Old Myers Street School

A RAMBLING WOODEN, two-story building known as Myers Street School was the hubcap in the spoke wheel of Brooklyn. This enormous, ungainly structure with several large shade trees surrounding it was in the middle of a square plot of land fronting on Myers Street. Reports from various sources say that the school was named in honor of Mr. Myers who sold the land to the city for a school for colored children in 1887. At one time, it was the only school in the city they could attend. To know something of the history of Old Myers Street School gives one a pretty good idea of early educational planning for colored people.
 
In the beginning years, Myers Street School was said to have been a small structure with eight rooms. When I attended the school, numerous rooms had been added from many angles until all architectural design was lost, and finally ended up as a monstrous building of twenty-five rooms. The grades went from the first through the eighth.
 
Many people called it a fire trap and were constantly afraid for the safety of their children. Fortunately, no fires occurred during the many years it was used. Numerous fire escapes were build on the outside of the building to help eliminate this hazard, but the steps were quite high and steep. As the attendance continued to increase, more and more fire escapes were added on all sides until the structure resembled an octopus with many gangling legs.
 
The principal at that time stressed regular fire drills because he was aware of the fire risk involved with so many children housed in such a large, wooden building. In the back of the main wide steps situated on each side of the front hall was an enormous iron bell.
 
The signal for a fire drill was a tapping of this big bell a certain number of times. When the children heard the designated number of taps, they poured out of the building in a constant stream from all sides. If some rooms were far away and couldn’t hear the bell taps, other teachers would quickly alert the neighboring rooms. It was quite a spectacle to see the children evacuate the building in such an orderly and efficient manner. It was almost a miracle that no one fell while hurrying down the high fire escapes.
 
Children from all sections of town attended Myers Street School. It had quite a reputation for having teachers who thoroughly trained their students even though the building and equipment left much to be desired.
 
Eventually, a few schools began to be built in other sections, but many of the parents thought so much of Myers Street School that they insisted their children attend the school they had attended. Sometimes, strenuous measures had to be taken to get them to enroll their offspring in schools nearer their homes.
 
Before the erection of schools in various sections of the city, many children had to walk long distances to get to Myers Street School, especially children from the Biddleville area. This caused severe hardships for those who came on days when the weather was rough. Coats would often have to be dried and hands rubbed and immersed in cold water to stop the severe aching from the cold temperatures experienced as they trudged to school.
 
Walking to school when the weather was rough was hard and often disagreeable, but on pleasant days, particularly in the springtime, children had loads of fun. Sometimes this meant poking along for the first part of their journey, stopping by the store, eating a part of their lunch, gossiping, playing, even exchanging a few punches before suddenly realizing that they were almost late and taking off in a mad rush to get to school before the last bell rang.
 
I remember some of my classmates rushing in almost breathless as they just made it before the time limit was up. The punishment for habitually being late was to be sent back home and few wanted to face the wrath of their parents, particularly if they had started to school on time.
 
One of the most interesting and anxiously awaited experiences in a child’s life is the first day of school. His little heart beats furiously and his face is full of wonder as he approaches this eventful day. This is usually an exciting time in the life of parents also, particularly for the mother since she is more than likely the one who enters a child in school while the father is at work. Parents are rightfully concerned, though, as they can never tell just what reaction this new experience will have on their offspring.
 
Years ago, as well as today, when September came near, mothers were busy making preparations for their children to start school This entailed making new school clothes and patching those they already possessed. An important part of school paraphernalia for the very young was a book satchel. They were usually the sling type with one part hung over the front of the body and the other over the back. The satchels were usually made of gingham, cambric or some other cotton material. They were often embroidered or had the child’s name worked onto them. A slate with a slate pencil was learning equipment used in early years by children who went to Myers Street.
 
Later, the use of big wide pencil tablets became popular. But some form of practice material slate or tablet and pencil had to be in the book satchel when the child started out for his first learning experience. Of course, there had to be a lunch which was also put in the book satchel if no lunch box was available.
 
Books were of every kind and description. Sometimes parents put whatever books the older children had used in the book satchel for the little ones to use again. Webster’s Blue Back Speller was a standard text for spelling in all grades and many of us remember two of the favorite early primers, Baby Ray and The Little Red Hen.
 
