This article is part of a series written by educators from the college graduating class of 1911 upon their 25th college reunion in 1936. We are constantly facing changes in education, however you may be surprised to find some parallels between schools in 1936 and schools in 2011. I hope you enjoy some history of education, specifically Lutheran education.
The following words were originally shared via the Lutheran Education Association Administrators' Listserve by Greg Hassedahl, principal of Bethany Lutheran School in Overland Park, KS.
These words are from the graduating class of 1911 from Concordia University, Seward, NE upon their celebration of 25 years from graduation. The verbiage and punctuation is as they wrote it for their commemorative booklet from 1936. I added necessary [rough translations] from German.
W.H. Hinrichs placed in Bonduel, WI who was then serving in Williamsburg, IA.
Do you remember how eagerly we awaited the return of Director Weller from St. Louis in early June of 1911? The calls had been assigned. Of course we pretended to be more or less unconcerned, but in reality we were rather eager to learn of the place of our future activities. Someone who professed to know, told me I was to go to Lockwood, Missouri, which honor was accorded to Veits, as it developed later. When, that evening after devotion, Director Weller came to my name, he said: "Hinrichs, Bonduel, Wisconsin. Hinrichs wird sich freuen. Er wird eine Band haben." [Hinrichs will be pleased. He will have a Band.]
Due to the machination of Mr. H. Bloch, we left Seward hurriedly and without planned closing exercises. Of course, we were all coming back the next year, but -- of course, we didn't.
After a few happy months spent on the farm at home, I left for Bonduel, arriving there on September 1. On September 3, I was installed as first teacher of Zion Congregation near Zachow. I was told by the school board that I could have Monday to get things lined up for the opening of school on Tuesday. I was up bright and early on Tuesday morning, and so were the youngsters of the congregation. About eight o'clock they began to come in groups from every direction. When all heads were counted, there were sixty present. What a responsibility the congregation and the Lord had placed on my frail shoulders! I felt rather insignificant and unworthy of the confidence which had been placed in me, but with the enthusiasm associated with youth, I set to work to do the best I could under the circumstances. The next year the enrollment was sixty-four.
In the summer of 1912, Miss Dora Schultz of Deep River, Iowa consented to be my helpmeet. She was a woman of fine Christian character who had four years of teaching experience, and was therefore a great help to me. She was a woman such as is described , Proverbs 31, 10-31.
[ 10[d] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She dresses herself[e] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.] ESV
After spending the first four years of my professional life in this beautiful country of Northern Wisconsin, I accepted the call of St. John's congregation of Garner, Iowa, where I taught for the next nineteen years.
During my years of teaching I had the usual experiences, joys, disappointments, etc. I need not elaborate on them since you are familiar with them, but a few high lights are expected. On the evening of September 20, 1919 some unknown friend (?) helped me to get a new modern school-house. At about eleven o'clock that night the coal shed just to the rear of the school-house was discovered to be ablaze. The flames were shooting up into the gable of the school-house. The building had been a church and therefore was quite high, and it was impossible to approach the fire with the equipment at hand. The mystery has never been solved, although a car was heard to start and leave, making a great noise, just before the fire was discovered[,] and a five gallon can with a little gasoline in it was found near the coal shed.
During the Christmas holidays, 1923, two days after our classmate, Leuthaeser, was called to his reward, my wife, after a week's illness with pneumonia, was also taken from this vale of tears to the Heavenly Mansions, leaving me with seven small boys. Those were sad days that followed, but we experienced real Christian love on the part of the congregation as well as of individuals, and the Lord held His protecting hand over us. The boys have been a source of comfort during these years. Now they are growing up. Donald graduates from the seminary at St. Louis this year, Erich graduates from Concordia Teachers College at Seward next year, D.V. William works in a store, Enoch graduates from high school this year, Joel is a sophomore, while Gerald and Allen are in grades eight and seven respectively.
During my last few years at Garner a situation developed which was rather unsatisfactory, and in the summer of 1934, after serving the congregation for nineteen years to the best of my ability, it was found "necessary to close the school in order to save it". In November of 1934 I moved to Williamsburg, Iowa, and found refuge in that haven for discouraged teachers, the Aid Association for Lutherans. My territory is the south eastern part of Iowa.
After working in this field for one and one-half years, I find that it affords many opportunities for serving the Lord and His church. The work is not nearly so nerve-racking as teaching.
Thus a few "high spots" of my experiences during the last twenty-five years have been given. All in all, I must say that the Lord has been with us.
Image: Powell School-18, Melinda Shelton, Uploaded via flickr January 7, 2011, Creative Commons License