Photo 25-IJO-32

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Galena Golf Club. The building to the left was the old Cottage Grove school. Miss Helen Nellie O'Neill taught at Cottage Grove for 40 years, retiring in 1951 (Freeport Journal-Standard, 9/14/1976 page 10).

A few years later, Miss Olive Welp was teaching without pay for much of the 1954-55 school year. Miss Welp was a seasoned veteran, having taught at Galena, Menominee and Cottage Grove schools for 28 years. She and three other local teachers worked without pay until April 1955 due to court litigation challenging the constitutionality of a state law which compelled their districts to become part of a high school district by July 1, 1956. Local residents filed suit, and the case was finally resolved before the school year ended. Payroll funds were tied up during the lawsuit proceedings. Cottage Grove was annexed to the Galena school district.

In December 1954, Miss Welp and the other teachers received national attention when the story of their plight made the national newswire. She was diving 10 miles each way from Dubuque to teach her 10 students and living on savings. When asked by the Freeport Journal-Standard how she managed financially, Miss Welp replied, "Oh, I manage." She had signed a contract to teach at Cottage Grove and intended to honor it. (Journal-Standard, 12/15/1954 page 1).

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