Three early, and some of the best remembered, first-grade teachers at Myers Street School were Miss Addie McKnight, Miss Minnie Caldwell (later Mrs. Jamison), and Mrs. Muldrow. Miss Addie was a gentle, patient woman whose goodness was etched in every line of her face. Many people clamored for Miss Addie to be their child’s first teacher. Long ago, there seemed to have been no limit on the number of children put in a first-grade room at the opening of school, and it was often remarked that Miss Addie’s line of children appeared almost endless as they marched into her classroom. Little children were packed in rooms until sometimes they numbered sixty-five or seventy strong. Some effort was made later to give teachers relief, but the enrollment in first-grade rooms was very large most of the time.
 
Miss Minnie was of small stature, vivacious and quick in her movements as I remembered her. At the early age of four, I began school and was placed in her room. Miss Minnie was very patient with me, and she became my ideal.
 
I remember a big red apple that my mother had given me for my lunch one day. I placed it on the seat beside me, and every now and then I would pick my apple up and look at it. It was the most delicious-looking apple in the world to me. We were forbidden to eat in school, but it seemed that I just had to taste that apple. When I thought that Miss Minnie wasn’t looking, I leaned over and sneaked a bite. It tasted so good that I took another and another until I had eaten one half of my apple. Now, I realized that Miss Minnie saw me eating my apple, and I am appreciative of the fact that she let me enjoy a part of it in school.
 
First- and second-grade rooms had many over-age children. I remember several grown boys in long pants who were in these early grades. For various reasons, they had not been able to attend school before, so when the opportunity presented itself, they came. No one paid any more attention to their attendance than they did to the little ones. They were accepted as first- and second-grade students and worked along with the grade. Quite often of their own volition, they would take on the role of teacher-helper and do things for the teacher and younger pupils.
 
My mother gave an interesting account of my oldest brother’s first day at school. He was attached to my mother, and when he was informed that it was time for him to enter school, he apparently made up his mind that he wasn’t going to any old school. Our father had other plans for him, so when the opening day came, Mother got him ready and Father dutifully carried him off to enter the first grade. He took him in and placed him in the care of Mrs. Muldrow, a very lovable first-grade teacher and then turned to leave. At this moment, bedlam broke loose. He screamed and shrieked and kicked, and it was some time before order was restored. For several successive days when the school hour approached there was excitement in our home. My father finally had to resort to a switch and walking my brother to Myers Street School each morning.
 
Miss Isabella Wyche was the principal of the school when my brother first began to attend. She was tall, quick of actions, and she was said to have a very forceful and positive demeanor. In some way, Mrs. Wyche’s attention was directed to my brother’s rebellious spirit. The power of authority must have shown on her face, because after my brother discovered that she was scrutinizing his actions, he became adjusted very quickly. From that time on, the switch was laid aside, and his early training assumed peaceful proportions.
 
Big pot-bellied iron stoves were at the back of the rooms and provided heat. The janitor brought scuttles of coal up the high steps and kept the coal boxes behind the stoves filled with the help of some of the larger boys. A large boy in the room would be assigned to stoke the fire and keep it burning as warmly as possible. In cold weather, the children who sat at the back of the rooms nearest the stove were the fortunate ones because the front of the big room was usually drafty and cold.
 
The furniture was very inadequate and crude when compared to school furniture of today. Usually two and sometimes three small pupils sat crowded in a wide seat.
 
There was a lot of blackboard space in a room which was a good thing. In fact, as I remember, the blackboards extended almost around the square rooms. The teachers were usually glad to have lots of blackboard space because it was a valuable teaching aid. Teachers constantly used them to explain the lessons, and pupils used them to practice all types of exercises.
 
If a teacher discovered a pupil with drawing talent in her room, that pupil was assigned to draw the national flag or the state flag on the blackboard. These flags were given a place of honor on the board, and they became a permanent fixture in the room for the year. Pupils were careful not to erase the flags when they cleaned the blackboards. I remember a young fellow in my mother’s room who was quite talented and took pride in going to other rooms and doing their board pictures for them.
 
Stencil drawings were popular at this time. Many teachers used stenciled borders at the top of the blackboards. The stencils were usually put on by pupils who dusted with an eraser over a piece of perforated papers that had a design. When the outline was colored with different kinds of chalk, the border added a gay note to the room. Of course, there was little or no creativity to such a practice, but creativity was not stressed during this period. Copying pictures or using patterns to make a design was considered to be quite correct.
 
