Education was important in early Glenwood Springs
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” W.B. Yeats “The smiles and expressions of delight on the faces the first day was amusing to the observer. All this was caused by the new blackboards, tables, colored blocks, etc., which the school board has supplied.” Thus was described the opening of the new school year in Glenwood Springs, September 1898. From the primary grades to high school, the Avalanche Echo newspaper provided a recap of the progress made in the Glenwood Springs school for the new school year to date. The column of September 29, 1898, showed students settling into their studies. The primary grades boasted an enrollment of 41 students, most eager to do their best work. Few absences were reported. Grades three through six likewise had good attendance. The fine autumn weather provided great opportunity to move nature studies to the outdoors.Seventh- and eighth-grade teacher, Miss Arnold, had 28 pupils in her class. Her room boasted of new desks, blackboards, books, dictionaries and encyclopedias. Pupils brought floral bouquets to brighten the room. During the month, literature had been emphasized, with the works of Washington Irving receiving the most study.The rooms of the high school suffered from a bit of disorganization. The bookkeeping class awaited the arrival of materials. The library required cataloguing. However, attendance was good. The higher arithmetic and commercial courses received the most popular enrollments. Emphasis was placed on spelling, and during a class exercise, the following was recounted:”The members of the high school grammar class were required to write the word ‘burro.’ However ubiquitous that frisky (?) little animal is in Glenwood Springs, the manner of spelling his name was an unknown quantity to some of the young folks. ‘Burough,’ ‘berrow,’ ‘buro,’ were some of the variations, and one young miss with a streak of Yankee ingenuity avoided the difficulty by writing, ‘jack’.”No doubt the students were curious, bright and creative. However, the educational process could not succeed without parental participation. The school and newspaper encouraged parents to visit any time and to observe classes. Parents also were asked to make sure students attended every day, and to make sure there were no unexplained absences or tardiness. With teachers, students, parents and the community working together, education in Glenwood Springs would be a success.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. For more information, call 945-4448.
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