Friday, October 21, 2011

Prospect Elementary School

East Cleveland's Elementary Schools

There were six elementary schools in the City of East Cleveland, which explains the name of the regular column, which appeared in the East Cleveland Leader, “The Six Sixes”.  That column was written by Charles Cassil Reynard, a teacher of English, Latin and Math at Shaw high school.  He and his family were our neighbors, when my family moved to Nela View in 1952.  His son, David Reynard, was my best friend throughout Junior High and High School.  However, before I even met David, I attended the elementary school, which I knew best, Prospect Elementary School.  I’m sure the experiences my peers at Kirk and Shaw had at their East Cleveland elementary schools were quite similar to mine. 

Prospect Elementary School - The Building

Prospect School received its name from the street, which ran in front of it.  That street ran between Shaw High School and Prospect Elementary School.  Prospect Street was later named Shaw Avenue even though it was not a clear extension of the Shaw Avenue on the other side of Euclid Avenue.  There was a significant offset at Euclid Avenue.  Traffic wanting to continue North or South on Shaw Avenue needed to make a right turn and an immediate left turn at Euclid Avenue.  Pedestrians were not permitted to cross Euclid from the East side of Shaw.  The crosswalk and crossing guards were on the West side of Shaw Avenue.   The entire time that I lived in East Cleveland the street was named Shaw Avenue.  It should be noted that the street no longer exists after the demolition of Shaw High School early in the 21st Century.  There is no street between Euclid and Terrace at that point now.
Prospect Elementary Original Building

The Prospect school building, which I knew from 1945 until 1952, remained relatively unchanged until it 
was replaced by a new Prospect School in a different location late in the 20th Century.  The current Prospect School is located on Stanwood.  In 1945 Prospect School included several buildings, which were built at different times and interconnected with each other.  The original building was almost identical to the Superior and Mayfair elementary school buildings. Those were the first three elementary schools built in East Cleveland.  The three other elementary schools were built later.  Chambers and Rozelle, built during the 1930s, looked quite similar to each other.  Caledonia School was built last and looked different from all the others. 
Prospect School from Euclid Avenue circa 1941

As Prospect required additional space through the years, new buildings were attached to the old school.  Two of those buildings were built behind and to the west of the original school.  They included classrooms a boiler room and a gymnasium, which was also used as an auditorium.  The newest addition was on the North or Euclid Avenue side of the original school.  Most of these additions matched well with the original school.  The exception was the newest building on the Euclid Avenue side.  The levels on that building did not match exactly with the original school.  Therefore, you could not reach the old building from the new building on all floors.  For a little kid that was sometimes confusing.  However, once I figured it out I was quite proud of myself.  As I recall, my first years at Prospect were spent in classrooms located in the new building.  The fifth and sixth grade classrooms were in the old building. 

Prospect School Administration

Prospect was managed by a Principal whose name was Everett M. Preston.  Mr. Preston was a somewhat remote figure, sort of like the Wizard of Oz.    He was very mild mannered and friendly to the students.  Although most students had few opportunities to deal with him, it was clear that he was the ultimate authority.  It was his voice you usually heard on the PA system.  Mr. Preston managed a staff of approximately thirteen teachers, a school nurse and a custodian.  As far a I could tell, he did a fine job.
 
Day to day discipline at Prospect was delegated to Miss Woodruff, one of the sixth grade teachers.  She was also in charge of the Safety Patrol, a select group of students known by the rest of us as Safetys. Those Safetys were stationed at various points in and around the school and were charged with maintaining discipline.  Members of the Safety Patrol got to wear badges and those, who helped Officer Jack Baker at the Shaw and Euclid crossing, also wore white Sam Browne belts and carried a STOP sign.  One of the duties of the assigned Safety was to ring the school bell at certain times each day.  The bell button was located in the main hall of the old building.  I believe it was rung at the beginning and the end of school, the beginning and the end of recess and at the lunch hour. 

