August 21, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
For some still living in Geary County, the beginning of the new school year brings back memories of a one-room school house educational experience. Four generations of one family all attended the Alida School, which was located in northwestern Geary County. Mrs. Lester Esasser wrote an interesting history of the school in 1953 and one of her recollections is our story today. Mrs. Esasser remembered a stray burro clattering through the school’s hallway and one of the teacher’s was also a detective. One of the first teachers was Mrs. Jane Ault, whose four children also went to the school.
Because there were no school rules regarding age, it was common to have 18, 19 and even 20 year old boys in school, when there was no work to be done on the farm. One year an unusually large number of boys threatened to “take over” the school. The School Board advertised for a male teacher to manage the rowdy boys. After being hired the male teacher managed to tame the unruly Alida lads. After the teacher left, it was discovered he was a detective who had been tracking a man in Junction City.
Another teacher was said to have carried an opened penknife and if a student misbehaved, the teacher threw the knife, which sailed past the student’s heads and stuck into the wallboard behind them. There are still challenges in dealing with student behavior as there were in the early days of the one room school, the difference is that the teachers in USD 475 have training for managing difficult to handle students and there are counselor’s and administrators to assist them when needed.
Well, that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.