Thursday, May 03, 2007

Center School

At least five of our classmates of 1957 attended Center School as first graders, located one mile east of Mt. Morris Road on West Grove, according to Sylvia T. who submitted this photo and an article to Farm Focus, March 24, 2005. The photo was taken in 1946 and in the front row are Richard S., Barbara H., Judy T., Sylvia T. and Glenn R.

Sylvia was the third generation of her family to attend Center School and she remembers the playground games like Peggy-move-up and the swing sets and teeter-totter. They also had out-houses and hand pumped water for drinking. The day started, according to her article, with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing. The school had special productions for the holidays with drama, singing and recitation. Parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends would pack the house making the children feel special about their accomplishments.

As all children who attended rural schools, the younger ones listened as the older kids had their lessons--not such a bad idea--and they looked forward to the time they too would be doing those things. On Friday afternoons the studies were put away and they had craft time which produced "pumpkins, snowflakes, Easter bunnies etc., which would carefully be mounted around the room and on the windows." Sylvia remembers her teacher, Pauline Hagemann, as "a classy lady, impeccably dressed" with perfect penmanship who never had to raise her voice to discipline.

According to the county history, Center School was located in Trot Town on the S. Nally property. The early Brethren Colony met in Pine Creek, Salem, West Branch and northwest of Mt. Morris at Center School until the congregation built a church known as Silver Creek, quarried from native limestone just east of the school in 1868. Trot Town grew up around the church and school.

Sources: "Saunders was 3rd generation to attend Center," Farm Focus, March 24 2005, p. 7.
History of Ogle County, Ogle County Board, 1976.

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