The pupil who possessed distinctive art talent was used, but not much attempt was made to encourage the masses to be artistic. In fact, there was no real art program, and the services of a special art teacher had hardly been thought of at this time. Each teacher did her own art and conducted the program for her individual room as she saw fit. The time had not come for children’s drawings or scribblings to be looked upon with high favor. For a picture to be valued, it had to look as if it was a close copy of the original object.
 
Curtains at the windows were in vogue during this period. Many teachers used short, crisp white ones or curtains made of colorful homespun prints to decorate their windows. This bit of originality often gave a home-like look to an otherwise drab room. As a child, I was always happy to be put in a room where the teacher used curtains at the windows. Something about them always made me feel happier and made me feel like I liked school much better.
 
Occasionally, some teachers who liked flowers would bring growing plants to school or plant jonquil bulbs in a container filled with rocks and water. We liked to watch the bulbs swell and get fat. When they finally burst into bloom, we were as delighted with our flowers as the teacher.
 
Some teachers tried to provide a bit of beauty for the drab old rooms by painting on an old table or a few chairs with a bit of gay color and placing them together to make what might have been called a beauty spot. Occasionally, a box of stove polish was procured, and a big boy was assigned to polish the stove. For a while, it looked quite nice and shiny. But in a few days, the intense heat would burn the polish off, and the stove would be its rusty red self again.
Although the old building was bleak and drab in its general appearance, I remember one architectural features as being beautiful--the enormous staircases on each side of the entrance hall. The tread of the steps was wide, and the long banisters on each side of the staircases ended with a large post topped by a round, wooden ball.
 
As children came marching down the steps, they would put their hands enthusiastically on the top of the big ball and swing themselves around the post. I liked this fancy turn. Something about these steps always seemed to fascinate me. I never could tell why I liked them when I was in school, but now I realize that they looked fine and grand like the imposing staircases in pictures of colonial mansions. At that time, they were the nearest and closest reproduction of such staircases I had ever seen in reality.
 
I was continuously thrilled by the measured tramp of the children’s feet as they marched up and down the stairs to the rhythm of a drum. When I was in one of the lower grades, my secret ambition was to grow big, be assigned to an upper-grade room and march up and down these big wide stairs.
 
We had no school library, and the only magazines or books in a room besides the ones in your book satchel were the few that the teachers gathered themselves. A great debt of gratitude is owed to many of these early teachers who tried to supplement and provide materials, meager though they were, for children to read and enjoy.
 
Mother was energetic and constantly searched for new materials and ideas to aid her in her teaching. She was one of the early subscribers to the Normal Instructor Magazine, which she highly valued.
 
Parents bought the school books that were used by the children mainly from an uptown book store. Many children didn’t get any books for economic reasons, and in many homes, there were no books at all that a child could read except an old Blue Back Speller. At times, a few battered old books were sent over from the white grade schools, but these were usually far spent and of little value. If more desks were needed, the same procedure was followed. Someone would locate some discarded or old desks that had been replaced by new furniture in white schools and send a lot of the old marred desks to the colored school. It was a feeble attempt to relieve crowded conditions.
 
The old desks did relieve the situation physically by giving a child a place to sit temporarily. On the other hand, such actions gave a child permanent scars that did something to his spirit. Always being on the receiving end of someone else’s leftovers created unhappy memories that are not easily erased. I do not ever remember sitting at a new desk or even a nice-looking desk during my elementary school years.
 
I am sure that many people like me who were trained under such adverse circumstances have a deep sense of happiness, pride and appreciation that such actions are no longer practiced in our city.
 
The devotional period was an important part of the school day, and I am grateful that the teachers made it so. With a sincere realization that the Bible contains the most beautiful literary treasures in the world and that it precepts are unshakable, they had children learn selected Psalms and portions of the Bible. They also read Bible stories to them.
 
I remember Mother’s worn leather-backed Bible. It was always on her desk or in the drawer as a constant reservoir of strength and help. Very recently, a young lady told me that she was quite grateful to my mother for having had her read and learn to appreciate the Ninety-first Psalms. She spoke of the comfort that she had derived from this Psalm during her lifetime. Personally, I remember learning the Twenty-third Psalm and other Bible verses which have been a comfort to me all during my life.
 
The children at Myers Street School sang well. There were no music teachers, and each teacher taught her own music. But each year, it seemed that the school was fortunate in having some person on the faculty who had outstanding musical talent and training. That person generously shared the talent and helped instruct the children for special programs and the school closing exercises.
 
School closings were show-off occasions and well attended by the community. These colossal affairs were usually given at the City Auditorium on College Street, which was a landmark for many years. This was the only building the school could secure that was large enough to accommodate the crowd of people who attended the closing.
 
