LETTER: Farm family students felt at home at the Knellsville school

To Ozaukee Press:
    In regard to recent letters to the editor about Knellsville, I started my school days at the one-room school in Knellsville in  1950. I went to the school for my first and second grade, and Viola Eidenberger was the teacher. She was a wonderful, caring person. She taught her students on average for eight years and, as a result, they were like family to her. She was totally committed to her students.
    My greatest memory is our Christmas plays. We set up a stage in front of the classroom. We all had little parts, and we performed in front of our parents. That was a big event.
    I was very happy at the one-room schoolhouse, but my parents were Catholic, and when they wanted me to receive my First Holy Communion the only way it was allowed was if I would transfer to St Mary’s School in Port Washington for my third grade.
    It was a very difficult transition, moving into a class of 50 or more and also being very young, as I had started first grade when I was five. The school days were set up for the city students and very little consideration was given to rural students. The nuns didn’t understand what farm life was like. Many times we farm kids were made fun of. We were not included in the after-school or other activities due to not being in the city. There was an associate priest who pointed out the students who would not “amount to something,” in his words. This priest passed out report cards in front of the class and would comment on your grades.
    I have often wondered why my parents didn’t return me to the Knellsville school, to a teacher who had been very supportive of me. My only answer is, they felt a Catholic education was in my best interest and their obligation as a Catholic was to send me to a Catholic school. It was not a happy time of my life, as the environment was not what I came from—that one-room schoolhouse, where we all had the same cultural background and a teacher who understood our background and showed great love for her students.
Dick Ansay
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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