The Valley of Heart's Delight


None of the many progressive communities in California is prouder of its public schools than Gilroy, for under the able leadership of Prof. Elmer E. Brownell, the popular supervising principal, they have come to rank among the best schools in the Golden State.  The grammar school is attended by Gilroy pupils only, and until lately only the your of Gilroy have enjoyed the advantages of the Gilroy High School.   On August 21, 1921, however, a change for a broader and better policy was effected.  Then, on the recommendation of the county superintendent of schools and certain supervisors of the districts to be affected , the Adams, Rucker, Live Oak Redwood, Sunnnybrook, San Ysidro and Prunedale school districts were annexed to the Gilroy high school district, thereby extending widely the range of usefulness, and creating at GIlroy a union high school. This annexation was the more notable, for it was one of the first of its kind in Santa Clara County, and it was popular from the beginning, for it affords to pupils from the districts mentioned physical education, drawing, manual training, music, cooking and sewing and other advantages heretofore beyond their reach.  FIve motor busses are no used to transport he pupils between their homes and the high school a t a minimum cost.

Before 1911, the grammar and high schools at Gilroy occupied the same lot, in two separate buildings, but the board of trustees acquired eighteen additional acres of land, and a new high school building, erected at a cost of some $40,000, was constructed.  This high school structure was formally  opened in December, 1911, and according to the more extensive ground plan, the main building will be gradually surrounded by other structures, each to be practical and ornate, and to be dedicated to a particular service.  A junior high school will be formed in time, and the eighth and ninth-year pupils will be segregated from the tenth, eleventh and twelfth year pupils.  In 1904 four teachers formed the staff, and today there are twelve teachers and 175 pupils.  The first graduation was held in 1904, when eight students stepped forth into the world; in 1920 a class of twenty-five graduated, and in 1922, there was a class of twenty.  IN 1904 eight teachers taught 350 pupils in the grammar schools; in 1921 fifteen teachers had charge of the welfare of 550 pupils.  On  May 6, 1922, Gilroy grammar school district voted $180, 000 in bonds for the erection of a fourteen room building in the Hanna field, on ten acres of land, to accommodate a kindergarten and the first six grades, also an eight room building on the high school grounds, to accommodate the seventy and eighth grades, and to form a junior high school.

Professor Brownell has had heavy odds to overcome, but he has always had the confidence of the citizens in his pioneering work, and that has enable him to accomplish what he has with the Gilroy schools, in both original and permanent  reforms.  An evening school was organized in 1916, with regular courses of study in the commercial department, and with courses in mathematics, languages, etc., from  teachers directing the  ambitions work of from sixty to seventy-five students.  A branch of the Free County Library has been installed for the use of both the students and the public, and this in itself has added to the public appreciation of the educational service a their disposal in Gilroy.  Professor Brownell has his heart and soul in the work committed to his care and it must afford him satisfaction that the board of trustees have been agreeable to all requests for advancement.

Sawyer, Eugene T.
History of Santa Clara County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present
Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1922

Santa Clara County- The Valley of Heart's Delight

Transcribed by Cdf
July 17, 2005