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Pathways Through Our Past

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

School days. School days. Good old golden rule days. Is that how the song went way back in the 1940s? I've found several songs while perusing old school papers, but I have to tell you, I sometimes wonder who proofed and approved them for print. Some are downright nasty, especially articles about teachers in the old school paper, The Booster. I promise, I won't reveal them here. The following teacher profiles are about good teachers; teachers that may have influenced and directed many of us during our developing years.

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Lloyd Cox was a new addition to the faculty in September 1941, taking charge of Boys Phy Ed and the Industrial Arts class.

Mr. Cox was born in Becker. He attended high school in Edgelay, ND and the State Normal and Industrial College in Ellendale, ND. The word "normal" always throws me when I see it as part of school title.

Reading was his hobby and Spencer Tracy and Maureen O'Sullivan were his screen favorites. His favorite food was potatoes and he preferred milk and coffee as beverages. Mr. Cox's outstanding characteristic was his hair, it was naturally curly. He was movie star quality in my opinion. In fact, a little side story can be told here, one that I personally recall because I think he was my Science teacher at the time.

Anyway, Mr. Cox was called back into the Air Force for some reason and it was when the movie SAC (Strategic Air Command) was being made with Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. Mr. Cox was filmed in one of the planes flying in the movie. How about that! Dare I say it... He was a hunk.

Mr. Cox preferred classical music to any other. He thought a "required quality for success was a wiliness to work and to enjoy that work."

A. Morris Gordon, another teacher, filled the position of Agriculture Instructor.

He was born in Big Falls and lived there until he graduated from high school. He attended the Ag College at the University of Minnesota. Before attending college he won several prizes with his 4-H work. He was a junior and senior level leader and for three consecutive years Mr. Gordon won championships with his garden exhibits.

He worked his way through college. A. Morris, as he was later known, was a large framed athlete, winning three letters for playing basketball on the Big Falls team. He said he played against Blackduck four years. His favorite sports were hunting and fishing, basketball, diamond ball (?), baseball, tennis, golf and bowling. He planned to play on Blackduck's city basketball team.

His three main hobbies were photography, stamp collecting and pencil collecting. Busy guy, I'd say. A. Morris Gordon achieved the status of Mayor of Blackduck for several years.

Grade school teachers were kept busy in the early 1940s.

Miss Benson's first grade pupils studied toys. They brought their own toys to school for demonstrations and to learn about the different kinds of toys, how they work, the care they needed and their value. Figure drawing was the main past time in their art class. They also held a "Breakfast Contest." Each morning the kids were supposed to eat some kind of hot cereal. They kept a chart and the one who ate the most cereal for a period of time won a cereal bowl. Dennis Erpelding missed school because he had Whooping Cough.

Some of the second and third grader's cocoons hatched and the students then began studying white moths. Their desert scene made in real sand, was completed after they read the story of Ali.

Still another project for this group was the study of bread. They toured the local bakery and while they were out, they paid a visit to the post office. Sounds interesting and fun. The third and fourth grades enjoyed a bit of water painting since coming back to school. The fourth grade students invited other classes and teachers to step into their room and read the poetry they wrote.

The fifth graders studied sea life in their Science class and the aquarium was well stocked.

The next project was animals and their plan was to create a zoo.

In Miss Kvamme's room, boys and girls worked on a radio play during activity period. The play was titled The Favorite Season and was given in the gym over the loud speaker for the other five grades. The sixth grade was divided into two teams for arithmetic. The contest lasted one month with scores at 1,900 and 1,200 points. The winners were treated to a peanut hunt. Don't you wish you were a kid again?

The higher grades were busy, but things were a little bit more serious here.

Miss Vermilya, teacher in the ninth grade science class, "surely has the engine rage" and"finds too many diagrams to labor on." Tenth graders are bothered by questions like "Who robbed Silas Marner?" And, this one I thought clever... The 11th grade English class works crossword puzzles to improve their vocabulary.

The American History class is reliving the period of the Civil War. Mr. Stenbeck is engaging in a series of lectures.

The Social Science class studying the problem of national income stated that, "The Constitution says that all men are created equal, but their incomes certainly aren't." That sort of sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Don't forget to mark your calendar Dec. 10 for the History and Art Center's annual "Cookies by the Pound" sale... Stay warm!

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