For days before the closing date, teachers and children practiced drills, dances, songs and speeches for the long-awaited occasion. In every home where the children were participants on the program that night, pants were pressed and dresses were starched and ironed. New clothes were usually bought for the eight-grade graduates (which was the school’s highest grade at that time). Proud parents and relatives started filling the large auditorium as early as seven o’clock. By the time the hour for the program arrived, almost every available seat was filled. It was truly an auspicious occasion, and the people of Brooklyn seemed to take an intense pride in it because most of them really thought of Myers Street School as belonging to their part of town.
 
When visitors came to Myers Street School, many of them were interested in hearing the children sing. The pupils knew this and took pride in their singing. Occasionally, we were asked by the principal to sing a number for company while standing in a large group on the yard. Then we would really make the welkin ring by singing as loudly and beautifully as we could. One song that was always taught and stressed by Mrs. Jesse Pride, on of our teachers, was the state song, “Carolina.”
 
I remember the visit of Madame Azalia Hackley, a beautiful woman and a noted soprano of the colored race, who came to visit our school. When the principal introduced her to our eighth-grade room, her beauty and charming personality awed me. This was my first time hearing a noted singer sing, and her voice sounded heavenly. Perhaps she had come to inspire us, and that is just what she did for me. I truly loved music and her visit made me determined that music would be an important part of my life.
 
Corporal punishment was practiced during this period. large boys were sent to some nearby meadow to hunt for switches, and they usually came back armed with some formidable-looking ones. Just to see one or two switches of that dimension in a corner was enough to make me want to behave forever. Most of them were used on unruly boys, and sometimes the principal varied his punishment by using the paddle instead. When the boys knew that they had misbehaved and a paddling was in store for them, they would put on several pairs of breeches and pad their rear sections with flat tablets and books. After the first lick disclosed this fact, the principal made them remove the extra padding before resuming use of the paddle.
 
I was told that during the early years of the school, children got their water at recess from buckets placed on tables under long sheds built in the middle of each side of the large yard. Before recess, the janitor would fill the tin buckets with water to get ready for the children. At recess, they all drank from common buckets with one or two tin dippers in each. It is almost inconceivable now to think of crowds of children being allowed to drink from the same dippers, but such was the practice at the time. In later years, fountains were placed at strategic places over the yard, and those who attended then enjoyed the fountains.
 
Going to the toilet at school was always a trying endeavor. There were too few stools for the large groups of children that were sent out at one time for recess. Toilet paper was a rather scarce commodity. I remember an old woman who was the janitress and in charge of the toilet paper for the girl’s side. She sat at the door of the toilet, and as each girl passed by, she issued her only two thin sheets of paper. She would sit patiently for hours, tearing a roll of toilet paper into lengths of two sheets--no more, no less. For the sake of cleanliness, the receiver was sometimes frantic for more paper, but each girl had to do the best she would with the allowance.
 
The school schedule was arranged so that all grades from the first through the eighth had recess at the same hour. The big bell in the hall governed all going out and coming in procedures. When recess hour came, the principal or a large boy would ring the bell, and children would get their wraps and lunches and march out for play. Each sex was assigned to a side of the yard. Boys went to the boys side, and girls went to their side.
 
No running back and forth from side to side by boys or girls was allowed. The only interchange was in the case of a stray kite or ball going to the opposite side and being handed back to the owner. Sometimes a sister and brother would have to divide a lunch that had been brought to school in a common bag. Otherwise, the rule was enforced, and each sex knew better than to run over and engage the other in play or other activities unless directed to do so by the principal or the teacher in charge of the yard for the day. Although teachers were stationed on the yard and did their best to keep order, sometimes pandemonium reigned because of the large numbers of children out together. Little tykes were often knocked down by some larger boy or girl, but considering the practice of that day concerning recess, the casualties were few.
 
No planned recreational program existed. Boys played marbles, spun tops, played leap frog and sometimes played baseball. Baseball was a hazardous game because of insufficient space. Boys were seriously hurt more than once for standing too close to the boy who was swinging the bat at the ball. The girls usually played traditional games such as “Pick, Janie String ‘hem Beans,” “Lil’ Liza Jane” or “Malomy.”
 
As long as the children played games, order was usually maintained, but I remember crowds of children running wildly because of some inconsequential happening. Later, recess periods were changed, and smaller groups went out together which was a much better plan for all concerned.
 
