Monday, July 21, 2008

Jefferson School

Jefferson School, 2008.

Bromley, 1931 (BPL)

Somehow, I've managed to miss the Jefferson school until now. Schools in Boston had been divided into primary schools (K-3), grammar schools (4-8) and high schools (9-12), but by the time of this article, the Jefferson was kindergarten through eighth grade. Heath street was considered Roxbury at the time, but I'll include it here as fitting into my contemporary borders of Jamaica Plain. The map above shows the location of the school at the southern edge of Parker Hill. You can read the names of the students above by clicking on the listing below the group picture.

Addendum (10/11/2008): I had no idea until today that the Jefferson school was still standing! Photo above.

Boston Daily Globe June 24, 1911

Morality Play Given At Jefferson School Graduation.

Mayor Fitzgerald Speaks on Progress and Class of 49 Pupils Appears in Performance of Rhythmic Steps.

"Progress" was the graduation theme of the boys and girls of Jefferson school last evening at the exercises in the school hall. It was illustrated in song, story and play, followed by the class giving rhythmic steps. Mayor Fitzgerald gave an address on the same subject.

The program was under the direction of the master, Edward P. Sherbourne. It included singing by the school of "Awake, My Soul," "Nightinggale's Complaint," "Progress Song," "Alleluia," "The Merry Dance" and "Auld Lang Syne": the recitations of "The Foreward," by Irwin J. Haussler, "The Upward Reach" by Hester MacDonald and "Grow Old Along With Me."

The chief feature of the evening was the production of "Every Child," Lena Dalkeith Burton's morality play. This play is in keeping with the "progress" movement in the public schools under the direction of Miss Marion K. Brown. It shows a little fellow who is being tempted away from the path of duty by a group of careless children called negatives. While the negatives are trying to have him go their easy going and careless way, he is met by a group of positive or good children who persuade the boy to go the way of happiness and usefulness.

The play concludes with the spelling of the word "Failure" on shields worn by the negatives and "Progress" spelled on shields worn by the positives. The leading parts in the play were Lester Krone as Every Child, Irwin Haussler as Spirit of Youth and Carl Fischer as Spirit of Progress. There were 49 children in the play. The boys wore yellow with white baldrieks and the girls were gowned in white.

The mayor presented diplomas to the 18 girls and 31 boys. He said in part: "I am proud to say that Boston still leads in the educational world. We have as fine schools and equiptment and spend more money on education of the children proportionally, I believe, than any other city in the country.

"The schools are better than they were when I went to school in the old North End and later on to teh English high and Boston Latin schools. Five years ago we did not have trade schools, we did not have a school for practical arts or continuation schools or commercial schools.

"True progress means that one must work hard to succeed. Progress means that the one most valuable thing in life is education. If you boys and girls intend to go to work, then continue your education in one of the many evening high schools. It is your duty, boys and girls, to follow the right lines of progress, making yourselves all that you possibly can become."

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