Founder’s Day for Parent-Teacher Association
Given February 11, 1969 and February 10, 1970
By Ellen Joyce Brown, Historian, 1969-70
Seventy years ago, on February 17, 1897, the Parent-Teacher’s Association was founded by Alice McLellanBirney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst.
This seems a fitting occasion to become reminiscent about our own Parent-Teacher Association.
Rockport Elementary School is a combination of Silverdale, South Central and Kennedy schools brought together in 1962.
Kennedy School was a combination of the Kennedy building, which holds our Kindergarten and some first graders, and a three-story building immediately adjacent to it on the east which was originally the Rockport Collegiate institute and was torn down when our present building was constructed.
For further history of Kennedy school, let us go back to 1867 when a high school building was constructed by Hosea Merithew and called Seminary school. But, in 1873, the Rockport Collegiate Institute building was purchased for a high school and then Seminary became a grade school. But, a new high school was built and, in the year 1956-57, grades four through eight of Seminary were relocated in the Kennedy combine or Kennedy building and Rockport Collegiate Institute.
The first record found of the president of the Seminary Parent Teacher Association was Mrs. Bertha McCullough in 1933-34.
Mrs. Catherine Keefe was the president of that PTA in 1957-58 when the remainder of the Seminary students, grades one through three, were moved to Kennedy and she became the first President of the Kennedy Parent Teachers Association.
Mrs. Pauline Biggs was the president of the Kennedy Parent Teachers Association in 1961-62, when the children of Silverdale, South Central and Kennedy were brought together. On February 13, 1962, the first meeting of the Rockport Elementary PTA was held and Mrs. Biggs was its president.
South Central, located in the central part of Ohio Township, still stands on Highway 45 or Patronville Road.
Some may remember old district schools of Cotton Oak Springs, Forest Grove, Gum Grove, Strykers, Marsden, Clay Hill, Payne Hill and Oak Grove. In 1921 or 1922 a move got underway to consolidate these section schools into one consolidated school. In September 1923, the building having been completed school was opened. Mr. Edmund Cissna was teacher of the 7th and 8th grades; Miss Arry Snyder; 5th and 6th grades; Miss Ruby Sea, 3rd and 4th; and Mrs. Grace Allen, 1st and 2nd. The Parent Teacher Association had been organized a year or so before moving into the new school and Mrs. Mina Seay was president. The object of the PTA was to draw the parents and teachers closer together by working and planning together. Each month a good program was planned and a large crowd was present to enjoy it. The name South Central was suggested by Lettie Hamilton, and, after much discussion was selected. After moving into South Central, Mrs. Anna Mackey was elected first president in the new building and served two years. The last president was Mr. Joe Hill Mackey, who was the son of Mrs. Anna Mackey, in 1961-62 when the building was abandoned and the classes were moved to Rockport.
Silverdale, located on Silverdale or Old Plank Road, was a brick building exactly like South Central and is now occupied by Sharer, Inc. as a factory. The district or section schools of Silverdale, Lake Mill, Rose Hill, Rock Hill, Knob and Friendship made up this consolidates school. Some of you may remember the school, Mosquito, but it had been closed before the consolidated movement had taken place.
In 1916 several ladies met and organized the “Busy Bees” with Miss Laura Wright as leader and Mrs. C. F. (Addie) Brown as president. On Feb. 13, 1919, 50 years ago, these same ladies held a community meeting at old Silverdale School house for the purpose of organizing tow clubs, the Home Economics Club for home betterment and social life, and the Parent-Teacher Club for community work in general. Mrs. Addie Bretz was first president. On March 13, 1919, at the first meeting, it was decided to separate the two clubs and that the Parent-Teacher Club would meet on the first Friday of the month. This was the organization for the old Silverdale school before consolidation and if a president was elected it is not mentioned.
However, the minutes of the May 13, 1920 meeting of the Home Economics Club reads:
“RESOLVED,” that we the ladies of Silverdale community are not in favor of a four-room school, but, in favor of a building of original plan”.
The building was completed and school was started and on September 19, 1924, the reorganization meeting of the Silverdale PTA was held in the new school house. Mrs. Charles (Martha) Raider was elected president. The last president was either Mrs. Calvin Kaetzel or Mrs. Ellen Kirkpatrick in 1961-62 when the classes moved to Rockport.
In honoring not only our founders of the Parent-Teacher Association, but all those who have expended much effort in its progress, let us review the aims:
To promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school, church and community.
To raise the standards of home life and to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.
To bring into closer relation the home and the school that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the training of the child.
To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for every child the highest advantages in physical, mental, social and spiritual education.
Ellen Joyce Brown,
Mrs. Addie Bretz has the minutes of the first “Busy Bees” and information concerning Silverdale.
Mrs. Robert Parsley has information concerning South Central.
Due to the increase in student population in South Spencer, two 6th grade classes were moved to the high school, kindergarten classes were rented at Trinity United Methodist Church and all 7th and 8th grade students wee sent by bus to Harris Junior High.