moved to Niles during the fall 1942. 1 lived on Maple Avenue and
was enrolled in seventh grade of Niles McKinley High School. The
following is my memories of the teachers of the building that was
NilesMcKinley High School, then became Edison Junior High, and finally
was torn down when the new Middle School was built.
It was the second six weeks of the semester when my
brothers Walter, Martin and I arrived. Anna Hunyady taught
history. Dolly Werner taught English and James Brown
taught arithmetic. Mary Parter taught physical education
and Jean Donald was the home economics teacher. I guess
I remember them so well because moving to a new town is a traumatic
experience at any time. It is especially so when everyone had a
six weeks head start making friends. It was hard to break in, and
I would go home to New Castle every weekend.
By the eighth grade, friendships had been made so
the year was better and I was happier. I still had Mr. Brown whose
nickname was “Pussy Foot” because he could walk around
the classroom so quietly that you never knew where he was. He also
was deadly accurate with the chalk and eraser. Many of us, mostly
the boys, received a shot on the back head and some more than once.
My English teacher was Mable Hatfield Garfield.
She was one of the Hatfields from West Virginia who were feuding
with the McCoys. She was tough but a great teacher. She gets all
the credit for me knowing the difference between nominative and
objective pronouns. Once she intercepted a note I had written and
she read it out loud to the class. I never wrote another one.
memories of ninth grade included ancient history with Ethel
Morris, who was a gentle lady and treated us lovingly. But
the greatest teacher of all was Edith Evans who taught
us Latin. Evans wore a hearing aid back in the days when a battery
earpiece and wires were the only way a person could have enhanced
hearing. If you didn’t get the assignment before the tardy
bell rang, you had to call a friend at night and hope that someone
in the class was able to get it all down. She started to teach at
the sound of the bell and was still teaching when you walked out
the door and headed for the next class. I had Miss Evans for four
years and if you asked any of us that had her, they will tell you
that those four years were more valuable to us than anything else
we ever took – even in college.
Our ninth-grade graduation dance was held in the gymnasium
from 4 to 6p.m. Today’s young people will be sure their grandparents
lived in the dark ages. Tenth grade brought Eleanor Galster
and geometry. I prayed every day for an appendicitis attack so I
could get out of her class. Higher math was not one of my strong
points and if it hadn’t been for Dick Barton and
Dick Barker, I’d still be taking it. Her favorite expression
was “Parrot talk, parrot talk, sit down.” One day I
stood in front of the class for 40 minutes reciting the hypothesis
and the proof because I forgot to put a period at the end of the
proof all the while, having her call me a parrot for the entire
time. My classmates tried to tell me what was wrong, but by that
time I was too embarrassed to realize what they were telling me.
grade was also a “Hi-crier” year. English for me was
Journalism class. We published six days a week in the Niles Times.
We started the year with Olive Bowman and ended with Anna
Myde Evans. I guess what I remember most about that class was
Miss Bowman teaching me the difference between its and it’s
and the five Ws that make up the first paragraph of a news story.
Eleventh grade brought up the specter of Helen Duer who
taught English literature. Her reputation as a tough teacher scared
me so much that I chickened out and took speech from T.Craig
Bond, for whom the Niles speech tournament is named.
Photograph of T. Craig Bond, who brought
early renown to McKinley High School in speech and debate work.
He was also one of the ablest and most respected teachers during
his long career at the high school from 1920 to 1959. Mr. Bond was
active in civic organizations and served as library trustee for
many years. He was serving as President of Niles City Council when
he died March 29, 1959.
Sechler was the chemistry teacher and there again, I sneaked
by, by the skin of my teeth. The junior class play was “Spring
Green” and most of the gang I ran around with was in it. It
was great fun and the best part was we got out of the houses after
dark. I also became a cheerleader. Ann Hunyady Clark was
our adviser. It was a different squad than today’s. We had
three girls and three boys. The next year; however, there was only
one boy and the rest were girls. I guess boys decided that was not
a “macho” thing to do, even though there wasn’t
any such word in our language. You also had to cheer both football
and basketball for two years in order to get a varsity “N”.
year, Valorie Schurrager was the American literature teacher.
She was a great teacher. She was teaching advanced placement English
before anyone ever heard of it. It made college American literature
a snap. Earl Hoker was the sociology teacher. I remember
him telling the class about seeing television in New York City.
He said it was the future. I guess he was right.
Photo of Coach and teacher, Earl Hoker
Prom was held at the McKinley Memorial and you could only go with
a junior or senior from our high school. Looking back (and you know
what they say about hindsight), the anticipation was greater than
the event itself, but we would have “died” if we weren’t
asked. Usually you ended up going with someone with whom you had
nothing in common.
High school teachers, Anna Compana and Miss
Collins. Yes, teachers back then dressed for the Junior-Senior
I think of the six years I spent at McKinley as a
wonderful, miserable life. I’m glad I’m chronologically
advantaged, I wouldn’t want to be a teenager again for all
the money in the world.
I also spent another 28 years teaching Physical Education,
Health and ninth grade English in the same school. Somewhere along
the line (Fall of 1957, Ed.) it became Edison Junior High School
and my dear friend Jim Wiand, was my principal.
All in all it’s been a great life. Sarah
Enclosed picture sent by reader, Jim Deiwert. Note; the
church announcement of their forthcoming Easter service “It
is Finished” Very appropriate sign considering the fate of
the building. It is now a grassy field.
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