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Students help clean up historic school

Four community organizations came together on Oct. 20 to spruce up the grounds and buildings of the historic North Grove School, a one-room schoolhouse built in 1878.

The four groups were the Sycamore Rotary Club, Sycamore High School’s Interact and Key clubs, and Sycamore Kiwanis.

Lead by two Sycamore High School students, junior Jake Winters and sophomore Jeremy Swedberg, more than 30 volunteers spent part of their Saturday clearing brush, scraping and painting the perimeter fence, the two outhouses, the buggy shed and the school.

Winters, Key Club project leader, wanted to give back to his community as he has the past two years on week-long mission trips.

“The last two summers I have taken mission trips to other states in which we scraped and painted houses,” Winters said in a news release. “When I heard that the one-room schoolhouse here in Sycamore needed similar work, I wanted to volunteer in my own community. As a member of the Sycamore High School Key Club, I felt this project fit the type of service we do so I volunteered to take the lead.”

Swedberg, Interact project leader, also wanted to give back to his Sycamore community.

“The historic North Grove School is not only a Sycamore treasure, but a part of my family legacy,” he said in the release. “My great-great-great-grandmother taught there. It’s a lot of fun leading a project that you know will be around for a long time.”

North Grove School, located 3 miles northwest of Sycamore, was built in 1878 by the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church as a parochial and Sunday school. The Sycamore unit district acquired the school in 1949, and it continued as a school until 1952, when it was closed.  

When the future of North Grove School was threatened in 1985, a group of concerned neighbors and other citizens formed the North Grove School Association. The Sycamore School District leased the school to the association, which continues to care for the site and provide opportunities for public use.

Community members can help keep the landmark preserved for the next generation of students by becoming a member of the association. Annual dues are: Individual $15; family $20; life member $300; patron, business group as a non-voting member for any amount. Dues can be sent to NGSA, P.O. Box 244, Sycamore, IL 60178.

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