Features of the Area
This is a small community northeast of Independence, US State of Missouri, located in the lowlands of the Little Blue River. The Missouri River is a few miles to the north. It is basically a farming area. Summers are warm and humid. Winters are mild, yet there are some very cold days with snow. Most of the roads leading to the community were paved.
Transportation was by automobile. The main line of the Santa Fe Railroad between Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California, passed by on the edge of the community, but there were no stops here. A few miles to the south was a branch line of the Union Pacific Railroad. In travelling to and from school, I had to cross both lines.
This was a private school formed by members of the local Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (then, a Restoration branch that had broken ties while I was there). The two-room school was located on the grounds of the church. Parents were responsible for taking the children to school or making arrangements with someone to transport them. During the second and third years that I was there, I transported children in my vehicle. The year that Shirley Mason was there, she also transported children.
For the first two and one-half years, the desks were arranged in the traditional rows. However, grade eight was at the front, and grade four at the back. Then, some of the students asked if the desks could be arranged with those in a specific grade facing each other. Seeing nothing wrong with the arrangement, I approved. It seemed to work out all right.
In the first year, some students asked if they could study in the basement of the church when I was not teaching their class. To assure them that I trusted them, I approved on the condition that there would be no problem there and that they would be back in the classroom in time for their scheduled classes. They did not let me down.
One year during Fire Prevention Week, representatives of the local Osage Fire Department made a presentation to our students. The speaker gave an assignment for the children to write up an exit plan for their homes in case of fire. When he returned to collect them, he gave each student a certificate for entering.
Support from the parents was good. When there was a field trip, there was always a driver, as well as someone to help with the children. They turned out well for parent-teacher interviews. Those persons who provided instruction in art, singing, instrumental, and Spanish performed a great service which was much appreciated. This was a wonderful opportunity for the students.
We used the A-Beka curriculum, a Baptist product. It was very thorough in its methods and provided text-books, workbooks, and tests. As with any curriculum, there were a few drawbacks. Because any given class was small, it was possible to combine grades five and six and grades seven and eight for history, science, and literature. This was not possible for either grade four or grade nine, the years that I had to teach those. My biggest problem was that in a multiple grade setup, sufficient time could not be spent for any class period or for individual help. Despite this, the students worked well.
At the end of each year, there was a graduation ceremony with a supper and a short programme.
For being a small school, there were ample opportunities for field trips. In fact, there were more than I had ever experienced before. I shall list some of them here.
Each month, we took two vehicles of teachers and students to the North Independence Branch of Mid-Continent Public Library to obtain books for free reading. One year we travelled to Jefferson City, the state capital. We had tours of the governor’s mansion and the capitol building. We also sat in the visitors’ gallery while the legislature was in session.
We visited a historic jail in the city of Liberty, just north of Independence. We visited the main city museum in Kansas City, Missouri. We visited a pioneer museum near Prairie Village, a Kansas City suburb in Kansas. We visited the Hallmark greeting card firm in Kansas City. We visited the Ford Company assembly plant in Kansas City.
Then, there were local rural trips. These included a small sewage disposal plant, a pumpkin field, and an apple orchard. The farmer at the pumpkin field allowed everyone to take home a pumpkin. I recall one student trying to take home one of the very large pumpkins, a very difficult undertaking for her.
I would like to thank one of my former students, April Erwin, whom I discover is an author, a poet, and a singer, for verifying the names of this list. There were a few other parents whose names I cannot recall.
- Holly Corn
- Rusty Corn
- April Erwin
- Sasha Fitzpatrick
- AhShalla Harris
- Brad Owings
- Stacey Owings
- Scott Pearson
- Kelly Rodgers
- Stephanie Sams
- Stephanie Sewell
- Deseret Woodward
- Yvette Woodward
- Kim Augustine (Spanish)
- Carolee Corn (Primary)
- Duane Duff (Principal and Senior Grades)
- Shirley Mason (Elementary)
- Janet Duff (Kindergarten)
- Renée Glazier (Kindergarten)
- Linda Erwin (Art and Music)
- Thelma Kester (Music)
- Iva Hughes (School Board Secretary-Treasurer)
- Ocie Hughes (Caretaker)
- Duane Erwin (School Board Member)
- Carl and Becky Martins (Carl a School Board Member)
- Vern an Doris Pearson (Vern a School Board Member)
- Tom and Donna Rodgers
- Alan and Susan Owings
- Ray and Linda Sams
(If you were one of my students, I would like to hear from you.)
(This page was updated in October 2012.)