This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More on the South Newton Township School

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Beverly Smith about the post on the South Newton Township School:
I went to S.N. grade school for 8 years. I can probably answer a lot of the questions you want to know.
I responded with a series of questions, which she answered:
The upstairs had 2 large classrooms, 1 teacher for 1,2,3, & 4th grade and in the other room 5,6,7, & 8th grade with 1 teacher. The teacher would have 1 grade come to the table at the front of the room and she would teach one subject to that class while the other 3 classes were studying and getting ready for your turn to go up to the front. You had to learn not to listen to what they were studying and do your work at your desk. We may of only had 15 or 20 kids in all 4 grades. Upstairs we had a small library, off of each large classroom we had a small room for our coats. Downstairs we had 2 large rooms, one became the kitchen and lunch room (I don't remember when we got the kitchen and no longer had to take lunch) the other room was like a small gym. The restrooms were in the basement and the furnace room was down there also. We had a music teacher who would come and teach music but I don't remember how often she came.
I usually only had 3 students in my grade, once we had five. The ones in my class  all 8 years were: Janice (Zeigler) Eldridge, Elinor Miller and myself Beverly (Wortley) Smith. The 3 of us graduated the 8th grade in 1954 and then we went into the high school. North Newton and South Newton combined the 8th grade graduation and believe we had 6 or 8 kids altogether.
Some others that I can think of living in Rensselaer are: Alan Fleming, Tom Lashbrook,  Alice Beth Miller Korniak,  Dorothy Wortley Cripe, Diane Miller Wood,  I know they are others that I can't think of now.
We had recess outside as much as possible and usually the older kids chose sides and played baseball. The teacher kept score and we picked up each recess where we had to quit and go back to class.
We had some playground equipment that the younger kids played on
My first year or two I was picked up in a car, but from then on a school bus
We always put on a Christmas program, the janitor and some fathers would put up a stage.
We would have skits and sing songs for our parents.
When the school closed it was sold to a farmer in the neighborhood.  I believe he had stored hay or straw in the building which caught on fire and that is what destroyed the school.
I hope this has answered some of your questions an if you have any other questions, I will try and answer them.
I asked if I could use her response in a post because I thought many readers would find it interesting. She said I could and added:
 I knew when I hit send I would think of others who still live in Rensselaer, the ones I remembered are: Carol Evers Hurley, Raymond Hickman, Ronald Kaufman, Donald Battleday,
I'm sure there are many others still living here also.
You may post whatever you'd like if you think people would be interested in our little school.
I do believe that Alan Fleming's grandfather was our janitor. Alan and I got together a few years back to try and name all the kids in our school pictures. I know he can probably remember a lot more things. He just lives about a mile from the school on Bunkum Road.
And now you know more of the story. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments and maybe they will get answered.

Here are a few more pictures. The first is from the top of the western stairs looking down.

The second shows the eastern staircase, or what is left of it. I am not sure what the pipe was, but my guess would be that it was part of the heating system.

This last picture shows the ceiling from the basement hallway. It appears to be deteriorating, so at some time in the future the structure will become unsafe. 

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