Joe, the ice cream man, was an Indian who was allowed to push his icecream cart to the edge of the yard and sell his treats. He was friendly and knew how to stimulate trade by having cones of different sizes to suit the purchasing power of all children. There was a tiny cone that sold for one cent, a larger one for five cents, and a piled up cone went for up to 10 cents. Children came to school with their money for ice cream, and as soon as they spied Joe coming along or stationed on the side of the yard, they surrounded him in a hurry.
 
We were instructed to finish eating the ice cream during recess, but invariably some children would wait until the last few minutes to make their purchases and go trailing to the line with the ice cream uneaten and dripping sloppily as they walked.
 
The vigorous ringing of a small hand bell was the signal for recess to be over, and most children rushed to get to their line. There were always a few stragglers, and the principal, who was usually active (especially on the boys side), would have to hurry them up with a lash or two.
 
Each grade was assigned to stand in a particular place on the yard. Children stood by heights as they lined up. The teachers insisted on as straight a line as possible, and no talking was permitted. If a youngster was called out by the principal, he had to walk into the building before everyone which was something most children hated.
 
A drummer, and I particularly remember Ambrose who was a marvel at drumming, would roll his drums as the signal, and the lines started. First grade usually went first on up to the eighth grade. Many can testify that the marching in performance was quite interesting and full of pep. Sometimes passersby would stop and linger a while to watch the children march in. We liked this, and those with a considerable amount of showmanship performed more tricks than ever. Emphasis was placed on cutting square corners, and the children accepted this instruction from Mr. Pride, our principal, with all the vigor in their young bodies. Boys cut the corners with a dash and precision that might have belonged to a military group, and some girls, not to be outclassed, tried to match the boys. Skirt-tails swished sharply as they cut their corners as squarely as possible, also.
 
During the early years, school children brought their lunches to school in various kinds of containers. Most children used paper bags from the grocery store, and others made use of brown wrapping paper or newspaper. Tin foil and waxed paper for wrapping had not appeared on the market as yet. Some fortunate children possessed lunch boxes of different kinds. I remember one type of box that looked to be made of red leather with straps around it that was quite popular. Others had tin boxes or whatever they could find around the home. Whatever kind they possessed, most children felt “classy” if they had a lunch box.
 
Sometimes the use of paper bags caused a few lunch casualties because they would become wet from the liquid content of some foods placed inside them. Of course the leaking liquid would cause the bags to break which caused great confusion.
 
One morning, an unfortunate, unsuspecting little one came swinging along with his paper poke filled with his lunch, and just as an inopportune time, his weakened back gave way and blackeyed peas flew in all directions. His little eyes were frightened as he scurried around over the floor trying to recover the rolling pees. The teacher, who saw what had happened, tried to take command of the situation, but this lunch was irretrievable. I’m sure that she must have helped the unfortunate one out, though, because teachers and children were usually very kind about sharing something from their boxes or bags with someone who did not have a lunch.
 
Serving hot lunches at the school was discussed by parents and teachers for years before it came about, but at a later period, this dream became a reality. This decision was a boon to children and parents as well because many of them preferred their children buying something hot to eat at school even if it was only a bowl of soup. I do not know who was really responsible for the inauguration of the lunch program at Myers Street School, but I know that the sainted Mrs. Florence Pethel was an early domestic science teacher and operator of the lunch service for years.
 
Miss Florrie tried to coordinate the prices of things sold with the ability of children to pay yet at the same time, provide them with as varied and nourishing foods as possible. For years, she managed the lunch program and did a marvelous job. In later years, this much needed area of service was expanded and improved by the school authorities until it became one of the most helpful and most used departments in this school.
 
I have been told that the first principal of Myers Street School was a man but that the earliest teaching faculty consisted mainly of women. One of the early female principals whom I have mentioned before and for whom one of our city schools is named was the late Mrs. Isabella Wyche. She was said to have been a most efficient principal and a very strong disciplinarian. Children obeyed her every word, and large boys feared being sent to Mrs. Wyche to receive a whipping.
 
At this time children feared getting a whipping at school anyway, for this often meant a repeat in the evening if the parents heard the news. Many parents would previously notify their children that if they got a whipping in school, it called for another one at home. Whippings are not the most logical and effective forms of punishment, and perhaps were overdone at times, but from the large number of juvenile delinquents today, one wonders if they might not be of value in obstreperous cases.
 
