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My years in the classroom

My years in the classroom

Posted: Friday, December 24, 2010 12:02 am
By: By Hyla Richardson, Special to The Press

The Press 12/23

In the fall, it was decided that the school should raise some money to buy a few school supplies. We decided to have a box supper and set the date. A box supper was just that. Each girl selected a box and it was artfully decorated with crepe paper and each hoped that the food inside would be as tasty as the box was pretty. Not only were the girls in school expected to fix boxes, but also those who were older. Each prepared foods such as fried chicken, sandwiches, pies, cakes, and other delicacies. Enough food for two people was put into a box because the man or boy who purchased the box was expected to eat with the girl or woman.

The day of the box supper came and after being sure that the room was as neat as it could be, and being sure that the wall lamps were filled with kerosene and the globes polished, I hurried home to prepare some food for my box. When the time came for me to go I took my decorated box of food and a lantern that would be used on the way home after the box supper ended. 

Many people were there when I arrived. Each young man wanted to see the box of his favorite girl. The boxes were numbered and placed on a long table at one end of the room. They looked very pretty with all kinds of color combinations.

While we waited for the late arrivals and the appointed time, we enjoyed talking together and it gave me a chance to get better acquainted with the parents of the pupils. 

The auctioneer began with a joke or two and then held up the first box. The bidding began and each purchaser was given the box after he had paid for it. Finally my box was up to sell and there was considerable interest in it. The young man who bought it was an older brother of two of the pupils, and the son of a couple who became two of my dearest friends even though they were several years older than I.

After the last box was sold, each girl or woman found the purchaser of her box and they found a place where they could eat. During this time there was much talking and laughter.

When we counted the money we found that we had about $20. 

That seemed like quite a good amount of that time and we were pleased.

Of the 31 students who spent that first year with me in that one-room school, several of them are gone – Betty, Imogene, Meggan, Marvin, Mack and Joy. There may be others that I don’t know about. I have kept up with many of them and I’m always glad to hear about them and learn that they have been successful in their work and lives. 

Sometimes new students would move into the community around Christmas because many of the families were tenant farmers and they would move on if better opportunities were offered. Those students were welcomed by all of us and we took them into our school and hearts. 

I hope no one remembers being made to feel unwelcome.

I believed that the material we studied should be as meaningful as possible. While we were studying plants and trees in science I thought the best way to see how well the pupils had learned the characteristics of trees was to take all of the pupils into the woods back of the nearest house and let them identify the different trees. 

All of us had fun and at the same time, they learned first-hand the names of the trees by applying what they had learned earlier.

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