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Back to school: Then and now

Postcards high school webBy Linda Emley

August is just around the corner so we all know that it’s that time of the year and school will be starting soon. My youngest son graduated a few years ago and I miss the fun of getting a child ready for a new school year.

I was reading a Richmond Missourian newspaper and decided to flip the pages over to August and see what I could find for the 1941 school year. On the first page I checked, I found an interesting ad for Richmond High School. The date was Aug. 28, 1941, and on page 7 there was a half-page ad. It read:

“Announcing the Opening of Richmond High School, Richmond, Mo. Tuesday, Sept. 2,1941.

“Richmond High School has been a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since 1927. Membership in this organization is limited to a small percent of all the schools of the North Central states and requires a standard of excellence in excess of the ordinary requirements for first-class high schools.

“Our modern school transportation service will be augmented this year with another new all-steel 36 passenger GMC bus.

“An activity program to supplement regular school subjects has been operating in the Richmond High School for more than ten years. Students who desire may pay 10 cents a week toward this program and receive the benefits of the entire athletic program, music and dramatic events, a series of professional assembly entertainments, and a copy of the school yearbook, which has been published continuously since 1920.

“Textbooks are school-owned and rented to students on the payment of $3 at the opening of school. Each student receives a full set of books for this fee, $1 of which is refunded at the close of school if books are returned in a reasonable condition.

“All students who attended Richmond High School last year were enrolled in May. New students who have not called at the High School Office should do so no later than Tuesday, Sept. 2. The public school is your school. It offers opportunities that few, however wealthy, could or would be willing to pay for individually.

“Richmond High School offers more than 45 subjects of instruction from which students may select courses best suited to their individual interests and desires. Subjects offered during the current year are as follows… “

The list included all the regular subjects but a few were a little different, like Latin and Defense Training.

There was a high school faculty list with Price Collier as the superintendent and music teacher, and W. Roy Groce as the principal and social science teacher. There were also 15 other teachers.

I don’t have anyone to take shopping for school supplies anymore, but I do get to help some of our local teachers get ready for their new school years. On Thursday, July 31, I get to help sponsor “Teacher’s Night” for teachers of Ray and Clay counties. This event is sponsored by CHARISMA, which is the Clay and Ray County Historical sites, Museums and Archives. It will be held at the Veteran’s Building at 208 Veterans Memorial Drive in Excelsior Springs. We will help educators and teaches integrate history-based learning to address the Common Core. We will cover school visits, traveling trunks, assembly opportunities, field trips and customized programs. Complimentary refreshments will be served and a cash bar is available. We will also have door prizes and a drawing for a grand prize gift basket. The program runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call me at the Ray County Museum at 816-776-2305.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of our local history with any teacher who would like to be part of any of these programs.

If you are wondering what a “traveling trunk” is, it is a container any teacher can check out from the museum. It will include items teachers can use in the class room for a special project. I’m still working on our traveling trunk, so stop by and see it on “Teacher’s Night” or swing by the Ray County Museum.

 

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