Monday, December 27, 2010
A Meeting of Old Friends
Last October, the Solvay-Geddes Historical Society hosted a panel of Cherry Road School alums, distinguished guests who graduated from Cherry Road School in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, but still remember fondly their days at the little brick school.
If you would like to see a slideshow of pictures from that meeting, please left-click on this link: Photobucket.
One of the amazing elements of the Cherry Road School story is the enthusiasm with which people who exited through its distinctive double doors, some as many as 65 years ago, recall their days there. Many convene regularly to maintain friendships and recall Mother's Club lunches in the cafeteria, senior trips to NYC, or the excitement of being called to Miss Parsons' office. It was these small yet significant experiences and a life lived in a close-knit community that taught them the meaning of mutual respect, integrity, and responsibility, say many of the alums.
These are the same lessons we long for students to learn today. Unfortunately, there is a lack of leadership to ensure a cohesive team of teachers, the support of community, and the kind of parent involvement that existed for Cherry Road School students. I believe it is these elements, rather than fleeting standardized test scores, that will help guarantee present and future success for youngsters who are today distracted by too much media and too few consistent guidelines to be held to on a day-to-day basis.
The book in progress, The Brass Bell, will explore how strong leadership and community involvement successfully guided a small school in a cherry orchard through rough economic and social times. It will examine why the imprint of the experience is still fresh on the minds of alumni who may now be in their seventies and eighties.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Terry Road School Students, circa 1917
Cherry Road School replaced Terry Road School in 1926. There was a period of time before the new school opened when many community members opened their parlors and their kitchens for classes. School was always at the top of the list of priorities in this community. The book, The Brass Bell, will explore some questions whose answers might inspire and inform educators today who seem lost in the argument about how to make school relevant for students who are failing and floundering in the public school system. Following are some examples of some of those questions.
If you have any thoughts, opinions, or ideas related to these questions, please post a comment. If you would like to be a guest blogger and have your article or story appear here in this blog, please contact me at the email address at the end of this post.
Here are some of the questions explored in The Brass Bell:
1. If the basis of effective schooling must constantly change with changes taking place in economic and social structures around us, how will we ever settle once and for all on effective school reform?
2. How did one small community, surrounded but never engulfed by a city, make use of the best of who they were and what they had to create a school whose original students, and those who attended throughout the years, view their experience at Cherry Road School as the best of their lives?
3. In what ways do the values and the methodologies of the one room school set examples from which schools today might learn and benefit?
4. What can be learned from the life and the successes of one educator who led one school through The Great Depression and World War II?
5. What was it about Cherry Road School that draws grown men and women who’ve lived their lives successfully to keep coming back, coming together, to talk about their days there and in the community of Westvale? People who graduated in the 30s, 40s, and 50s meet regularly to talk about Cherry Road School, Miss Parsons and the other wonderful teachers who helped shape their lives.