McEwensville High School

Friday, January 6, 1911:  Missing entry: Diary resumes on January 12

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later: 

Since there is no diary entry again today, I’ll tell you a little  about the high school that Grandma attended.

Grandma attended McEwensville High School.  The school building is next to the cemetery at the edge of McEwensville. She generally walked the mile and a half or so from her home to school.

Recent photo of the building that once housed McEwensville High School.

 The high school contained only one classroom and it was located on the second floor of the school building—the elementary class was on the first floor. It was a three-year classical high school where students learned Latin, poetry, literature, history, and arithmetic.

In 1911 Rachel Oakes—a friend of Grandma and her sister Ruth—was the elementary teacher.

After they graduated from McEwensville High School some students continued their education by taking a fourth year of high school at Milton or Watsontown. For example, my grandfather went to Milton High School after he graduated from McEwensville.

Milton had a more comprehensive curriculum than McEwensville—and included business courses and other classes that would more directly prepare students for a career.

The last high school class to graduate from McEwensville High School was in 1921. The high school closed because it had few students since most students in the area wanted to attend a comprehensive high school for all four years.  

Twenty or so years after my grandmother wrote her diary, my father attended the school. At that time it was an elementary school. One teacher taught grades 1-4 in the room on the first floor. Another teacher taught grades 4-8 in a classroom on the second floor. 

After the school completely closed in the late 1950s, the building was converted into a fire station. But the fire station is now gone, and in recent years the building has sat vacant and abandoned.

My friends have expressed surprise that my grandmother attended high school. In the early 1900s about half of the children in the United States ended their school careers with an 8th grade education or less.   

However, according to Benjamin Andrews in a 1911 book he wrote about girls’ education, there were more female high school graduates in the early 1900s than male because men could easily get jobs without a degree. A key role of high schools at that time was to prepare students to become teachers.

I don’t know why Grandma’s parents decided to send her to high school. I don’t think that she ever became a teacher.


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