The ability to read, write and do arithmetic was important to the 1884 immigrants and the schooling of their children was started as soon as possible. Before the settlement was a year old, the first school was started in Gurney Mills' proving shed, a hurriedly built 10' x 14' dugout built by digging down about a foot then putting on a high pitched roof. Seats were arranged around the wall by driving stakes into the dirt floor and laying boards on them. The teacher could only stand upright in the center of the room. Largest of the pupils had to back into their seats. The shed was destroyed in a storm and the term was finished in the bachelor's shack on Riley D. Woodward's claim.
After meeting in homes for a time and as soon as the Sod church was completed in 1885, they held school there under the leadership of Nathan Brown. School was held in the church until a small schoolhouse was built in 1887. This building served until 1903 when a three-room wooden structure was built, located in the north part of town.
The school year at first consisted of about three months and was voluntary. Some of the parents who felt that education was essential sent their children an additional three months to Victory School, located in the area, so that some students were able to get six months education during the year. After moving into the church, the term changed to six months.
Students attended school in the three-room building until about 1913 when it was replaced with a brick building. This building was used until 1954, when a new school was built on Topeka St. on the west side of town. This building is still used today for Pre-K through 8th grades.
FRIENDS HAVILAND ACADEMY
The first secondary school in Kiowa County was the Haviland Academy organized in 1891. Funds were raised, lots for the campus were donated to the Academy Association by the Haviland Town Company, and a frame structure was begun. Not waiting for its completion, the school was opened in the fall of 1892 with 27 students meeting in a store building on Main St. The new building was completed in 1893.
For some years a preparatory grammar department was maintained, but by 1910 it had been discontinued.
In 1905 control of the Academy was passed from the Association to Haviland Monthly Meeting (Friends). In 1906 it was deeded to Haviland Quarterly Meeting and for ten years was a Quarterly Meeting project. After Haviland High School opened in 1915, the Quarterly Meeting prepared to discontinue the Academy. However, there was a strong desire for a training school for Christian workers to be located in Haviland.
An association for such was incorporated in 1917 and a new building, Founders Hall, was constructed. It was opened that fall, and the Academy continued for 51 more years as one of its departments. In the spring of 1968, the Board felt it necessary to make the institution solely a four-year degree-granting Bible college, and Friends Haviland Academy was closed after 76 continuous years, having served more than 1,700 young people.
HAVILAND HIGH SCHOOL
The high school was established in 1915 and the first classes started September 13 of that year with 36 students enrolled. The school occupied rooms on the upper floor of the old grade school building until a new building was constructed in 1923. The first faculty for the high school consisted of C. A. Thompson, principal; Miss Alice Riner and Howard Morgan, teachers.
The Haviland High School building still stands; however, the high school was closed at the end of the 2009-10 school year. All high school students in the county now attend Kiowa County High School in Greensburg.
Barclay College began as an outgrowth of the Haviland Academy. In 1916, Haviland Quarterly Meeting considered closing its academy because of a new public high school in Haviland, but some wanted to see it continue. An even greater number were concerned that a ministerial training program be organized. Therefore a Bible Training School Association was organized in December, 1916, and incorporated in 1917. The first classes of Kansas Central Bible Training School opened in September, 1917, and the new building (Founders Hall or Music Hall) was dedicated in April, 1918. At first, there was only a two-year course of study beyond the high school level, but in 1920 a third year was added.
Scott T. Clark was the first president, serving for 18 years. There were also three additional members of the faculty the first year.
In 1925 a two-year junior college department was added. In 1930 the name was changed to Friends Bible College. For the years 1948-1952 a four-year curriculum led to the Bachelor of Religion degree.
In 1968, the junior college was no longer offered and the college became a four-year institution. In 1984 the name was changed to Barclay College.