Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt featuring a chemistry classroom is right on target for Teacher Appreciation Week here in the United States. Coming from a family of teachers, I’ve always disliked the old expression, “Those who can, Do. Those that can’t, Teach.” However, I was happy when some smart person added, “And those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” OH YES! – you have to have sat through education courses and dealt with administrators to appreciate that brilliant declaration.
I have written HERE and HERE about my great aunt Violetta Davis Ryan, mostly about her education at the Harrisonburg Normal School (now James Madison University – Go Dukes!). So today, it’s about Violetta, the teacher.
Likely following her graduation from college, she lived at home in Shenandoah, Virginia and taught at a nearby elementary school. However, in 1930 she began a long teaching career at Pleasant Hill School in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County.
Originally the school was a typical one-room frame building used for community meetings, but in 1875 local citizens decided to convert it into a school. Fifteen years later they added a second room and then a third room in 1907. By 1916, the school population had grown such that a new building was necessary.
Land was purchased across the street for the construction of a fine brick building. The Pleasant Hill School operated from 1917 until 1963, and Violetta spent 28 years there.
The school was used as a training facility for education majors at Madison College (formerly the Normal School and now James Madison University – Go Dukes!). Violetta supervised countless student teachers. Because of that role, she was considered part of the faculty at the college. Her official title was Supervisor of Junior High.
|Violetta is second from the left.|
That's her husband Dick Ryan
along with some of her graduating student teachers.
In 2004, I received a lovely email from one of Violetta’s former students:
Just wanted you to know that your Great Aunt Mrs. Ryan was the Principal and my 7th Grade Teacher at the old
in the years of 1943-44. I started
there in the 2nd Grade and remember her well. Pleasant Hill Elementary
Further, she used to give me jobs cleaning her house back when I was young, since our family lived on the farm east of Harrisonburg, now the home of the new James Madison University!
Just thought I would let you know!
[Name withheld for privacy]
Sixty years later and he still had fond memories of his seventh grade teacher.
And that is why those who CAN, TEACH – the hope of making a difference.
Huffman, Larry. History of Rockingham County Public Schools. Rep. Rockingham County Public Schools, 2001. Web. 8 May 2013. http://www.rockingham.k12.va.us/rcps_history/rcpshistory.html
Your assignment is to visit as many Sepia Saturday participants as you can. So run along now. Don’t be tardy.