The Nebraska Country School Conference will be held July 8th and 9th at Peru State College. During the conference the Otoe County Genealogical Society wants to recognize the outstanding one-room heroes that taught in those schools 150-plus years ago. At one time more than 300 dotted Nebraska’s landscape. President Betty Stukenholtz says it was a method that worked quite well.
Stukenholtz says, “They would start with the younger grades and work to the upper grades. She would have about 15 minutes with each grade. The younger ones would listen to the older ones and hearing about their lessons so when they would move up to the next grade they already knew what to experience. Then the older students helped the younger ones if they had any problems.”
However, teaching in a one room school was usually under extreme conditions with no electricity, no water or indoor plumbing. Teachers often arrived early to start the fire in the stove so the school would be warm when children arrived. Teachers also served as a nurse, janitor, counselor and recess monitor- for a dollar a day.
Stukenholtz says Nebraskans submitted about 200 names of teachers to be recognized. Their names were engraved on a plaque that will be unveiled during the conference and will be displayed at Harmony School near Nebraska City. The conference will also have artifacts from one room schools, several presentations on preserving country school buildings and what it was like for teachers and students. Participants will also tour several preserved one room schools.