Former students from Lockridge one room schoolhouse reunite

It was as if class was in session Sept. 18 at the Victory No.8 School in Lockridge Township.

But, this time it was 120th school reunion and people came from as far as Arkansas to remember the days of learning in a one room schoolhouse.

Victory No. 8 school was built in 1891 and closed in 1958. Back when it was open, students from kindergarten (which was called primary back in those days) through eighth grade attended simultaneously.

Still in 2011, the school's original wooden desks, chalkboard, and slates are still in place.

"We were lucky to have a set of encyclopedias. I think at first we didn't even have that," said Roberta Mattson, a former student at the school and now a retired school teacher herself. She has maintained the schoolhouse over the years and used to take her fourth grade students there on a class field trip every year.

There are six teachers still living that taught at Victory No. 8. Two came back for the 2011 reunion and they had nothing but good things to say about their former students.

"The most that I can remember about these children is that they were all so well behaved," said Kathleen Bogner, a former teacher at the school in the 1950s. She now lives in a nursing home in Oak Park, Illinois.

"It was the best school that I ever taught in. The kids were so obedient and friendly and wonderful and the parents were too," said Elaine Shelman Baese, a former teacher who still lives in Lockridge.

One of the biggest differences you'll find between modern schools and one room schoolhouses is the fact that when children had to use the restroom, back in those days, they had to go out to the outhouse.

"There was a boys outhouse and a girls outhouse," Mattson said. "Two people could go at one time if that was a necessity and it was not a good odor.

Over the years, the former students have formed a reunion committee. The committee said that there is a contract with the landowner that as long as they keep having reunions every year, the school will never be torn down.