My High School Days

After 7 years of elementary school I entered high school in September 1939 and graduated in May 1941. At that time, South Carolina only required 4 years or a total of eleven years for all public schooling.

My small town had a population of less than one thousand, with the high school enrollment of approximately 80 pupils. My graduating class had 16 students. In the south during the Depression, the agriculture environment was paramount. This contrasts to today where less than 1% of all families live on a farm.

My school day started at 8:15am and ended at 12:15pm. I had a 20 minute walk (no buses), ate dinner at mid-day, and either worked on the farm or practiced two sports - basketball and football.

The concentrated day was 4 hours of classwork with no study halls and a short recess of 15 minutes in all 4 years. It started with a 1/2 hour class in spelling, followed by 3 courses of math, english (grammar, writing, literature) 2 years of french, American and World History, and 2 years of geography. The same text books would be used year after year and were passed down or sold. In the last two years our home room teacher held for one hour each week, a class in current events, with the text book being “The U.S. News and World Report” magazine.

Our homework was very limited, with mother usually aiding us in late afternoon. At that time we usually had time to review the nearby city newspapers, both morning and evening editions. This, of course, included the comics.

I believe the small classes, the personal attention by teachers, much discussion time, and family involvement made my schooling very valuable. This led me well into college, graduate school and years in the business world.

Now, 75 years later, I learn from various media that, in general, public schools are not led by professional educators, plus there is little family attention.

I strongly believe that my experience was much more fruitful than it would be today.

If I could look back into the future I would tell my home room teacher, that I could not do my homework because my computer crashed.

David Daniel
Southbury, CT © 2014

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