Reliving History at Manchester Elementary
Past a parking lot, behind a brick structure, and beyond a modern playground, nestled in the edge of the hills of Clay County silently stands a site that has sadly become a thing of the past; a one-room schoolhouse. The old one-room schoolhouse that is located behind Manchester Elementary was actually reconstructed from two different one-room schools that were built with similar designs that was located in different areas in the county. The best of each of the remaining buildings was salvaged and combined to reconstruct and resurrect a piece of Clay County history, and a dying memory from the past.
My name is Joyce Bowling and I feel privileged to teach at Manchester Elementary where I have the opportunity to teach my first grade students a hands on lesson that allows them a realistic glimpse back in time through the access of this one-room school. Each year I enjoy sharing an entire day with my students at the old schoolhouse. On this special day a different style of teaching and learning takes place. The setting allows us to better understand our ancestors, our heritage, and an opportunity to discover and relive a part of history.
This year the big day began at 9:45am. The students as well as myself were filled with excitement and anticipation as we walked the long path that leads to the old school. We carried our supplies that were needed for a day of adventure, knowledge, memories and an unforgettable experience. During the course of the day I shared a virtual story with the students to help them better understand the time period and the history of the school. We ate our packed lunch inside the schoolhouse, and had recess outside playing games such as red rover, and tag helping the students realize that they could have fun, even without slides and swings. After recess we went back to work inside the old school. Students completed a spelling test, math lesson, writing assignment, and an unforgettable science lesson outside. The sounds of singing filled the air as we began our mile hike through the woods on the wonderful nature trail behind the school. We took a close up look at nature and the wetlands that we are fortunate to have. All of the students enjoyed learning how to make sundials from stones and twigs. We didn’t forget the importance of gym we exercised outside in the fresh air and what better way to cool off than in the shade of the trees. Who needed air conditioning?
However, during the day of experiencing this rugged lifestyle of the past, we did allow for two modern conveniences, bathrooms and the delivery of Shakers pizza and juice for an afternoon snack. Students enjoyed their snack while relaxing in the shade at the picnic tables in the outside classroom located beside the old schoolhouse.
As the ending of the day was quickly approaching many comments were made and questions were asked such as; Meghan Rice stated; this is the funnest day of my life Mrs. Bowling, do we have to go back? Emily Baker explained the day as; the coolest day ever. Makayla Burns and Kailee Nolan described the one room school as; more fun than our school, I wish we could stay. Chad Carmack described the day as; being the best day ever. Ryan Nicholson and Jacob Davidson said; this was fun, I wish we could do it again? Amari Cotton and Felicia Hall both asked; did the day have to end? Cameron Sester and Chandler Sizemore both simply stated; that this was a great day! Comments such as these and many others will be etched forever in each of our hearts and memories.
After cleanup and one last glance around the old schoolhouse the students posed for a picture of a memory filled day and a social studies lesson that came to life in Mrs. Bowling’s first grade class at Manchester Elementary.