Any student, who violated some school regulation and whose behavior could not be controlled by the classroom teacher was usually referred to Miss Woodruff.  Only the most extreme cases were sent directly to the Principal.  Safetys also sent miscreants to Miss Woodruff.  Because her classroom was located on the top floor of the old building, such referrals were known as being “sent up to Woodie”.  That room on that floor was an awesome place.  Most students didn’t see much of the old building until the fifth grade.  The whole time I was at Prospect I tried to avoid being sent up to Woodie.  I felt sorry for those who suffered that fate unless, of course, I thought they deserved it.  When I finally met Miss Wooodruff, who was my sixth grade teacher, I found her to be a real pussycat.  I even became a Safety and sometimes got a chance to ring the bell. 

My Prospect School Experience Kindergarten - Fourth Grade

Afternoon Kindergarten - 1945  Mrs. Lowry
 Robert Dreifort is the kid in the middle of the picture wearing glasses.  Note: two sets of twins.

My class at Prospect was among the last before the post war baby boom.  The actual baby boom children started Kindergarten in 1951.  In spite of that fact, it was necessary for Prospect to have two grade teachers for each grade.  That was not true for Kindergarten where Mrs. Lowry was the only teacher.  That was because children only went for half a day.  I was in the afternoon class and there was also a morning class.
 
My first grade teacher in 1946 was Miss Marcine Pierman. However, she didn’t stay with the class for the entire year.  Part way through the year she told us that she was getting married and would be going to Germany to teach children in the American school over there. I guess she had married an American soldier on occupation duty.   Some of those soldiers had dependent children in school over there.   She was a nice person and I was sorry to see her go.  That was a time of great hardship for the recently defeated German people.  It is a sign of the American character that we almost immediately did everything we could to relieve the suffering of the citizens of our recent enemy.  I clearly remember bringing certain non perishable items to school, such as soap, toothpaste etc., for sending relief packages to Germany.  This was only one year after the end of the war.  I should add that our sympathy did not extend to Nazis and other war criminals.  We did, however, successfully bring Germany into the family of Western democracies partly due to efforts such as my first grade class project and later the Marshall Plan.
Prospect Elementary 1st Grade 1946/47 - Miss Pierman
Robert Dreifort middle row with glasses.
Note all the suspenders

We must have had a particularly large first grade class that year.  Sometime early in the year they decided to promote some students by a half year.  I assume they made some attempt to determine, which students could afford to miss half of the first grade.  One interesting result of that decision was that my cousin, Linda Dreifort, who started first grade in the same class as me, was one of the ones promoted.  Linda’s family lived on Hastings Road and included older twin siblings named Jack and Jill as well as a younger brother Tom, and sister Kristina.  All of them went through Prospect, Kirk and Shaw.  I also had three other cousins, who lived on Savannah and attended East Cleveland Schools.  My sister, Janet only spent 2 years at Prospect before we moved to the Caledonia neighborhood in 1952.  In any case, the promotion of my cousin, Linda, meant that she was always a half grade ahead of me.  I always assumed that she was probably smarter than me. 
 
I was a small kid and wore glasses, even before Kindergarten.  I was born with strabismus and amblyopia usually thought of as crossed eye.  I had an operation to correct the problem, when I was one year old.  The operation was not entirely successful.  The danger with that condition is that children learn to look at things with only the dominant eye.  The treatment was to wear a patch on the good eye to force the kid to use the weaker eye.  It seems that I resisted that therapy.  The result was that I wore glasses my whole life.  My left eye tended to turn in and I had a slight squint.  I was quite self conscious about that most of my life.  When I got older, I resisted wearing my glasses as well.  At that time my sight wasn’t too bad without glasses and I didn’t want to be a four eyes.  I finally realized sometime in junior high that I couldn’t really see well without glasses.  By then it was too late.  I am essentially blind in my left eye except for some peripheral vision.  I had an operation when I was in my 20s to correct the crossed eye cosmetically, but it was too late to save my sight. I’m now blind in one eye; but very handsome.  The reason I mention this is that I usually sat in the front of the class so that I could see the blackboard better. It also may help explain some of my personality traits such as shyness.

