first school teacher, Eva Liter, quit teaching after her husband, Nehemiah, died in 1881. In the spring of 1881, Joel J. Bond, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and their children, came to Victor to farm and teach school. He initiated a 6-month school term beginning May 1, 1881 for the 64 children who would attend school in the Sweat House School District. Within a year, the number of students had increased to 89 (50 boys and 39 girls). The end of the 6-month term qualified Victor for territorial school funds provided by an 1877 law.
    The Montana Territory's first compulsory education law caused the number of students to increase which prompted Joel Bond to initate the building of a new school on the land doanted by Frank Woody for school purposes. The school house was built by donations and volunteer labor and a barn was built nearby to stable the students' saddle horses.    
    In 1882, the Missoula County Commissioners separated the southern part of the Sweat House District to form the Fair View School District. The people in this new district built their own log school house a mile west of Tucker Crossing. 
    During the next several years, more school districts were formed: the Pleasant View District in 1888, the Curlew School District in 1891, and the Roll School District. By 1890, there were 85 children attending the Victor school, 27 at Fair View, and 48 at Pleasant View.
    Joel J. Bond taught school for many years and served as Ravalli County's first Superintendent of Schools from 1893 to 1895. His daughter, Anna Bond Herbert, was elected as his replacement in 1895.  (see Joel Bond biography)   
    Early teachers at the Victor School include Miss Nannie Dowd in 1884; Mr. Tuxbury in 1886; Miss Mary Williams in 1888; "Professor" Fouch in1890; Sue Anderson and Miss Maggie McCarty in 1891; and P.J. Anderson in1892.
       The first school in the Corvallis area was located near the old Slack farm, which was about one-half mile northwest of the current town of Corvallis. Bent Reeder was the teacher. The second school was located in the town of Corvallis, near the present Corvallis High School. During the early 1900's, there were a number of small schools in the Corvallis area. Through the efforts of Winfield Scott Bailey, the Corvallis School  consolidated with the Willow Creek, Mountain View and Woodside school in 1914. Later, the Hamilton Heights, Birch Creek, and Dominic Schools joined the Corvallis school. This consolidation gave the community an accredited high school that was housed in a new brick school building in 1915. The previous school building, located where the present primary school building is located on the East side highway,  was destroyed by fire in 1914. The new high school building was erected at the north end of Main Street in Corvallis.
 W.S. Bailey was a 1904 graduate of Plattville Teachers College in Plattville, Wisconsin, and became the first superintendent of Corvallis schools in 1912.
    The Corvallis High School building was destroyed by fire on a cold January 14, 1930 day. There was a 9-day vacation for the students. School resumed on Monday, January 29 with the high school and grades 5 through 8 meeting in temporary facilities. The 98 high school students and their 4 teachers met in the Masonic building. The 25 eighth graders and their teacher, Sam Cappious, were established in the Community Hall, the seventh grade of 35 pupils and their teacher, Miss Fern Lee, assembled at the Methodist Church annex. The fifth and sixth graders joined the four lower grades at the primary school building.
    When school resumed, school supply stores did a rushing business with many students needing to replace their personal supplied destroyed in the fire. Basketball practice was held in the Odd Fellows' Hall, but the ceiling was not high enough to permit regulation-height baskets. Because of that, Corvallis played all of their games away from home.    
    Because W.S. wanted good teachers working at the school, he convinced several young teachers from the Platteville Teachers College, including his sister Loretta Bailey (later married Ernest Scott), to come to Corvallis to teach.


    The first teacher in Hamilton was Anna O'Hara. She taught in a 1-room school located on the Main Street in Hamilton, where Roberts Books store was located in later years.



    The first annual all-classes reunion was held at the Corvallis High School July 19, 2003. There were about 300 in attendance. The annual reunion is held last Saturday of June each year.
    The date for the 2015 reunion is Saturday, June 27, 2015. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. in the old gymnasium and alumni class pictures are taken from 5-6 p.m. The high school building is open for self-guided tours from 1 pm the day of the reunion. Punch and snacks are served in the old gymnasium starting at 3 pm. This year there will be Stories and Stones at the Corvallis cemetery, noon to 3 pm. There will be several people at the cemetery who will be portraying an ancestor or telling the family's history in Corvallis.
    The alumni committee attempts to notify all graduates and those who attended Corvallis High School by mail and/or e-mail. Please keep your mail and/or e-mail information current with the committee.
    For more information, contact: Ray Dunbar at 406-961-4528 or e-mail Gayle Tintzman.

    We are putting together a book or books of the history of Corvallis schools, students and their families. Copies of obituaries are needed for those students who died out-of state and those whose obituary was not published in the local newspapers, Ravalli Republic, Missoulian or Bitter Root Star.