Tips from the Pros: Saving School Treasures, from Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

Do you ever think about all the papers your kids bring home from school? There are some that will be treasured, just as there are “special” teachers during their school days.

What about you? Do you have papers from your school days? Do you remember all your teachers? What about those favorite teachers? Or, maybe those that weren’t “favorites” at all! I remember one of my favorite teachers was John Bonam, history teacher from Swanton Local Schools in Swanton, Ohio. He was the type of teacher that made American History come alive. Instead of just reading about people in our books, he was able to add anecdotes for some of the more illustrious figures such as Ben Franklin and Andrew Jackson.

Have you thought about writing down your thoughts of school? Or, draw the school as you remember it? It certainly doesn’t have to be drawn to scale–but rather what teacher was in what room. Who taught what grade?

Remember black boards? Radiators where you put your snowy mittens? Pictures of George Washington on the wall? The desks in high school which were so small you couldn’t get a notebook AND your text book open at the same time? And of course, “mystery meat” in the cafeteria!

Put down your thoughts and include them in your family history. Who knows, you may want to take these thoughts to your next class reunion and compare with others?

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7 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Saving School Treasures, from Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

  1. Not only is this article a great motivator, but it also leads into a project that I’m involved in.
    I belong a small research group called “Muskegon Family Heritage Network,” based in Muskegon County, MI. We are presently researching each of our county’s early township schools, many of which were 1, 2 and 3 room schoolhouses through the 1950’s. In the midst of our research, we have happened upon many early school census and attendance records that have a multitude of names! A great find for genealogists at any level. We’ve acquired many class photos from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, and have attended class reunions, which has led to several interviews with former pupils.
    Our intention is to publish booklets per township that will include the history of each school, memorabilia, photos, short interviews of former staff and students, etc. Proceeds from the booklets will help to fund further research projects and will also be made availiable to local libraries and school district offices.
    I would encourage other small groups to do the same in their communities. It’s surprising how much information can be discovered about a person’s family in researching the schools their parents and grandparents attended!
    Starr Rico,
    Muskgeon County, MI

  2. As a scrapbooker, I’ve come up with another way of saving those school memories. I have a file box for each new school year that all papers (homework, drawings, tests, etc.) go into as my daughter brings them home. At the end of the year, I go through and scan several of them so that I have a digital image of them to keep and also to use on scrapbook pages in a smaller format than the original. The file boxes are plastic, so they get sealed and stacked in our storage closet anyway, but it’s nice to have an electronic version of many of the papers filed away.

  3. I have the pleasure of having copies of my mother’s report card from 1917/1918 school year in the second grade. During that same year she got a certificate for achieving a 100 percent in spelling for twenty lesson. As I was going through the same age she was a great inspiration to me doing my homework, great teacher. The school she attended was a small one room school in Darby, Pasco County, Florida. The building is still there although someone bought it many years ago and made a lovely house of it. Her teacher for that year was a Clemmie M. Croft for anyone that may like to relate to that point in time.

  4. I started a “memories of one-room country schoolhouses” on my web site. See the right nav. Sometime I plan to move this to its own separate site but this will be good for sometime to come. My “site update” plans are always bigger than my time to actually make them. Sigh!

  5. Pamela’s idea of a file box for each school year will also serve her well when her children graduate & she wants to create a retrospective table. I used a simple file folder in a file box for each year. I also found that putting all the certificates in a protective sleeve in a 3-ring binder worked great: it gave my girls a feeling of accomplishment when they added a new certificate. It also kept those papers off the counter and nicely preserved! It was a real easy thing to put out at graduation open house, too. It even tells a story of its own: are the certificates academic? sports? arts? citizenship? music?

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