Reflections: Former teacher looks back

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

With the opening of a new school year, I want to share a letter I received several years ago from a Cardington High School graduate who returned to teach at her alma mater following her college graduation.

Emma McClenathan Schwartz, a 1930 CHS graduate, attended Bowling Green State University and returned to teach in her alma mater after a short stint teaching in an area one room school.

Reminiscing in her letter to me, she remembered moving to Cardington in 1918 where she was “shocked to see the size of Cardington School. The halls were wide and long and pupils seemed to be always going and coming and climbing those high stairs.”

She noted she had an uncle and lots of cousins in the school. “Mabel Teat took me under her wing in first grade, second semester when we moved to town so my dad could be the mail carrier for Route 2 out of Cardington.”

Emma said the way they marched out of school at the end of the day was “unforgettable and when I taught there beginning in 1950, it was always on the tip of my tongue to say, “Don’t step on the grass in the front lawn,” because that’s what we were warned during my school days.

She said when “we first came to Cardington we saved our textbooks so we could get a good price for them. Later they were free but we had to ask students to take good care of them or pay for misuse.”

Emma said she first started teaching in rural schools in Morrow County and had 14 children in the eight grades.

“Classes could be 2 minutes long give or take on different days- the first year for eight months I walked 1 1/2 miles from where I got my room and board for $3 a week. Later I boarded a teacher in Fulton for $3 a week.”

Emma said “I really think in rural schools they learned much by listening to recitations when they finished their own work. The first year I taught I bought a set of World Book Encyclopedias. Even the first graders learned a lot from looking at all those pictures.”

Emma, who is now deceased, taught elementary school at her alma mater in the 1950s and 60s. My son was in her class one year and I can attest to her admirable teaching ability. I salute all teachers.

80 years ago: September, 1939: Mrs. Elmer McClaskey reported to the county sheriff, Oscar George, that thieves had stolen 40 White Rock chickens one Saturday night from their farm west of Cardington 70 years ago, September, 1949: Student council officers at Cardington School were named for the year and they were LeRoy Bennett, president; Rollie Harris, vice president; Evelyn Fricke, secretary- treasurer.

60 years ago, September, 1959: The Ralph Hickson property on Center Street was purchased at auction by Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Jenkins.

50 years ago, September, 1969: Ground was broken at Morrow County Hospital for an addition that would double the bed capacity of the facility. The new high school athletic field was finished in time for the first football game on Sept. 12. The scoreboard from the old field on Lincoln Street was relocated to the new field. Cardington inaugurated its new field with a 13-0 victory over Logan Elm.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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