BACK IN 1923: Chesterfield School News tells what was happening in school

The “Chesterfield School News” was distributed among student and parents around Chesterfield County. In Volume 1 Number Four, articles on several schools in Eastern Chesterfield touted recent events at their schools.

Matoaca Grammar School, “Our school opened September 6 with seven teachers, four members of last year’s faculty returning. Our enrollment at present is larger than any other previous year,” Matoaca’s article stated. “Under the supervision of our County nurse Mrs. O’Connell, a TB Clinic was held in our school in December. She was very fortunate in securing two of the best doctors in the state. Students were examined and advised.”

“The campaign conducted for the ‘Near East Relief Fund’ was a great success. The sum amounted to $17.10 was collected. The boys and girls gladly sacrificed some of their luxuries in order to give aid to the unfortunate children. The sum amounted to $17.10.”

At the Ettrick School, fourth grade teacher, Miss Ribble, reported that her class had visited Williamsburg. “To see and know railroad cooperated in this plan most generously by giving special rates from Richmond. The party left Petersburg early in the morning and was met in South Richmond by E.N.Bailey of the passenger department of the C&O. Mr. Bailey, by his courteous assistance, made the trip to the Main Street Station a very easy one. He attended to the tickets and put the helped children on the train.”

Chester High School held an open house at its new home economics cottage which has since been moved across Route 10 and is currently a beauty salon. According to the newsletter, “Polly Branches banked the mantle and the bookshelves; vases and bowls of Narcissus, Pussy Willow and Swansonia on the tables and desks gave a promise of spring, not too far distant.”

“The senior class of Chester Agricultural High School presented a play ‘Molly’s Aunt’ at the Masonic Hall in Chester.”

As Beulah pupils started back to school after the Christmas holidays they began work on their examinations. Somehow, the newsletter reported an incident in February. “On 15 February, the Drewry’s Bluff Club had an oyster supper at the schoolhouse for the farmers families. However, more came in all had a nice time. The Ladies Civic League sold ice cream and cleared $6.00.”

School Superintendent T. C. Williams announced that the school system would be involved in an oratory contest. “The subjects selected must be one of the following: the Constitution; Washington and the Constitution; Marshall in the Constitution; Webster in the Constitution: Madison and the Constitution: or Lincoln and the Constitution,” the superintendent wrote. “The County’s elimination contest will be held at the Chester High School on March 21. The County champion will meet in a district contest about March 28.

The County champion will receive $10.00 in cash and a metal; $5.00, second.”  If a contestant worked his way through the County championship, district championship, state championship and zone championship, he or she could receive a $5000 prize at the nationals.


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