Snapshots of yesteryear – Grand Island Independent

Most individuals learn their historical past from books. If they're actually formidable, they study historical past by studying previous editions of newspapers, which some have described as “the tough first draft of historical past.”

However a 44-year-previous time capsule that had been saved securely within the partitions of Jefferson Elementary gives one more means of recalling the historical past of the college.

The college’s bodily historical past is succinctly captured in “Grand Island Public Faculties Historical past 1955-1991,” which was written by Gerald Bryant, former Grand Island Public Faculties assistant superintendent for curriculum. In accordance with Bryant, the unique two-room Jefferson was constructed and opened in 1911, with a six-room addition inbuilt 1913 and one other addition in 1920. That 1920 enchancment included 4 extra school rooms and an auditorium. Three extra school rooms had been added to Jefferson in 1950.

However a lot of the development on the Jefferson college that almost all present Grand Island residents acknowledge began within the fall of 1972, with the official groundbreaking ceremonies going down on Nov. , 1972, in accordance with Bryant. The brand new college opened to college students in August 1973.

All of Bryant’s historical past matches up fairly properly with a doc that was included within the time capsule, which was saved contained in the partitions of Jefferson Elementary till that constructing was demolished earlier this yr.

The time capsule provides colour to the Jefferson story. For instance, the doc famous that when it turned essential to find a faculty north of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and within the “west half of Grand Island,” a one-room body constructing referred to as the “Useful college” was opened at Sixth and Broadwell. Many individuals at the moment contemplate Sixth and Broadwell to be within the heart of the Grand Island.

The Useful college was the predecessor to the brand new Jefferson College that opened farther to the north in 1911.

The time-capsule doc supplied extra particulars in regards to the 1950, three-room addition to Jefferson Elementary, saying it consisted of a “new trendy kindergarten on the north and west half of the previous constructing and a pair of rooms above. This necessitated making one classroom within the previous constructing into rest room rooms.”

Whereas development of the brand new Jefferson was underway, Bryant’s e book famous that “Amenities had been leased from the Greek Orthodox Church, Baptist Church and the Church of the Nazarene. College students had been moved into these places for the final two months of college in 1973.” That piece of historical past about college students attending lessons in close by church buildings was mirrored in a scholar-created college newspaper referred to as “The Jefferson Journal.”

One article, headlined “Chemistry Explorers,” stated:

“If you happen to smelled one thing like cotton sweet within the First Baptist Church on Friday, March 23, and Wednesday, March 28, 1973, I can inform you what it was. It wasn’t cotton sweet, however sugar held in a spoon over an alcohol burner. We, the sixth-grade at Jefferson Elementary, watched because the sugar turned brown, crimson and eventually, black. Are you able to guess what it changed into? Merely some carbon like that discovered on burnt toast or an overdone marshmallow.”

One other article stated Jefferson college students participated within the Enjoyable and Health Pageant within the boys’ gymnasium at Grand Island Senior Excessive on March 30, with one class of college students performing 4 sq. dances — “Oh, Johnny,” “Singing the Blues,” “Grand Sq.” and “Tennessee Birdwalk.” Different college students took park in a leap rope drill, whereas nonetheless others participated within the broad leap. Pupil Cindy Tagge had the longest leap of any of the Jefferson college students at 6 ft, three inches.

Two different paperwork within the time capsule give a broader view of the Grand Island college district, in addition to town. One was the 1972-73 college phone listing, a doc that's nonetheless printed every college yr. The 1972-73 listing, although, is a mere slip in comparison with the a lot thicker phone listing printed at the moment.

The 1972-73 listing listed the college for 14 faculties: Grand Island Senior Excessive; Barr Junior Excessive and Walnut Junior Excessive (then at 504 N. Elm), each of which had been for seventh- by ninth-grade college students; in addition to the Ok-6 elementary faculties of Dodge, Gates, Howard, Jefferson, Knickrehm, Lincoln, Newell, Starr, Wasmer and West Garden.

It additionally listed the individuals who labored at Connell College (now demolished), whose workers included Bessie Frith as principal, a second-grade instructor, a 3rd-grade instructor, a media specialist, a media aide and a 13-person workers listed below particular providers or particular training.

The entire listing simply listed the names for single girls academics, whereas it made positive to precede the title of every married lady instructor or administrator with the title, “Mrs.” In 1972-73, GIPS had three girls directors — Betty Nelson at Knickrehm, Susan Wiese at Lincoln and Frith at each Starr and Connell.

The 1972-73 listing additionally confirmed the college funds, which had complete estimated annual disbursements of $5.39 million, with a complete bonded debt of $.91 million. On the income aspect, the quantity “To Be Raised By Taxation” was $three.41 million. In these days, GIPS additionally obtained $14,500 from beer licenses and $three.500 from tobacco license.

The time capsule contained a promotional doc from circa 1946, which advocated for a 10-year “pay-as-you-go” constructing plan, which it stated was “higher than a bond situation” as a result of taxpayers wouldn't need to finance the curiosity prices. That doc famous curiosity paid on a 1924 bond situation totaled nearly $290,000, which “would have constructed a brand new trendy elementary college constructing.”

The pamphlet stated the 10-year plan was wanted as a result of GIPS enrollment would proceed to develop. It bolstered that declare by citing the rising quantity of births in Grand Island. In 1936, Grand Island had 442 births, with a category of 254 kindergartners in 1941. In 1946, Grand Island had 917 births, leading to a kindergarten class of 642 college students in 1951.

The pamphlet vastly overestimated town’s 1946 inhabitants at 24,277 residents, nevertheless it most likely was rather more correct when it stated complete college enrollment in 1946 was at an all-time excessive of three,908.

The doc apparently was positioned within the Jefferson time capsule as a result of that college was one of quite a few buildings that was scheduled for enhancements below the proposed 10-year plan.

The scholars who created the April 13, 1973, version of “Jefferson Journal” didn't get into the weighty topic of college finance, however they did be aware that the development employees had been constructing the brand new Jefferson for seventh months and that “the cornerstone is to be laid quickly.” This time, Bryant’s official historical past gives the main points, noting that “The Cornerstone laying ceremony on April 28, 1973, was performed by the Grand Lodge A.F. and A.M. of Nebraska.”

Now a brand new college is being constructed on the positioning of the previous Jefferson Elementary. If individuals wish to get an concept of what the brand new Jefferson Elementary — which is scheduled to open to college students within the fall of 2019 — will appear like when accomplished, they'll go to the next internet deal with and press on the white triangle within the center of the display screen to take a digital tour of the brand new college:

The digital tour was created by CMBA Architects, which designed the brand new college.

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Snapshots of yesteryear - Grand Island Independent