Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin], pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)
Was discipline a problem? No, indeed. On the contrary, obedience was observed in the home and consequently in the schools too. The hickory stick so often referred to did not always have to be used. Just one mean look as a reminder would suffice. Is this true in this day and age? I am very sorry to say that the repulsive idea prevalent today is that the school child can do just what his fancy dictates or suggests. You may ask why we have to put up with this. Food for thoughtl All our beautiful school buildings, equipment and wonderful opportunities were not available to so many people for so many years, but they probably would have been more appreciated than they are now. There was a large enrollment, about 30, for a good many years. Then a community club was organized and it worked hand in hand with the school, the influence seeming to work equally well bor both enterprises. In the Apple River Falls Community Club much credit is due to the efforts of William Wiehelman, who was the principal here then. He also organized the 4H clubs and he coached them for a couple of years. His efforts were recognized by the State Institute held here for the whole township of Somerset. It was a three-day session, well attended, and many of its recommendations were put into practice, as noticed later. Several of the larger families moved cities(Minneapolis-St Paul) during the reconstruction program and during the war. Therefore, the enrollment, reduced to one room, had to be discontinued. To this day it is still operating but one room--the primary room. After annexation of the Apple River Falls to our district, the old school was moved to the center of the district. So the new schoolhouse was built about three quarters of a mile further on towards the falls up on a hill. It can be seen for miles and miles around the country. It is a two room schoolhouse, with a full basement well equipped for teaching, cooking hot lunches and manual training. At the last annual meeting it was voted to put in the indoor lavatories. Pupils of 6, 7 and 8th grades were transported to the village graded school." It was quite an advantage to be allowed to attend the public graded school in the village as it seemed almost impossible then to get to some high school. It was quite a distance to neighboring towns, and to room out or work for your room and board was not always practical. There were neither trains nor busses, and it was slow traviling with horses that far. I had the chance of attending the Somerset school for over two years, graduating in 1906. We were the first class that had the privilege of having the first year high. There was much talk of enlarging that schoolhouse during the vacation as the enrollment was too large; and then there was the introduction of the first music practice period besides lessons. Pupils came from great distances on foot through the hard winters, rain or shine, to attend school.
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