My second grade teacher was Mrs. Mary Visconty.  I enjoyed her class and liked her.  At some point one of the kids in the class said that Mrs. Visconty was a widow.  As a result, the talk of the class was that she was a “black widow”.  That must have seemed funny to a bunch of seven year olds.  It kind of reminds me of the kids on “South Park”.  I’m afraid Mrs. Visconty got wind of that and there were probably some repercussions.  One incident that I remember clearly was the day she disciplined one of the students by hitting his hand with a ruler.  In retrospect, I thought that only happened in Catholic school.  I think the kid was one of the Barbey twins.  If I am wrong, please forgive me.  That happened 65 years ago.  It’s a wonder that I can remember any of this. 
Prospect Elementary 2nd Grade 1947/48 - Mrs Visconty
  Robert Dreifort 4th row middle
Note size of class

Prospect Elementary 3rd Grade 1948/49 - Miss Rice
 Robert Dreifort 3rd row right side

My teachers in the third and fourth grades were Miss Rice and Miss Flegie.  Nothing much happened to me those years.  I sat in my front seat and tried to keep a low profile.  That was the case for most of my elementary school career through the fourth grade.  I did what was expected and for the most part as little as I could get away with.  I did not excel.  I guess I was a little shy and introverted as well.  One of the things I remember from those years is learning how to write in cursive.  It seemed as if we were drawing circles for hours, which I thought was both messy and boring.  It meant using ink pens, which were dipped into the little ink wells on our desks.  Ball point pens were forbidden.  Sometimes some of us would have to go down to the custodian in the basement of the old building to refill our ink wells.  The Custodian, Mr. Valenti,  was a friendly man and his room was a workshop near the boiler room with lots of interesting tools.  Even though I found cursive training messy and boring, I am appalled that the current education theory is that cursive skills need not be taught. We already graduate too many students who can’t read.  Now they won’t be able to write either. 
Prospect Elementary 4th Grade 1949/50 - Miss Flegie
 Robert Dreifort 3rd row left side
Note:  Picture taken inside for first time

We also did a lot of craft projects including pictures and paper cutouts that were often displayed on the windows and walls of the classroom.  Those were usually things based upon the current season or holiday, such as leaves, ghosts, turkeys, Christmas trees etc.  Speaking of Christmas, the entire school participated in a Christmas pageant each year.  Each class would perform a skit of some sort.  The sixth grade always did the Christmas story as told by St.Luke with kids playing Joseph, Mary, the Wise Men etc.  We practiced as a class and then did a dress rehearsal in the auditorium followed by a performance to which our parents were invited.  By the time I reached sixth grade, I had seen the St. Luke Christmas story six times.  I don’t remember my exact role that year, but I was not one of the stars.  I wonder when political correctness demanded that those performances be stopped. 
 
One class project I remember well was a Christmas present we made for our parents.  It was a wishing well planter.  We used coffee cans as the well.  Each planter had a roof supported by two pieces of wood about one inch square and six inches long.  We wrapped the can, the roof wood and the upright sticks with heavy twine.  We then painted the twine covered pieces with shellac.  When all of that was completed, we went to the custodian, Mr. Valenti, who helped us nail the uprights to the can and the roof to the uprights.  It was really a nice project.  We kept mine in the house for a long time.  The one major flaw in the plan was that the coffee can bottom eventually rusted and fell apart.  Every once in a while I have considered making another one of those planters.
 
Another Christmas present we made was an incense ball made with an orange and cloves.  We took an unpeeled orange and covered it with cloves.  That meant pushing the pointed end of each clove into the orange.  After a while my fingers really hurt.  Somehow I managed to complete the project and It turned out great. The fragrance of orange and clove was quite pleasant.  I also have thought about doing that again, but I don’t think my fingers are up to it.

