Stephenson County

Pleasant Prairie Academy
German Valley IL


P.P.A. acronym stands for Pleasant Prairie Academy. The origins of the Academy are with the vision of Dr. Nicholas M. Steffen, who was pastor of the Silver Creek Reformed Church from 1872 - 1878. The vision became a reality under Silver Creek's pastor Dr. Albert F. Beyer 1888 - 1905. It seemed appropriate that the school be located in German Valley, for at the time it was recognized as the first Ostfriesen (German} or East Friesen community of any size in the Americas. Dr. Beyer in his time also saw to the establishment of mission churches in the East Friesen settlements in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. The cornerstone for the school was laid in the fall of 1893. There were 42 students, both men and women, in the schools first year of operation. By the school's 50th anniversary, 57 of its students had become ministers. In January 1951 the property was deeded to the Silver Creek Reformed Church. From 1951 till the school's closing in 1958, it operated as a private High School. Finances and increasing state mandates forced the closing. A portion of the land was sold and the buildings were also sold and razed. Today the location is known as Ben Miller Park located on German Valley's Church Street.

Contributed by John Kornfeind from the Publication - "German Valley Remembers" 150 years -1848 to 1998.
It is the Sesquicentennial Year Publication put together by the citizens of German Valley.
The information provided above comes from a summary about the Academy on pages 91 to 102.
Katheryn (nee Kroesche) Fosha was the director of the Rhythm Band and a 1930 graduate of Rockford College.
She began her teaching career in 1931.


Alumni Present Play Here

Pleasant Prairie academy alumni association gave its first play in the life of the organization in the academy gymnasium Monday evening. Heretofore the association has sponsored banquets and picnics in conjunction with festivities at the end of each school year. Although weather conditions were uncertain, a capacity house filled the large auditorium. The play chosen was a royalty play and a comedy-farce entitled "Grandma Gets Going" by B. Butler. The cast was chosen from alumni members; the role of "Grandma" was played by Mabel Meyers Haan whose rendition smacked of professionalism, although Mrs. Meyers has only appeared in former academy class plays; "Grandpa" was played by Walter Fosha, who has always won much applause for his part in character roles both in academy and college plays; Esther Decknadel and Kenneth Greenfield, in the roles of mother and father truly presented conditions as found in some of the modern homes of today; their children, played by Arleen Bawinkel Hannah and Walter Kruse, and their friends, played by Marjorie Wessels, LeRoy Rademaker and George Hayunga, are young people dealing with problems of modern youth and all were excellent portrayals; Sarah Heeren played the role of a neighbor very well completing the cast. Much praise is due Miss Kathryn Kroesche who directed the cast. At the annual business meeting and election of officers, held in the SIlver Creek Reformed church parlors Tuesday evening, the following officers were elected: Glen Kilker, president; Mabel Meyers, vice-president; Pearl Manus, secretary; Arlene Ross, treasurer. Receipts from the play were $172.80. As our project for this year we have voted to buy a new power mower using the old motor which is still in good condition.
... Edna Aukes, retiring president

Contributed by Karen Fyock from an Undated Clipping