Green, Joy Martinson / Malone School : District No. 2, Springdale Township, Dane County, WI : a compilation of memorabilia
[Memorabilia] PDF (35.6 MB)
One room, lots of learning DAVID SANDELIJTHE CAPT People who attended the Malone School enter the former one-room school near Mount Horeb Sunday on a tour during a reunion. Former pupils of Malone School gather to share memories DAVID SANDELLfTHE CAPITAL TIMES Jim Crimmins of Algonquin, Ill., shows his wife, Nancy, and his grand- daughter Katie Rayas an old class photo of himself when he was a stu- dent at the Malone School. By Ann Made Ames Carrespondent for The Capital Times MOUNT HOREB - Bigger isn't necessarily better, at least not according to the former stu- dents and teachers of the Malone School, a one-room schoolhouse that served farm families near the unincorporated town of Mount Vernon. More than 50 people gathered Sunday after- noon to share memories at the first-ever Malone School reunion. The event was cen- tered at Deer Creek Sportsman's Lodge in Mount Vernon, but shuttles to the former schoolhouse ran regularly. "It was a close-knit community," said Isabel Lienau, an educator of 44 years who was teaching 28 students in seven grades at Malone School when it closed its doors in 1962. "You can see that from the way so many people traveled so far to be here today, and by the way we're having such a good time." The former school building, now a private home, is located on Wisconsin 92, three miles south of Mount Horeb. It served students in the first through eighth grades until its clo- sure. Due to declining enrollment, a state law forced rural schools to close or associate with a school district. Attendees at the reunion recalled their expe- riences and the educational opportunities they had that they say are just not available in larger schools. See MALONE, Page 4A MALONE REUNION The Capital Times September 19, 2005 DAVID SMELL/TE CAPITAL" Former students of Malone School In Mount Vernon chat about the old times at their first reunion Sunday at Deer Creek Sportsman's Lodge. Malone 0 Continued from Page 1A "We learned from each other," said Verna Fargo, 92, who was the oldest former pupil to attend Sunday's reun- ion. "By the time you got to eighth grade you knew the ma- terial, because you'd heard it all recited before." Fargo, who graduated from Malone in 1925, explained that students sat in double desks. A boy and a girl would sit to- gether. "Usually a seventh-grade boy and a first-grade girl, so they wouldn't fight," she ex- plained. The teacher would call each class by grade to the front of the room to recite lessons, one subject at a time. In the mean- time, other students would study at their desks or play outside. "First-, second- and third- graders went out to play to- gether," said Bill Steinhauer, the transportation coordinator for the Mount Horeb Area School District. "The third- graders were expected to be in charge." His brother, Irv Steinhauer, 65, remembers the boys being assigned a "special project" to keep them busy while the teacher was helping other stu- dents. "We were sent down to the Deer Creek to build dams," he said. 'We did such a good job that we actually made the stream below the dams dry up. We'd come back to school wet and muddy. Nowadays we'd be in jail, but the teacher needed us out of her hair." Nearly every former student of the school, which opened in 1908, recalled how beneficial it was to have young students and older students learning to- gether. "There was never a matter of students bullying, because they created an environment that gave students responsibil- ities in proportion to their age and wisdom," said Dennis Thomson, a professor of mete- orology at Penn State. "Older students helped younger stu- dents. I'm probably a univer- sity professor today because of that very early training in edu- cation ethics. Those seeds are sown very early." Lienau agreed. "I never had any discipline trouble," she said. "The older children looked out for the littler ones." Thomson, who graduated from Malone School in 1955, added that another benefit was that each student had an as- signed chore every day. "Every day you had a job - sweeping, cleaning erasers or cleaning the bathroom. You then had an investment, an ownership of the school," Thomson said. One disadvantage was the limited number of resources available in the tiny school. The library consisted of one bookshelf for all eight grades. "I bet I read that book about railroads 10 times," Thomson said. Dorothy Bliskey, a freelance writer living in Fond du Lac, said rural schools in Dane County did have some advan- tage over schools in other areas because of the proximity to UW-Madison. "Someone was always com- ing out from the university with programs about nature or music that were designed for rural schools," said Bliskey.
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