Prospect School Memories

There are some things about the school building that are quite memorable.  The main entrance to the school was on the Shaw Avenue or East side of the old building.  There was a main entry hall with the entrance to the principal’s office at the northwest corner.  There was a picture of Abraham Lincoln and of the Gettysburg Address on the wall.  I often stopped at the address and read some lines.  There was also a picture of George Washington and an American flag.  I might add that each classroom also had a flag and we said the pledge of allegiance each morning.  To the left or South side of the entrance hall was an open stairway, which went down to the basement, where the Custodian, Mr. Valenti, had his office and up to the second and third floors, which held classrooms.  The main bell ringing button was at the base of those stairs under the master clock.  That clock gave official Prospect School time.  Another object I’ll never forget is the life size statue of a naked Greek throwing a discus.  I’m sure it was a copy of a classic Greek athlete.

Off of the main entry hall were two corridors.  One led right or North to the new building.  The other led straight ahead or West to the two additions, which included some classrooms and ended at the gym/auditorium.  Also on that corridor was the office of our school nurse.  I can remember three reasons that I had to go to the nurse’s office while attending Prospect.  The main reason was if you were sick and may need to go home.  I don’t remember that happening often.  The other reasons affected all students.  First, we were required to take iodine pills to preclude goiter.  This was a problem in those days and it was the policy that all school children be given those pills.  We would go as a class to the Nurse’s office and be given a pill, which tasted like chocolate but contained iodine.  That element was apparently missing from our diets back then.  I do seem to remember that Morton’s salt contained iodine.  “When it rains, it pours”.  Finally, I can remember one or two occasions, when our entire class had to go to the nurse, who would inspect our heads for lice.  I don’t remember ever having lice, but they were very careful to prevent the spread of them through the school.

Most students went home for lunch.  For me that was no problem.  I lived only a five minute walk from school.  My walk took me past the Abel Funeral home on the northeast corner of Shaw and Euclid.  At the back of Abel’s were the garages, where the hearses were kept.  Behind those garages was an area where Abel’s piled up their raked leaves in the fall.  My friends and I would often stop there to play in the leaf pile on our way home.  One time my friend, Tony Gildone, had his clarinet with him, when we stopped to play in the leaf pile.  When Tony got home, he realized he didn’t have his clarinet.  He and his Dad went back to the leaf pile looking for the clarinet.  They never found it; one of life’s mysteries and another life lesson.  Another thing about the area behind Abel’s garage was the flowers discarded after a funeral.  I brought many great bouquets home to my mother from behind Abel’s garage.  Another favorite stopping off place on my way home was the gasoline station of the northwest corner of Shaw and Euclid.  I stopped there to get a bottle of cream soda from the pop machine after school sometimes.  As I recall, that would cost a nickel, big money for me in those days. 
 Abel's Funeral Home - Shaw High School  circa 1944
 
There were some exceptions to going home for lunch.  I think they may have been made for the older kids.  The exception was that you could eat at the Shaw High School cafeteria with parental approval.  I can remember times when I would eat at Shaw, perhaps because my mother would not be home that day.  Since Mom was a stay at home housewife, that happened rarely.  The nice part of eating at Shaw was that you could buy things like hamburgers and French fries.  For a small fee you could also attend a movie in Shaw’s auditorium.  Each day they would show one reel of a feature film.  If you ate at Shaw all week you would eventually see the entire movie. 

The Prospect School Gymnasium/Auditorium

At the far western end of the school was a large room used as a gymnasium and auditorium.  I can remember having gym class there, but I’m not sure in which class year we got that opportunity.  There was a gym teacher, who traveled to all six elementary schools on a schedule.  I don’t believe that allowed all classes to participate. 

