Appalachia Granny

It’s Almost Time for School to Start

  Jenkins family Culberson NC
Geneaieve, Louzine (Granny), and Mary – Culberson NC

County Schools are gearing up to start a new school year. Most of the colleges in the area have already started their fall semester.

Even though I no longer have children in the K-12 school system, I still feel the excitement of getting ready for a new school year. I’ve been hearing other parents talk about buying school clothes and rounding up the supplies on the class lists for a few weeks now.

A few months ago the local school board published a book:  A 90 Year Historical Journey of the Cherokee County Board of Education February 11, 1926 – February 11, 2016 compiled by R. Gregory Chapman.

The book takes a fascinating look at the history of public education in Cherokee County NC. It brings to light many schools that no longer exist, most of which I’ve never even heard of.

Since 1859 there have been 75 established schools in the county.

Soon after the book was published, Paul purchased a copy and while we were looking through it I was reminded of a story Granny told me about school.

Granny loved school like nobody you’ve ever seen. Homework was a joy for her-she couldn’t wait to get home and get her lessons each night.

When Granny was in third grade she went to Walker School (one of those 75 established schools-I’ve never heard anyone mention it but Granny). For homework her teacher asked her to make an apron. Granny wasn’t really capable of making the apron so Granny’s mother, Gazzie, helped her make it.

Granny didn’t want to go to school and admit her mother did her homework and she didn’t want to lie about it either. Granny said she hardly slept a wink, tossing, turning, and worrying about what she was going to do.

The next morning as Granny stood at the bus stop with her sister Geneaieve and her niece Mary she prayed something would happen to keep her from going to school that day.

As the bus came into view and begin to slow down for them to get on Granny dreaded seeing her teacher even more.

Just as they were about to step up on the bus the driver said “No school today girls. The school house burnt down last night.”

When Granny tells the story she says “Was I ever happy!” Of course she wasn’t really happy the school burnt, but as a third grader who didn’t want to lie or admit she couldn’t complete her homework she did feel immense relief.

After things were sorted out Granny’s school moved into the Ranger Church for a while and then into Colis Church which was on the road to Hiwassee Dam. By the time Granny was in 5th grade the Ranger School had been built and Granny finished out her elementary years there before moving on to Murphy High School.

If you’d like to purchase A 90 Year Historical Journey of the Cherokee County Board of Education February 11, 1926 – February 11, 2016 compiled by R. Gregory Chapman you can find it on Amazon here.


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  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful post.
    I think part of the magic of the school year is that it creates so many opportunities for little magic and small celebrations.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Tipper,what a dear picture of Granny and girls.Didn’t you have a picture of pap and granny sitting sitting on a hill with their house in the back grown?That pictures been on my mind lately,I thought it was such a nice picture.God Bless.Jean

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    That was some powerful praying!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    August 23, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Such worries children have, and to them as large and anything in this world. Such a good story! And that teacher–what was she thinking to give young children an assignment like that? Granny must have had some powerful friends in heaven answering her prayers.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    August 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    What a sweet photo and a sweet story. My Dad told me about how he and another school friend jumped out of the window at school one day. I’m not sure why they did but they must have had an awful good reason. Every year at school time my hubby reminisces about how he took the girls for chocolate chip pancakes right before the first day of school. I always made a new school clothes for the girls because in their words “we want you to make or clothes, we don’t want those old store bought things”.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Wow, Granny’s prayers were certainly answered. Bless her heart, what a great story!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Life goes on, I recon, now it’s my granddaughters that are still in school. Jennifer’s are all finished up and Laura Home schools her two. I liked school when I was there and I liked all my teachers that sacrificed their time and patience.
    I’m amazed at all the pictures you have. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Jackie – Was the answer 35239.1 ccs? Did your father tell you to quit measuring the corn and measure the bushel?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I have two grandchildren both boys. The oldest starts high school next Monday and the youngest starts kindergarten.
    If doing your kid’s homework was a crime then I would still be in prison. It is so much easier to do it for them. First you have to figure out how the teacher wants it done then get the right outcome using their method. Once you understand it you have to try to explain it to your child because the teacher didn’t. By this time it is 10:00 PM and the child has to be up at 6:30 and sleep is as important as books and lectures when it comes to learning. Sleep is when our brains process the information gained the day before. No sleep, no learning! Too many people don’t understand this. Have you ever tried to understand something all day and failed but the next morning it “dawns on you”. That is because your brain was still working while you slept.
    I used work nights. I was a supervisor so basically I did nothing. I would do the hardest part of the kids’ homework at work and give it to them to copy onto their paper in the morning then when they got home I would go over their homework and try to get them to understand how the teacher wanted it done.
    Teachers are not allow to teach any more. They work toward getting the results the State mandates. The State is working to satisfy Federal mandates. The poor child (and his parents) are not considered in the process. Our educational system is interested only in results on a standardized test. Our schools teach our kids how to do well on those tests and that is about all they teach. There are a few teachers who can teach both but they are few and far between.
    Until we start having standardized children we needn’t expect many of them to do well on a standardized test.
    I’d better shut up before I reveal my true feelings!
    I made your pie last night and Dusty ate a quarter of it today. He said he loved it. He said he could eat it all but I wouldn’t let him. I’ll eat my share later! Thank you so much for the recipe!! It is definitely a keeper!!!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I went to a two room rural school for the 1st 8 years. We had two teachers for the 1st 6 years and one teacher for all 8 grades during my last two. I was always in some kind of trouble. The teachers made me a ‘teacher’s aid’ to keep me busy.
    The hardest homework assignment I remember came when we were learning about the metric system. The assignment was to convert a bushel of corn to cubic centimeters. We were given the cubic centimeters of one grain. I probably worked on it for 4 hours or more until Dad came home and showed me how. I was the only one in the school to get it right and had three fights on the way home because of it. (Dad only went through the 5th grade. He learned much more in the Army during WW2.)

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 23, 2016 at 8:26 am

    It probably varied a lot but somewhere along the way I read that rural schools were so located as to have no child who had to walk more than three miles. Back before bus service, that would have been the major constraint. Those kids didn’t have to worry about getting enough exercise.
    By the time I was born the rural schools were on their way out. I can remember some of the last ones. Some of those were native stone and had been built by the WPA back in the 1930’s. They were very nice buildings but the school board divested those properties into private ownership.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 23, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Wow, 75 schools. when I was in school we had one big school that was Elementary through High School. Even now our county doesn’t have that many and the population is large.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 8:05 am

    The faith of a child, and what a great little story. I’m much like Granny on the homework. I always loved it and loved learning. Once in the 2nd grade my puppy disappeared, and I prayed all day in class for my puppy to be found. That evening I was happily surprised to find the puppy waiting for me. Strangely, I don’t remember the pup growing up, but I never forgot the prayer was answered.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 23, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Granny was a pretty little girl. Who would have believed there could be 75 different schools in Cherokee County. Guess you could say they were serious about education.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 23, 2016 at 4:16 am

    I love Granny’s stockings!

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