Etna School Dist. #108 is located in the village of Etna, Paradise Township, Coles County, Illinois,

The Illinois School Consolidation Laws initially enhanced the Etna grade school but later resulted in closing the Etna school. On the left side is the original Etna grade school building. In the late 1940s the one room country grade schools of the area were closed, Among those closed in the Coles-Cumberland County area was Buttermilk School east of Etna on Route 45. To accomodate these students, the Buttermilk building was moved to the Etna School site and became the building on the right side of the photo.,

From Robert Benefiel student at Etna School in the 1930s
"The building on the right of the Etna school building (north building) was the Buttermilk building.  It was moved to Etna, set on a new foundation, and a lunchroom, kitchen, and rest rooms were built  between it and the original Etna building. The south building of the Etna School (taught by Helen Storm of Mattoon) housed grades 4, 5, & 6.  The north building, where Rita Benefiel taught in 1954, held grades 1, 2, & 3.
Dortha Greeson's mother, Ferne, cooked at that school for several years, and my mother, Grace, cooked there for several years later on.  My mother went to Neoga's NEW elementary building when it opened as cafeteria manager and head cook, the Etna kids went to Neoga, and the Etna building was closed and later sold to Bob Green.  Some of the kids from Buttermilk went to Etna and some to Mattoon when Buttermilk closed.  The Mattoon district extended down to just north of Etna also. The Etna building closed when the NEW Neoga building opened."

LAWRENCE BRADY of Trilla and Neoga notes that he attended Buttermilk School during the 1932 - 1936 school years.

From Nancy Bode, Daughter of Robert and Rita
"As a child back in the 1950s my Grandmother Benefiel was a cook at the school, and there were a couple times when my brother Bob and I were staying with her and she took us with her when she went to work. We were about 4 and 5, and we thought it great fun to go with her. We got to play with the school kids, and the teachers even let us sit in during classtime. One just doesn't take preschoolers to one's place of employment these days. I know my grandmother was happy that my Uncle Judy (L.K. Voris) hired her as a school cook. And she certainly was an excellent cook. I have her recipe book that she used to prepare those school lunches .... it should come in handy if I ever need to mix up something that will make 60-70 servings. Nowadays, at least here in Champaign,
the meals are prepared by a catering crew and served on styrofoam trays. No recipes needed - just remove from the freezer and heat."

By Evelyn Alexander and Pat Williamson
This is the first of three feature articles about Neoga schools and educators. during the last 50 years.
In 1948 voters in and around Neoga approved the formation of Neoga Community Unit #3. Numerous area one-room school houses were closed and bussing of students to central locations began. Students were housed at Etna, Trowbridge, Pioneer School on Rt. 121, and Neoga Elementary and High Schools. Eventuaally the schools at Etna and Trowbridge were closed and grades one through eight were taught at Pioneer School and Neoga Elementary.
In the 1949=1950 school year, junior high school for grades 7-8 was formed in the high school building. In 1959, by a vote of 547 to 709, approval was given to sell $350,000 in bonds to build Neoga Elementary and Junior High School on West Sixth St. Junior high school students were then moved from the high school to the new building.
The elementary students in Pioneer Elementary School md Neoga Elementary School were combined with the configuration of the grade levels in each building changing as needed.
In 1954 a new gymnasium was built for Neoga High School, and the old gym was converted to a cafeteria, band room and farm shop,
On March 12, 1977 ground was broken for Neoga Junior-Senior High School on East Seventh St. The building was built around the existing gymnasium and the old high school building was demolished. Junior high students were then moved to the new building.
2003 Neoga Middle School, housing grades for I through six, was opened in the new building behind the high school, and Pioneer Elementary School was closed.
Presently grades preschool through three attend Neoga Elementary School, grades four through six attend Neoga Middle School and grades seven through twelve attend Neoga Junior-Senior High School.
RLY COMMENT, This very well describes the huge changes that have been made from my Neoga Township High School and my one room country Lambert Grade School since my NTHS graduation in 1943.

"Vintage base ball is a gentlemen's and gentle ladies' game," said Lee Slider, a . semi-retired cultural in. interpreter with the Macon County Conservation District, in his 1860 persona as Joseph Trobaugh, "owner" of the Ground Squirrels. "The game is played for fun, friendship and education. While teams try their very best to win, the real purpose of the game is to give spectators a glimpse , into our past and the origins of our national pastime."
Vintage base ball is on the schedule for Friday night during Neoga's Sesquicentennial in September. Carol Walk and the Sesqui committee are looking for players. Anyone interested - in playing should contact her at 895-3286. "We would like to have between 16 and 20 players of various ages, but if we have more than that, it would. be great, Walk said. No special equipment is required, though players might want to wear rubber cleats. Players do not need gloves. The only thing they are asking is that players purchase a Sesquicentennial tshirt and come up with nicknames for themselves.
More information about vintage base ball and the Ground Squirrels is available online at Click in "Links" and then on to "Rock Springs Ground Squirrels." The Ground Squirrels club, established l in 1994, was the first to to play the vintage game in Illinois. Since that time, 10 clubs have been formed in the state. More about Vintage baseball and the upcoming Neoga game in future editions of NN.

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