People & Places

Piece of history: The first graduates of Cedar Rapids High

The first graduating class of Cedar Rapids High School in 1873 had four women and two men. (The History Center)
The first graduating class of Cedar Rapids High School in 1873 had four women and two men. (The History Center)

The first graduation ceremony for Cedar Rapids High School was held 145 years ago, on June 18, 1873, at the Union Opera House.

Six students — two men and four women — picked up diplomas that year, when Cedar Rapids had a population of around 6,640 people.

The women graduates were Julia E. Sargent, Eva Stiles, Hattie Boyce and Mollie E. McClenahan, the valedictorian.

The men were A. Gordon Murry and John C. Leonard.

Each of the young women read an essay at the graduation ceremony. The young men gave formal speeches.

Jami Roskamp is curator and education coordinator at The History Center in Cedar Rapids. Each month she profiles an artifact from the center’s collection.

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