The most common use of the room was as an auditorium for school and community events.  That is where parents attended PTA meetings and school programs such as the Christmas Pageant.  It was also used for assembly meeting of the entire school.  These were called whenever Mr. Preston had a message that all of the students needed to hear.  Sometimes a program would be put on by some outside resource.  I can remember someone bringing exotic animals to one program.  My favorite program was presented by the children’s librarian from The East Cleveland Public Library.  Her name was Miss Dorothy K. Grout and her program was a dramatic reading of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.  I’m not sure whether all grades attended, but I can remember it being presented for at least two of the years I was at Prospect.  The program was presented over a period of a few weeks.  Each week Miss Grout would recite from memory a section of the Homer story.  One year she did the Iliad and the next she did the odyssey.  Her reading was so gripping I couldn’t wait until she returned for the next segment.  Miss Grout gave me an appreciation for great literature at a very young age.  I later got to know her better as I became a faithful user of the East Cleveland Public Library. 

The Prospect School Playgrounds

Prospect School had two playgrounds.  One was located on the North side of the school between the new building and Euclid Avenue.  I believe it was used primarily by the younger children, whose classrooms were in the new building.  The second playground was located on the South side of the school.  When I attended Prospect, there was a wooden barracks style building on the South side of Prospect facing Shaw Avenue.  That building was the Shaw High School band room.  Our playground was behind the band room.  We often could hear the band practicing while we were in the playground.  That whole area later was used for the Korb recreation center; but that was after I graduated from Shaw High School.  I never got to use that building. 
 
I believe all classes had a 15 or 20 minute recess each morning and afternoon.  As I said earlier, each playground had at least one Safety assigned to it.  I also think that a teacher may have been assigned playground duty.  Playground recess was a time to let off steam and relax from the pressure of school work.  Most of the play was unorganized such as pick up softball games and games of tag and other chasing games.  Most of the play was fairly tame, however sometimes it could get out of hand.  Groups of kids would sometimes pick on certain kids or other groups.  Some kids didn’t know their own strength.  I can remember getting the wind knocked out of me one time.  Mostly, I was able to avoid such situations.  I either tried to affiliate with the strong group or avoid conflict if possible.  That in itself was a great life lesson. 

One of the most popular playground games was flipping baseball cards.  Kids would bring baseball cards to school.  Several kids would stand about ten or fifteen feet from a wall and flip a card toward the wall.  The card closest to the wall won all of the cards thrown.  There were sometimes “leaners”, which led to a play off by the kids with the “leaners”.  At least we weren’t flipping quarters.  I’m sure most of us didn’t have any quarters; and it would have been stopped soon anyway.

The playground on the South side of the school contained a wooden shack known as the Paper House.  That building was used to hold the old newspaper and other paper collected by the school as a fund raising activity.  It may have been started as a wartime activity.  However the Paper House was used the whole time I attended Prospect. 


23 comments:

  1. john henry broadJune 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    DOES CHAMBERS SCHOOL have a site as this? it was on Shaw between Hayden and Euclid, in front of the East Cleveland Stadium/Shaw

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    1. I knew Chambers well. Many of my friends at Kirk and Shaw came from Chambers. I lived on the South side of the Nickel Plate Railroad, which was the boundary between Prospect School and Chambers School. I passed Chambers often, when I was going to the City Park next to the school and when I was going to the Shaw Hayden Theater. As far as I know there is no blog about Chambers. Perhaps you should start one.

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  2. john henry broadJune 9, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    HI, my great grandmother Sarah Grace Shaw whose aunt Sarah Grace Shaw donated the land to and for always to be used for education, Shaw High School,
    My father Vernon Thomas Broad graduate in late 1920 and my Mother approx. 1930 her name Virginia Ann Holocker, most of the McIlrath's are buried in old East Cleveland Cemetery and our roots go back to the Grandpa Solon McIlrath and his wife Mary Brainard Shaw

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    1. It is wonderful to hear from you. Your family seems to go way back in East Cleveland history. It would be nice to hear some of your memories of East Cleveland. You could post them as comments on this site.

