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Around Adams County - Page 42

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Arendtsville PA., Vocational High School (continued)

     In 1917 Butler and Franklin Townships formed a jointure with Arendtsville to establish the Arendtsville Joint Vocational High School. The school opened its doors in September, 1917. Shortly after World War I, Mr. George Rice offered a suggestion to the PTA that an auditorium be built as a memorial to the soldiers who fought in that war. This lay dormant for several years, due largely to the failing health of the director. It was not until after Mr. Roy Diem became the new director that the auditorium project was completed.

     In 1927 the contact between the jointure of Arendtsville, Butler and Franklin Townships was renewed and again in 1937, and by 1938 the the Arendtsville Vocational High School reached a peak enrollment of 118 students. The jointure was ended in 1941 when Franklin Township withdrew, although Butler Township and Arendtsville Borough continued the joint operation until the Upper Adams School District was formed in June of 1947.

     Although the school was designed to meed the needs of a rural community and especially the needs of those who could not enter the ordinary academic high school, it proved to have one of the highest percentages in Adams County, of students who entered and graduated from institutions of higher learning.

Early History of Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics
in Arendtsville Vocational High School

     An organization of rural children in Adams County about 1913 was the Adams County Boys and Girls Agricultural and Domestic League. The age range of the group was between nine and seventeen years of age. The motto "Improved Farming and Housekeeping" was the objective of this group. Contests were held in the Courthouse in Gettysburg, and prizes were given to the boy and girl with the best project in his or her class. The club also exhibited agricultural products at the local schools in the county. The activity of this club probably had its influence on the establishment of the Arendtsville Vocational High School.

     Since neither Franklin nor Butler Townships had a high school, it was thought wise to unite the three districts, which would lessen the burden of expenses on each district. The agreement was entered into by the different boards on the 12th day of March, 1917, and was binding for a period of ten years. The school was to be known as the Arendtsville Vocational School" and the chief governing body consisted of three members from each district.*

     During the year of 1917 the Smith-Hughes Bill was passed making available federal funds to schools teaching vocational agriculture and home economics to boys and girls in school. Pupils receiving this type of education would benefit for useful employment and to meet the need of persons at home.

     The first teacher as head of the agriculture department was Brandon W. Wright at a salary of $1500 for nine months. Miss Miriam Weikert was elected head of the home economics department at a salary of $85.00 per month. Mr. Wright taught only three-fourths of a year and Miss Weikert two terms. Mr. Wm. W. Wood was elected to replace Mr. Wright at a salary of $1800 per nine-months. Miss Margaret E. Reigle and Miss Eleanor Whipple were elected to replace Miss Weikert, but Miss Whipple only taught three months. A. Florence Love finished the year and remained there until 1921.

     At a board meeting June 21, 1921, Mr. Edwin A. Rice was elected to teach vocational agriculture at a salary of $2000 per year. Miss Helen H. Hartly was elected to teach home-making at a salary of $1400 per year. At this time Miss Nellie B. Woods was elected as as assistant to teach home-making.*

     During these early years the vocational school was the only school of this type in the county. It offered an opportunity to boys and girls in the county to specialize in home economics and agriculture. The curriculum was taught as follows:

    First year- poultry, vegetable gardening, shop, general science and English

    Second year- farm crops, animal husbandry, shop, and the required academic subjects

    Third year- dairying, shop, chemistry, and academic subjects

    Fourth year- farm accounts, rural sociology, rural law, shop, and academic subjects

     The curriculum for home economics consumed one-half day in teaching cooking, clothing, child care, interior decorating, and home planning. After 1946 a minimum of 250 minutes per week constituted an acceptable program.

     During the first two years everybody in school took the vocational courses. Then during the third and fourth years the pupils could switch to full academic electives or remain in the vocational depart- ments. According to Mrs. Larue (Hostetter Deardorff) Hoffman, the homemaking girls served dinners and sold home-roasted peanuts to raise money for camping trips during the summer. Mrs. Deardorff also allowed the girls to use her home as a place to practice home living for two weeks during their third year. During these two weeks they were required to hold different kinds of parties for the faculty and friends and also to keep the house clean. Mrs. Deardorff taught at Arendtsville form 1926 to 1942.

     During the sixteen years that Mr. Ed Rice taught at Arendtsville he had about a dozen girls enrolled in the vocational agricultural classes. He often remarked that one of his outstanding students was a girl.

     During the thirty years that Arendtsville operated as a vocational high school, boys and girls came from all directions in the county to attend this school and get the advantages of vocational courses. The students who graduated from this school were successful in all professions of life.

     The school was forced by the State to close on June 1, 1947, and consolidate with Biglerville. The Biglerville school name was changed to Upper Adams Jointure. The school retained this name until 1961; since then it has been referred to as the Upper Adams School District.

     The worth of a faculty is measured by the achievements of its pupils. Great credit goes to the following members of the Arendtsville Vocational School, which in its 36 years, prepared persons who became clergymen, educators, bankers, lawyers, doctors, an ambassador, surgeons, laboratory technicians, industrialists, contractors and builders, railroaders, mechanics, businessmen, agriculturalists, fruitgrowers, and farmers.

  The teachers from 1911 to 1947 were:

  Roy Knouse          Mary A. Reichard Jones     Mary E. Dougherty Smith
  Daniel M. Lehman    Myrna Sheely               Helen M. Dick
  Mary E. Rice Hess   Mryna Raffensberger Getz   Paul A. Harner
  Brandon W. Wright   Charles C. Taylor          M. Virginia Storrick Horne
  George M. Rice      Mary E. Miller Stock       Eleanor P. Oeschger
  Helen E. Seiber     Larue Hostetter D. Hoffman Kathryn Gitt Schultz
  Miriam A. Weikert   Rush M. Simons             Sara Ann Barr Poole   
  Mrs. O.G.Beckstand  Mary Elizabeth Rife        Sara M. Grove Myers
  William W. Wood     Clair B. Deardorff         Donald R. Ernst
  Eleanor Whipple     Edgar H. Riegle            H. Vernon Blough
  Margaret Riegle     Ester K. Brown             Jack B. Clinch
  Florence Love       Dorothy A. Remmel Barley   Ruth S. Crawford
  Hannah Transue      Anita L. Rouzer Lower      Brenda B. Walker
  Charles Rutschky    Harvey S. Bolan            Elmira Slaybaugh Dierdorff
  Alfred McCauslin    Helen S. Brindle Bosserman Carolyn Lowe McDonald
  W. Roy Diem         Regina M. Oyler Berkheimer Margaret Janson
  Edwin A. Rice       William S. Whitely         Jean Louis Gable Allison
  Helen H. Hartly     Herbert E. Bryan           Russel Kane
  Nell B. Woods Hess  Dorothy E. Ely Thomas      John G. McAllister
  Milton S. Roth      Charles A. Smith           Robert F. Habig

* Arendtsville School Board Secretary's Ledger

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The Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society
and The National Apple Museum
154 West Hanover Street - P.O. Box 656
Biglerville, PA 17307-9442 - Telephone: 717-677-4556

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