The school year was 1953-54, and education in Dallas was receiving an upgrade. The new facility was ready for occupation. The move took place on January 18, 1954…from the Academy building on Main and Academy street to the new Home of the Dragons, on Ash Street. J. Paul Bollman was Chairman, Board of Directors (see Bollman Family Bio) and the goal was to provide an excellence in education and opportunities for our youth. Delores (Youngblood) LaFountaine has generously provided information about the first graduating class of the New Building, Class of ’54, and some of her history as a resident of Dallas, spanning more than seventy years.
Although Delores was born in Depoe Bay, at age 10, she became a Dallas resident. That was 1946. She left ‘home’ briefly…enough time to get her teacher training at OCE (WOSC), get a year of California ‘out of her system’ and then make her way back to Dallas, with her new husband, Mr. John LaFountaine, who was also a teacher.
John and Delores raised their three children in Dallas. Both were extensively involved in the education and the lives of many Dallas young people. Delores taught 19 years at Lyle Elementary school, and was also a Sunday School teacher for 18 years in her church. Her roots, deep in Dallas history, include a grandmother who had a local boarding house, renting to local loggers, and preparing their meals. Delores’ parents attended school in Dallas; in fact, four generations have attended schools in Dallas. This includes her own children and grandchildren.
John (a Portland native) was the middle school science teacher until he became the principal of Academy Junior High, then later LaCreole Junior High (now LaCreole Middle School).
When Delores fondly reminisced about her Dallas High experience she made note of some of the more interesting details of “how it used to be”.
Dallas middle school was on the corner of Main St. and Ash (where a Thai Eatery is) and “our shared gymnasium” was at the back (now as an upholstery business), facing Jefferson St. So, we played football on W. Ash, basketball on Academy/Jefferson, and baseball on Academy/Main.
“We moved to the new building during Christmas vacation. Many students helped move, especially the library…we formed a Book Brigade…handing off one book at a time along the line to the moving van…in order, and carefully. We loved our brand new school.
There were no athletic fields on East Ash Street. Our football field was on the other end…West Ash Street, where the City shops are now. We continued playing baseball at the Academy field (where Sounds of Summer are heard now).
Delores shared the names of classmates who have remained in Dallas. Many have had businesses and even though since retired, we continue to see and hear of these folks and their involvement in our school success. Other ’54 Grads are: Bob Craven (of Craven-Woods Insurance), Don Coyote, LaVerne Knaupp, Darrel Jones (former Polk County Sheriff), Carolyn (Hoffman)Wall (former Polk County Treasurer), Valdeen Pankratz (Bank of Willamette Valley associate officer), and Zora Ann McClintock.
Delores completes her thoughts with this…”I think Dallas is a great community for raising children. The way people are backing the ‘Turf Project’ is an indication of community spirit.”