After the death of Mrs. Wyche, Mr. Samuel Pride, a capable, experienced person, was appointed to take her place. He is the principal I remember best, and when I think of Mr. Pride, I have vivid impressions of his straight, shiny black hair that seemed to gleam like patent leather to me.
 
Myers Street School had a large front porch, and one of my most vivid memories of the faculty is seeing them assembled on the front porch with our principal, Mr. Pride. Each morning and at recess time, the teachers were required to assemble on the front porch to make sure that the children were orderly and in their lines. Sometimes a teacher would march in the building at the head of her line of children.
 
I personally felt an inner pride as I saw them standing on the porch in a dignified manner. They were to be admired for their culture and distinction. Most of the teachers wore long skirts with white shirtwaists. A wide belt with a pretty buckle usually completed the attire. How they dressed well, kept up civic duties, gave to churches, supported or helped support kindred, and often shared their funds with some needy, talented child on a salary scale of $35 to $60 per month was a marvel in money management. I know now that they made a remarkable use of what they received.
 
Most of the teachers were well-trained for the times and certainly excellent in teaching the basic skills. Their pupils were drilled to spell, read, know arithmetic fundamentals and write a legible hand.
 
A spelling match to stimulate interest in spelling was an important occasion, and frequently, sister grades would engage in a spirited battle of spelling each other down. Teachers would select long lists of words and have children review them over and over in preparation for this event. This review was a help and quite worthwhile. But always, some tongue twisters with many syllables such as irresistibly, compressibility, or Mississippi were kept in reserve to test spellers, especially at the end when opponents seemed to have the same ability.
 
Friday evening was usually the day selected for spelling matches. Opposing classes would march into a room, line up on opposite sides, and get ready to spell. Usually the best spellers would be placed at the head of the line as captains. Great anticipation and tenseness between the opposite groups were evident. If the captain happened to get spelled down early in the match, faces and spirits on that side would fall to a low point. Often, the unfortunate side would rally with vim and finally became the victors of the day.
 
One of Mother’s favorite books was her old Stoddard’s Arithmetic. Mother loved it and considered its use an important part of teaching arithmetic fundamentals. She respected this book and believed that its use helped a child develop the power to reason through problems.
 
There was a very personal bond of affection that existed between these early teachers and their pupils. The teachers, particularly the older ones, took pride in counseling pupils, and most pupils had great respect for their teachers and had great deference for their advice. A guidance course, as such, was unknown in that period, but most of the teachers made guidance a part of their teaching whenever they felt it was needed.
 
I remember a statement made by Miss Hannah to my class when I was nine or ten years old. “Never sign your name to a paper that says something that you wouldn’t want to see again.” These words always remained fresh in my memory and once saved me from the serious error of signing my name when I should not have done so.
 
I remember how Mr. Pride would go from room to room and give talks on proper behavior and decorum because there was no place for large groups to assemble. These talks made lasting impressions and helped stimulate many children to seek a higher standard in deportment and daily living.
 
Other efficient, talented men and women have served as principals of Myers Street School. Mrs. Jessie Pride and Miss Mary Wyche were among them. Miss Wyche gave a very long term of dedicated service as a teacher and a principal at the Old Myers Street School and then moved to the new Myers Street School.
Superintendent Alexander Graham, father of the distinguished and famous Dr. Frank Graham, was a frequent visitor at Myers Street School. Superintendent Graham was the first superintendent of the Charlotte City Schools and held the position for many years. Long after Mr. H. P. Harding was appointed to take his place, he continued to visit the school. I have vivid impressions of his distinguished military bearing, his grey suit with the long coat that hung almost to his knees, and his sharp, piercing blue eyes.
 
My mother often spoke of his visits to the classroom. She said he would walk through and often put up the windows. He would also personally give attention to many minor details of school life as well as to important problems. Even though he was an old man at this time, one instantly recognized the stamp of scholarship, culture and aristocratic bearing that covered him like a cloak. He laid the foundations for the city’s excellent school system that benefits our children today. The worthy and excellent educational structure he helped to foster gave those who came after him a path to follow that has led to great educational progress.
 
Many men and women--doctors, teachers, college presidents, lawyers and others who have distinguished themselves in all walks of life and brought great benefits to mankind--began to climb the ladder of success through training received at Old Myers Street School.
 
In later years, this antiquated old building was demolished, and a new structure was built on the same spot. But in the hearts of many who attended this old school, it still lives on as an imperishable monument to dedicated endeavor.

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