Marion County Preparatory School, Goessel, KS Mennonite Heritage Museum Goessel, KS

Goessel
Preparatory
School


 

Mennonite Heritage Museum • Goessel, Kansas

        In 1906 the Alexanderwohl Germeindeschule (community school), later called the Goessel Vorbereitungschule (preparatory school), located at 100 East Main, was organized under the leadership of Elder Peter Balzer. The aim of the institution was to provide a two-year high school curriculum and, primarily, religious and German instruction. The school was funded mainly by the Alexanderwohl congregation, and parents also paid tuition.

Wood stove, Mennonite Heritage Museum, Goessel, KS         This school was church sponsored and focused on mathematics, English, geography, church and world history. Most of the courses were taught in German. The purpose of the school was to prepare students for further academic training at Bethel College. The first term was six months and tuition was $15.00 or $2.50 a month. Students who lived too far away to commute lived in the nearby boarding house or with families in Goessel. After completing the two-year program, students were eligible to attend Bethel College, a private, church sponsored college.

        Students had to be 14 years old or older to attend the Preparatory School. The first enrollment in 1906 consisted of 35 students. In the 1925-1926 school year, the last year the school was open. the enrollment was 42. After 1926 the Preparatory School was changed to a high school because of the increased need in the community for such an institution.

        After Tabor Mennonite Church organized in 1907 and the Goessel Mennonite Church organized in 1920, they joined in supporting the school. The institution's income, however, could not keep up with increasing costs. In 1925, the three supporting churches decided to close the school and send their children to Goessel Rural High School, which had been organized that year. Parents were assured that their children would receive religious instruction at the public school.

        The Goessel Preparatory School operated for one more year as an academy before finally closing its doors in 1926. It graduated a total of 260 students. The boarding house was purchased by Bethel College in North Newton to use as a men's dormitory. It stood on the site of the Schultz Student Center until it was razed in the early 1960s.

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July 26, 2004 / Goessel, Kansas / mhmuseum@mtelco.net

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