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What do you remember about Cyrus High School?

The first Cyrus school building was built in 1883. When the building burned down, school was held in the Gulsvig house. The brick building where school is held was built in 1903. Cyrus became a state accredited high school in 1922, with an enrollment of 245 students in grades 1 – 12. 1 / 9
Cyrus High School got a new gym in 1938. The school elected cheerleaders and recruited members for a pep squad, said Avis (Anderson) Brandt: “There were 14 of us on the pep squad, with three accompanists who provided piano music for us to march by during the half times of basketball games.” Beth (Buesing) Opgrand emembered being proud of cheering in “shimmering purple satin slacks and a gold satin long-sleeved blouse. … I loved rehearsing the different yells and being part of the excitement.”2 / 9
Cyrus' first choir and first band were started in the late 1930s. Students began by playing in the rhythm band in elementary school, then graduated to flutophones. Cyrus High School's music program also included, over time, a concert band, a cornet band, a marching band and many small group ensembles. Ruby (Thompson) Damskey, class of 1940, said that she played the clarinet, “but I didn't get very good at it. I preferred piano and took lessons from Eva Pederson, and then I accompanied the choir.”3 / 9
During the 1950s and '60s, students at Cyrus High School had a strict dress code. Sheryle (Kjeldahl) Dahl, class of 1966, said girls had to wear dresses, while boys had to wear slacks or “nice” jeans. “Girls could wear slacks (not jeans) on Fridays, but only when there were home games,” she said. 4 / 9
Superintendent L.A. Graves got a grant to add chemistry, physics, geometry and a second year of algebra from the National Science Foundation. This allowed students to compete on national tests, remembered Douglas Veum, class of 1960. “Our senior class took the first ACT test in the nation in November 1959 at the auditorium on what is now the University of Minnesota, Morris campus. My score on the ACT was a 29, which would not have been possible without the classes that Mr. Graves added to our program.”5 / 9
On July 17, 1952, members of the Cyrus Ground Observers Corp started watching the sky over Cyrus from the old bell tower at the top of the building. As part of “Operation Skywatch,” a program through the U.S. Air Force, volunteers were tasked with tracking enemy planes flying down from Canada, The Pope County Tribune reported. By the end of the month, over 50 people had volunteered for duty. Members needed to be at least 15, have at least average eyesight and hearing and could not have a fear of heights. 6 / 9
In 1987 the Panther basketball team, led by senior co-captains Brian and Brad Solvie, won the District 21 championship, In the semi-final game against Herman, Brian reached a significant personal milestone: 1,000 career points. The team beat Wheaton 62-52 in the finals to take their first championship since 1974. The season was cut short in the first game of the Region 6A tournament when the small but mighty Panthers lost to Staples, one of the more prominent athletic programs in the region, 56-44. 7 / 9
The most recent all-school reunion in 1989 drew 578 graduates. The oldest graduate present was Olga (Hanse) Johnson, class of 1920. Two graduates traveled thousands of miles to attend: Kaori Yakumoi, an exchange student in the class of 1980, came from her home in Tokyo. Frances (Olson) Alfson, class of 1942, came from Australia. The crowd on Sunday afternoon for the reunion program, more than 1,200, was so large that a tent was put up outside where attendees could watch the program on a large screen TV. 8 / 9
In 1993, only four years after the high school closed, the Cyrus Math, Science and Technology Elementary School was rated one of the 177 best schools in America by Redbook magazine and the best elementary school in Minnesota. “This small rural magnet for 110 students is dedicated to innovation from the top – with its teachers sharing the principal's job – down to kindergarten classrooms that are equipped with a reading loft,” Redbook editors noted. “The ratio of students to computers is three to one.”9 / 9

MORRIS -- What do you remember about Cyrus High School? 

With the help of the organizers for the Cyrus all-school reunion, June 7 - 9 in Cyrus, we’ve gathered nine events from the Cyrus School District’s past. Click through each of the photos to learn more about this historic school district. 

To learn more about the all-school reunion, check out this story for details or visit