Spirit Lake News

Memories of Shady Lawn school

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Pastor Dick Poppen will speak Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on KWAT radio.

Spirit Lake Presbyterian Church drive-up service Sunday, at 10:30 a.m., 88.1FM and live on Facebook.

Duane and Doris Poppen, Aberdeen, were visitors Saturday at the Cork Poppen’s. They also attended a graduation party for Matt Hojer.

John and Margaret Kinder furnished snow cones after services Sunday.

Janice Stoebner, Sioux Falls, was a Monday visitor of her parents, the Cork Poppen’s. She brought dinner and helped with chores.

The Daron Larson family spent the weekend in the Black Hills.

Rainfall Monday, July 20 measured one inch in my gauge.

Memories of Shady Lawn

In this time of COVID-19, many children and young adults are not allowed to attend their school. Parents, computers and on-line lessons are used as a substitute.

I’m reminded with years gone by of rural schools. Shady Lawn #8 in Spirit Lake area was one of many.

In looking at a picture of Shady Lawn around 1931, it shows a one-room schoolhouse, 22 pupils and one teacher. That must have been quite a challenge.

Children did their best, even when they had to stay at home due to severe snow blizzards or helping out at home. They only had books and the teacher’s knowledge for learning.

The Pledge of Allegiance began the day, and music, spelling bees, recitations and citizenship were held for competition, along with their usual studies.

Christmas programs, carnivals and basket socials were held to entertain family and friends.

Most all walked to school, while some rode horses, bicycles or were taken by a family member. Children brought their lunches, perhaps a potato or cup of soup to place on the oil stove to be ready for noon.

A visit from the superintendent was always a scary time, and the teacher hoped the kids would be at their best behavior.

Duties included raising and lowering the flag, cleaning the chalk board, carrying water and on Fridays, polishing the floor by sliding on the compound that was placed down on it.

At recess, activities included ballgames, ante-I-over and leap frog to name a few, and competitions took place with other schools in kitten ball games.

Older students helped the younger ones. Teachers boarded at family homes nearby.

Of course, there were times when teachers needed to discipline. All-in-all, everything was done to educate the children then, as now as well.

Shady Lawn #8 still stands and has been placed on the National Historic School Register. The Presbyterian Church owns the school and uses it to hold picnics and small gatherings.

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