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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1916


On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and entered the world conflict.  Dr. E. D. Williams, president of the Board, announced that French would be taught at the high school at 9th and Minnesota.  If any of the boys were sent to France they needed a working knowledge of the language.  Misses Helen Jackson and Rachel Lock offered their services.  Fifteen "{Rookies" and Red Cross nurses enrolled on July 10 in classes directed by Miss Ethel Vaughan.  Other volunteer teachers were Miss Helen Martin, Miss Ellen Baum and Mrs. Brackereldt.

Draft boards were set up and the library reported an increase in the circulation of books about war.  Canning surplus food became popular, and Miss Marion Broughten was appointed the Emergency Food Administrator for the city.  Women were taught what was known as the "hot water" method and vied with one another or with rival schools to see who could surpass in the amount of canned goods.  Fifty attended a class at Franklin School.

Children worked in the school gardens.  A total of seven acres was cultivated by 451 young gardeners.  When an inspector from the college at Manhattan visited here, he declared the gardens best in the state.  In addition to plots sponsored by the schools, there were 4,000 home gardens under cultivation in the city.  Prizes were awarded the best products.

The Wyandotte Boys Club under Mrs. Stine's leadership reached a membership total of 2,000 boys, aged ten to fourteen.  As a state law prohibited the advertising of cigarettes or cigarette papers, the boys asked the Kansas City Railways not to carry displays in streetcars.  The advertising company in charge of advertisements said the boys could do as they pleased, but the ads stayed up.  The Women's Christian Temperance Union joined in the fight to have the anti-cigarette law enforced in public parks also.  The city attorney promised his help.

In 1917, Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act, called by some the "landmark in advance of federal centralization in education."  It created a Federal Board for Vocational Education to promote training in agriculture, trades, industrial commerce, home economics, and the teaching of vocational subjects.  State of local boards had to match any grant received for such work.  Later the act was extended to include vocational rehabilitation and other aspects of such training

On July 24, in an article on texts, the Kansan implied that the school system had planned earlier to furnish textbooks at cost.  Mr. Tibbs and Maunder and Dougherty, however, already had all books purchased and asked the board to rescind any such order.  The board sold directly to the students several books printed by the state, but about two carloads of books were sold through the two dealers. Every year there was a mad rush to the stores, where supplies sometimes were exhausted after people had stood for several hours in line.  The club women again demanded free books for children.

Summer session students at Kansas University heard Superintendent Pearson talk on the junior high school recently established.  He emphasized that there would be no lockstep about what he called the "New School of America."  A junior high was more flexible, with industrial, commercial and scientific courses offered.  "Ours," he said, "is a bridge.  Out of one hundred such schools in the nation, ours most nearly fulfills its purpose."  In February, 500 teachers attending a national convention in Kansas visited the school.

The night school Americanization classes, under the direction of I. B. Morgan, became nationally known.  At the NEZ Convention at Portland in July, he addressed a group.  A city newspaper carried an article telling of Mr. Morgan's outstanding work with the foreign-born in Kansas City.  A Greek immigrant, a first class mechanic then in the army, read of Mr. Morgan's speech.  A former student in the night school, he appeared the next day at the auditorium and searched through the crowd until he found Mr. Morgan.  A happy reunion followed.

The one-room school on North Twelfth, which had replaced the old District 7 school at 9th and Quindaro, was closed in 1917.  The teacher, Miss Grace Hynes, was transferred to Bryant at 17th and Webster, part of old District 7 which came into the city in 1909-1910.

On August 5, the first recruits among Kansas City boys assembled for war service at Camp Hoel west of the city.  Concerts were given in Huron Park during the summer.  In Argentine the branch of the Carnegie Library checked out 933 books to patrons during the first week after its opening on July 3.  A. W. Allen joined the faculty of the junior high school in 1917.

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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