From Preservation Issues, Volume 6, Number 1

Reflections on Attending Lincoln School

by Forest W. Price.
(Photo unattributed.) This historic post card, ca 1930s, shows Lincoln School students (left to right Harold Brice, Bezolia Salmon, Willetta Weir, and Robert Holman.
Not often do many of us have the opportunity of sharing memories of our past. For that reason, it is a pleasure to share my memories of Lincoln School to assist in listing the school in the National Register of Historic Places.

I attended Lincoln School from September 1936 through May of 1943, completing grades one through eight. The high school grades had been discontinued and high school students were transported by bus to Garfield High School in Mexico, Mo., for grades nine through 12.

Since there were small numbers of students in each grade at Lincoln School, we easily fit into the building. For example, students in grades one through four sat in grade rows in the second floor classroom on the southeast corner of the building; students in grades five through eight sat in grade rows in the second floor classroom on the southwest corner of the building; and students in grades nine through 12 sat in grade rows in the northeast corner of the building. There were two classrooms on the first floor of the building that were reserved fro mathematics, home economics and other classes.

All students met in the largest room located on the northwest corner of the building on the second floor each morning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. We then sang the Star-Spangled Banner. Any announcements to be heard were read, we sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, and students left for their classrooms.

I also remember older and higher grade students teasing the younger and lower grade students as we filed out. This inspired us to strive to become upper grade students, thus gaining the respect and admiration that went along with age and accomplishment.

As I recall all students with good behavior were permitted to recess at the same time but were encouraged to "play" in our own grade levels, thus avoiding any difficulties that could arise between older and younger students. This was usually accomplished easily as most students when not supervised by the instructional staff were corralled by an older sibling, relative or friend and told to stay in their own peer group.

There were two teachers for the elementary grades and the principal who taught the high school students. I believe later another teacher was added to teach in the higher grades. The principal also held conferences with parents, conducted the assemblies, met with the superintendent of school and meted out punishment deserved by older students. All in all, we were a conforming group of students who kept our mischief to minor infractions with a few exceptions.

The school year usually began the first of September, skipping Labor Day, and ended the last week of May the following year. I believe we followed the school calendar dictated by the state board of education. Our school day began at 9:00 in the morning and ended at 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon, which was uniform with most schools in the state. However, local custom at the time sometimes dictated the school calendar.

The assembly room on the second floor where we assembled each morning took on a special importance when there was a play, musical, baccalaureate or graduation held. I recall the stage, which could be closed with heavy purple drapes when desired, grew smaller and smaller as I grew older and taller. I suspect this was true for most other students as well. It was here that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, your minister and other friends came to see a student performance of any kind from first grade through graduation. There was usually a Halloween party for students and families, as well as a Christmas play or celebration of some sort for presidential holidays, etc. Some activities involving food and drink were held in one of the larger rooms on the first floor of the building. This room was just off the kitchen, had a concrete floor that had been sealed and painted and thus could be easily cleaned. It also was near the boys and girls bathrooms, which were located on the first floor.

The weather in this part of the state was usually not severe, but the building was comfortably heated with a steam boiler that fed all the steam radiators. If there was a malfunction of the boiler, a school holiday was instituted. This always delighted the students, but was not necessarily welcomed by the parents who greatly desired we be provided a quality education.

I cannot express the gratitude I feel for the education and social growth experiences Lincoln School, the instructional staff and the community provided me. The high expectations of the staff and administration were clearly and consistently demonstrated and the caring expressions of older students and the community combined to motivate us to always strive to do our best academically.

The basic education I received at Lincoln School allowed me to complete a high school curriculum at Garfield High School. I was graduated valedictorian of my class in May 1947, was awarded a Curators Scholarship to Lincoln University of Jefferson City, and have since completed graduate school at the University of Denver. I have also been fortunate enough to complete numerous post-graduate classes and seminars as a family therapist at leading universities and medical schools in the country.

I have also had the privilege of serving on several state mental health boards and am most proud of having served a twelve-year term as a member of the board of trustees of a large teaching hospital. Two of those years were served as chairman of the board.

Again, all of my success has been a result of the opportunity given me by my family, the caring instructional staff and the community that made up the Lincoln School of my youth.

All text and photos are taken from Preservation Issues
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Historic Preservation Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Editor: Karen Grace
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