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  3. I was at Prospect from 1943 (Miss Lowry) and first and second grades through May 1946. I also wore glasses, but they had a "Sight Saving" class room with a Miss Nicard. I also have vivid memories of the Discus thrower. Glad I looked up this site

    Robert Downing New York

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    1. You were at Prospect two years ahead of me. I'm sure we share a lot of memories. Now that you mention it, there was girl in my class named Mary Ryan. She was in the sight savers group, but shared activities with our class much of the time. My sight was poor, but not bad enough to be in sight savers. I got more near sighted the older I got. Due to my childhood strabismus, I am essentially blind in one eye. Nevertheless I still play softball in a senior league.

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  4. For some odd reason I thought about my grade school today, Prospect School in East Cleveland. (Must have something to do with advancing years!) To my surprise I discovered there exists on the internet a rather amazing blog setting forth the history of the school with particular emphasis on the 40's and 50's (50's were my time there). In retrospect the place was amazing from a historical and social history standpoint. The class pictures, the reproduction statute of the Greek "discus thrower" on the second floor stairway, wooden floors (I believe that was the case), Miss Nicard's "sight saving" class - which I attended, and "flipping" baseball cards at recess (bit of a gamble), all are vivid in my mind. I recall as well the librarian readings of classics - which may or may not have had much impact on me, but which were better than doing hours of cursive writing (although in "sight saving" class we were encouraged to "print" our sentences). I was chosen to be on the "safety patrol" - not sure today if that was an honor. Lastly, in the diverse world of today, one need only look at the class photographs to understand the world that was. One additional point, I also recall the Atomic Bomb drills where the boys were lined up on one wall, girls on the other - and we all were to wear our "dog tags". Course we didn't have a clue about this - just that teacher required it.

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    1. Andrew: It is great to hear from you and I'm glad my memories stimulated your own. I will be writing about my Kirk and Shaw experiences next and hope you enjoy them as well. Thanks for reading and keep in touch.

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  5. Was a couple years ahead of you. Had Miss Devlin 1st grade who taught me how to right left handed, Miss Pierman 2nd. Miss Rice 3rd who flunked me in handwriting because I was left handed, Mrs Kramer in 5th and Miss Woodruff in 6th. Remember Mr. Preston well. Never got in trouble, except when I was accused of talking in miss Rices class while borrowing scissoe=rs from my twin brother. I surrendered and got a spanking after she chased me around the room. (long story). I learned to print so I could pass.

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  6. Can't think of my kindergarden teacher's name (onvthe tip of my tongue and am to lazy to go upstairs and look it up. Have all of our class pictures and still have my safety patrol badge from year 49/50. Of course had Reynard for latin at Shaw after Alma Boone at Kirk. We all thought she was Daniel's mother.

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  7. Jim: Thanks for your postings. It looks as if we had similar experiences at Prospect School. If you were a couple of years ahead of me, you may have known my cousins, Jack and Jill Dreifort. They were both in the Shaw class of 1955. Jill was homecoming queen in 1955. Her twin brother, Jack, passed away. Jill now lives in Texas. I remember Miss Boone. She taught 7th grade English at Kirk. I will be writing about some of my Kirk experiences in this blog soon. Thanks for reading and keep on commenting. Bob

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  8. I met Walter Bailey when I worked as a supervisor in a nursing home. He grew up in East Cleveland. I believe he lived on Beersford and was in love with a girl who lived on Windermere. Unfortunately, her parents had prearranged her marriage. Broken-hearted, he went on to become a very rich man (people would ask me if that was "the" Walter Baily) and eventually, marry someone else. Later in life, his wife died and so did her husband. So, finally, they married one another. Her sons treated him like he was their father. He was in his 90's when I last saw him. I'm told that he was CEO of Warner & Swasey or Bearings.

