School: North Willard


Surnames: McCormick, Davis, Erdman, Mosher, Apsel, Syth, Goss, Gray, Ehlers, Knutson, Dietzman, Humke, Jordan, Volk, Horvat, Barr, Petkovsek, Kokaly

----Source: Family Scrapbook

Faced with the task of providing housing for their families and for their cattle, the Willard pioneers soon became amateur carpenters and did not hesitate when the need for schools became evident.

The school age children, of the farmers of the area north of Willard, had been walking two or three miles to the Willard school, which was a hardship during cold, snowy weather.

An acre of land was acquired on August 29, 1913 from Foster Lumber Company for $17.00 and was identified as School District No. 5.

During the winter when sledding was good, the pioneer parents cut logs and hauled them to the saw mill. The following summer a basement was dug with hand shovels and a one room schoolhouse was built. They called it the North Willard School. Near the school, they built a wood shed for storing the heating wood, which was in plentiful supply.

The first classes were held in 1914. There were 47 pupils and they were taught by George McCormick for $45.00 per month.

Communications began slowly as all children came from homes where only one language was spoken, the native language of their parents, and the teacher knew nothing of this language. With great patience, hand- signs, sketches and pictures, the barrier was soon broken and the children learned well.

These bi-lingual children made an important contribution in their homes to the younger family members, as well as to the parents in their business transactions.

In September of 1915, Helen Davis took over the teaching duties for the same wage. The pupils now numbered 66. She stayed until the end of the year and from January until May of 1916, Amanda Erdman taught for a wage of $50.00 per month.

These teachers rented rooms from the farm families and usually were able to go home on weekends. They not only taught but did janitorial duties as well.

The first year, drinking water was carried by pail from the Snedic farm across the road. Then, a well was dug near the schoolhouse and a water fountain was purchased. The older children kept the drinking fountain filled.

The school year of 1916 and 1917 was taught by Myrtle Mosher for $55.00 a month with the pupils now numbering 74.

The pioneers were very patriotic and grateful to this new country for the opportunities it offered to them.

Honesty, compassion, respect for fellow-man and country had been taught to them in their homeland.

These noble traits so necessary to the survival of mankind, the parents taught to their children at an early age and the teachers continued the training in this direction. Hazel Apsel taught from fall 1917 to 1918 with a salary of $60.00 a month and 74 pupils. Myrtle Syth taught two years from 1918 to 1920. She had 69 pupils and her salary was $80.00 per month. The next school year (1920) was taught for $120.00 per month by Velma Goss.

The large school yard was an ideal playground for games and the land sloped gently downward to the road. The snow on this slope was firmly packed by the lively feet of the pupils and water then poured over it to make ice. Homemade sleds were brought to school and for several months each winter sledding was the favorite sport. The road traffic was minimal and there were no collisions. With all this strenuous exercise, the farm chores and long walks to school, there was never need for a gymnasium.

The school year of 1921-22 was taught by Mabel Gray for a salary of $120.00 per month, and in September of 1922, Helen Ehlers took over the teaching duties. This kind lady taught here for seven years. Her loving patience and unselfish devotion endeared her to the hearts of all her pupils, and her memory is still cherished today.

Cepha Knutson taught from January to May of 1928, and the following school year was taught by Burton Dietzman.

Rose Humke taught the 1929-30 school year and the next four years were under the teaching of Josephine Jordan.

Albert Volk taught from 1934 until 1938. By then, the mechanized era of automobiles was here and this school district was consolidated with the Willard School District.

The acre of land was purchased by Louis and Anne Horvat in 1946 for $800.00. In 1947, the school building was sold to and moved by Mr. and Mrs. Jake Barr.

On June 30, 1947, Joe Petkovsek bought the acre of land and it was sold by Margaret Petkovsek on October 25, 1956 to Darwin Kokaly, who annexed it to his productive field.



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