The Cyntheanne One Room School House

By, Professor Twix

(All information was given to us by, George M. Underwood M.D.. Dr. Underwood donated an entire binder full of pictures, information, and artifacts to our school’s library. He attended this school! If you want to see more pictures, ask Mrs. Lepper and/or Ms. Gundrum in the library!)

Ever wonder about that little old farmhouse on the corner?


Picture your average classroom today. Now picture that being your entire school and being mixed in with grades kindergarten through eighth.  Teaching was done by one person, Annabelle J. McCord (Mr. McCord says he has never heard of her nor does he know if he is related to her).

The teacher came in early every morning and lit a fire in the pot belly stove prior to when the students arrived. In her spare time the teacher prepared lesson plans for all eight grades even though at times there were only six grades.  The teacher also had to stay late and do all the janitorial services.

Everyone had to sit in their seats at all times and could not whisper to someone without being scolded. If they got in trouble for whispering too often a note was given to their parents. The teacher’s note was never questioned and usually ended with a physical punishment. If you did not give the note to your parents it would result in a physical punishment, but harder. The physical punishment was the teacher would smack their bottoms until they were hot.

The report card listed:

  1. Attendance
  2. Arithmetic
  3. Reading
  4. Writing
  5. Discipline
  6. Spelling

The only excuse for absence was due to near death or death in the family. The only discipline was the teacher would send a note home. For spelling the students had to write each spelling word 25 times. There arithmetic was basic math. It was taught by flipping flashcards. Writing was taught on only old two line paper. The lowercase letters took up one space and the uppercase took up both spaces. During reading students would have to go to a corner of the class and read to each other.

There were days when there was none or lack of light in the class room because lamps were forbidden in the classroom. The only water source available was from an outside pump and they had to drink out of the “community cup”. The community cup was one cup everyone shared. Everyone brought their own lunch which was usually wrapped in newspaper. After lunch kids would throw out all leftovers and paper wrappings. They would then throw it in an open barrel outside and light the trash on fire.

Everyone rode the bus with the exception of two kids. Their “bus” was a horse-pulled school bus set on the frame of a truck.

For recess the students played softball, tag, general rough housing, and “anti-over” using the coal shed.

The bathroom was an outhouse. If you do not know what one is it is basically a wooden bathroom with a hole in the ground; outside.

Their grading scale consisted of A-excellent, B-good, C-average, D-poor, E-very poor, F-failing. What surprised me the most was our grading scale consists A, B, C, D, and F. Their scale had an E.

In 1940, there were a total of 30 kids in the entire school. That is the size of the average classroom of seventh graders in our school today.

The Cyntheanne One Room School House was very different than our new junior high.  The eight- grade school house had around 30 kids whereas our two-grade school has around 1100 kids! We obviously do not have physical punishments anymore and we have heat. The Cyntheanne Grade School is a good example of how far we have come in less than a century.

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