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  9. You say Chambers was built in 1930's that sounds correct to me. I went there in 1961. However the photo of the school today looks different than I remember. Do you know if it was overhauled or rebuilt? Other wise it might be just a faulty memory. Thanks!

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  10. Thanks for your comment. All East Cleveland schools were demolished and replaced by new buildings several years ago. That included all six elementary schools, Kirk and Shaw. The reason for that was that basic maintenance of the old buildings was neglected for a long time due to the financial situation in the City and School District. The School District could not afford to maintain, let alone rehabilitate, the buildings. They could get State of Ohio funds to build new buildings; but not to rehabilitate old ones. My concern now is that the new buildings will suffer the same fate as the old ones; because the School District still can't afford to maintain them.

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  11. Hi Robert,My 2nd cousin was the Custodian at Prospect school I think he was there in the early 50's his name was Harry Sterba. My Uncle was the head Custodian at Mayfair Elementry his name was Lenord [Bud] Majcher and my Father was the Head Custodian at Chambers Elementry and before that Rosell elementry school. I went to Chambers for Kindergarten in I think it was 52.

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  12. Thanks for your comment. As I said in my post, the custodian at Prospect was Mr.Valenti until I graduated in 1952. I remember him as being old. But then, everybody seemed old to me in those days. He could have retired after I went on to Kirk in September 1952.

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  13. So fortunate to have found your blog
    I tried to locate Marjorie shields and was directed to your site. My twin brother and I graduated from prospect, Kirk and then shaw in January 1951 then on to earn doctorate degrees. We lived on Oakhill road. Do you know if Miss shields is alive? We had rice and Porter as teachers. For unknown reason the Christmas pageant was not performed when we were in 6th grade so we missed our big chance to shine. Your memory is astonishing

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  14. My brother and I went all the way through as mid-years, moving up a grade in January. When did they do away with that? I tried using my name for this and prior comment but.
    Was unable not being familiar with the choices so used anonymous. My name is David baumgartner. Brother is Richard /dick.

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  15. David Baumgartner: I'm not sure why they started moving kids to mid year. I know that in my case they made a decision in the first grade. Some kids were moved ahead a half grade. At the time I thought it was the smarter kids, who got promoted. My cousin, Linda Dreifort, was one of those promoted. Upon reflection, it now occurs to me that all of the kids in the January graduation classes were smarter than those of us who graduated in June. I think the main issue was that the classes were too large and they needed to split them up. They couldn't have known by the middle of first grade, who was smarter than the others. The other side of the coin was that some kids were held back a half grade if they were not ready for promotion. I and many of my readers remember Marjorie Shields well. I'm not sure if she is still alive. Another music teacher we all remember fondly is Robert Frazer, the band director. I have received comments from some of his children. I remember that he played the stand up bass and led the band which played at our 10th reunion in 1968. Did you graduate from Shaw in 1951 or from Prospect? You are either one or seven years older than me.

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  16. David Baumgartner: I did a little research and discovered that Margorie Shields passed away in June, 2007 at the age of 90. She had been a music teacher for 37 years, 31 of which were as the Choral Director at Shaw High School. At the time of her death she lived in Willoughby, Ohio.

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  17. Mid years were because of birth days. Nothing to do with brains. If one was born before a certain date then one went to the Jan or September class. Thanks for the information about miss shields. Dick and I graduated shaw in Jan 1951 and denison u. In1954. We accelerated. E Cleveland changed greatly in the 60s and I see now it may be annexed by Cleveland as it was reported in the news it is the poorest sizable city in Ohio. So sad.

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  18. I believe the statue at prospect school was a copy of the famous discobolus - the discus thrower - by the ancient Greek sculptor Myron. Dave baumgartner

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  19. Dave: I think you are correct about that. I always thought of it as the disk thrower, and early version of field and track. Thanks for the comment.

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