Biography of H. Clay Fisk
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H. Clay Fisk, Superintendent of the city schools of Nowata, was born in Altoona, Kansas, on the 8th of August, 1887, a son of F. M. and Mary (Matkin) Fisk. The father came to Oklahoma at the opening of the Cherokee strip, making the run on the back of a bucking mule, and secured a claim of one hundred and sixty acres near Cherokee in Alfalfa County.
In the acquirement of an education H. Clay Fisk attended the rural schools of Alfalfa County until he had finished the eighth grade, when he enrolled in the Stella Academy at Cherokee, where he was a student for sometime. He was graduated from the Northwestern State Normal School at Alva, this state, in 1910, and for the following year was principal of the Cherokee high school. He then returned to the Northwestern State Normal School as assistant instructor in the chemistry department and was active in that connection for one and one-half years, at the termination of which time he resigned and took a course at the University of Kansas for an A. B. degree. Professor Fisk was then Superintendent of the schools at Cherokee for three years, again resigning to take the B. S. degree at the University of Kansas. After receiving that degree he was, in 1917, elected Superintendent of the city schools of Nowata, a position which he has continued to hold. Since he assumed the duties of Superintendent the new high school building has been erected and also a new high school for the colored children. When he first took charge of the schools there were but eighty-five pupils in the high school, while today there are three hundred and twenty-six, and in the colored high school there are seventy-five pupils. The high schools now boast physical training departments, commercial departments and musical departments, and courses in journalism and public speaking have been added to the curriculum. A salaried playground supervisor is now maintained by the board of education and a Y. W. C. A. has been organized for the girls, while the Hi Y Club is the boys’ society. The high schools have strong debating and literary societies and Professor Fisk may well be proud of the institutions of learning in whose development he has been the dominant factor. The Nowata high school is now a member of the North Central Association of High Schools. Next spring a pageant is to be put on by the pupils of the Nowata schools, depicting the history of Nowata and this section of Oklahoma from the days when this land was under the control of the Indians to the advent of the white man and the subsequent evolution of the cow-puncher. The pageant will include over a thousand people, and moving pictures will be taken of it for display throughout the country.
In 1913 was celebrated the marriage of H. Clay Fisk to Miss Jennie Vinson, a daughter of A. G. and Mary (McGill) Vinson, the latter a native of Tennessee. For eighteen years Mr. Vinson has been head of the geographical and agricultural departments of the Northwestern Normal School of Oklahoma.
Fraternally Professor Fisk is identified with the Masons and he is conceded to be an exemplary member of the craft. While attending the University of Kansas he became affiliated with the Acacia fraternity. As a public-spirited and representative citizen of Nowata he is one of the active members of the Rotary Club. He is tireless in his devotion to the educational interests of this community and that the residents of Nowata have every faith in him is evidenced by his continued election to the office of Superintendent.