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Rietbrock centennial
(1880-1980)

Rietbrock schools,   pp. 74-77


Page 74

Rietbrock Schools
The Town of Rietbrock had four elementary schools
from grades one through eight at one time, and one
parochial school. Records show that these schools
were begun as early as 1878; boundaries were set up
in 1880; and the last school closed its doors in 1970.
People identified their schools by such names as the
"green school" or the "white school". However, the
districts and names of the schools were as follows:
School District No. 1 (known as the Green School);
School District No. 2, Hoffman School; School
District No. 3, (Poniatowski White School); School
District No. 4, Silver Arrow School; and Holy Family
Catholic School.
The floor plans for each one-room school seemed
to be the same. They were built as one large
classroom. We entered from a hall where we hung our
coats, scarfs and caps, and we placed our boots neatly
in a line-up on the floor underneath our coats. Our
lunch pails of all shapes and sizes were placed on a
shelf built just for them. In one comer of this hall was
a pail of water for drinking, etc., and as years passed
this pail was replaced by a water bubbler.
The classroom would have an old pot-belly heater,
either in the middle of the room, or to one side, which
the teacher would have started early in the morning so
that the children could warm themselves when they
arrived. Wet clothing from the snow or rain could be
hung close to the heater to dry, and mittens and wet
boots were laid on the floor beneath the stove. On
really cold days we would keep our coats on until the
room got warm. In the earlier days during the
warmer fall days some pupils even walked barefoot,
as shoes were not easy to buy or some could not
afford them.
Much class work was done on the large blackboards
that seemed to cover much of the wall space. Above
the blackboards were several wide board cases which
contained large maps on rollers. These could be pulled
down over the blackboards, for viewing by the
students.
Classes began at nine in the morning and were
dismissed between three and four in the afternoon,
depending upon the season, weather, darkness, etc.
Two short recesses were given-one in the mid-
morning and one in mid-afternoon, each about fifteen
minutes in length-and we had an hour for noon. The
teacher usually had a hand bell to ring when it was
time to stop playing and return to classes. It was
often a reward and privilege to get to ring it-eighth
graders often did it. During this time baseball kept the
upper grades occupied, and the younger children
jumped rope, played tag, or had games where all
played together. Teachers helped the little ones get
bundled up for play and for the long walk home.
According to records, the Poniatowski Public
School provided a hot lunch program for its children
long before the Federal School Lunch Program came
into being. Anna Krell Braun, who lived just a short
distance from the school, would prepare large kettle-
fuls of soup, stew or hot noodle and meat dishes at
her home. At noon two of the bigger boys would run
over and fetch the hot kettleful to the school. The
school board provided a two-burner kerosene stove at
the school, so the teacher could prepare hot cocoa or
other extras. The children usually brought their own
bread or so.
Early in December we started practicing for our
school Christmas program, spending weeks memoriz-
ing parts for plays. At first the teacher would skip
a class or two to begin rehearsals, but the final week
all the time was spent for practicing.
Valentine Day was also very special. Most of the
valentines were made by hand. At school we were
given paper, paste and scissors. We would then cut
and fold the paper and would write verses on, and
they then were ready for the valentine box. This was a
large cardboard box with a slit in the top so the
valentines could be slid in. Then, on Feb. 14 they
were distributed. Boys or girls would giggle or blush
when they received one from the opposite sex.
Picnic days were a lot of fun. Although saying
goodbye to our friends and our teacher was sad, in a
way we were happy to be free for a few months. In
the fall we would be only too glad to come back.
The schools were gradually beginning to close, after
years of children passing through its doors. Like all
large one-room schools in Marathon County these four
schools gave way to the State School district reor-
School Dist. No. 1 known as the "Green School" Some identified pupils are
front row L-R unknown, Benedict Stencil, Ed Milkowski, John Woznicki, unknown,
John Stencil, unknown, 2nd row, Philip Stencil, Earl Koening, Adela (Miller)
Nowicki, John T. Miller, Sally (Miller) Wisnewski, Isabella (Muskowski) Crotty,
unknown, unknown, Josephine (Wisnewski) Wadzinski, 3rd row, Josephine Stencil,
unknown, unknown, unknown, Helen (Urmanski) Myszka, Unknown, Unknown,
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Last row, Irene (Miller) Jesko, Anna Bonin,
Teacher, Francis (Sekorski) Orlikowski.


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