My formal schooling began at age six in the first grade at Renaker Elementary School in the western end of Harrison County. It offered grades one through eight. Miss McKinley was the first grade teacher and she also drove a small van which picked up six or eight of us who lived back long lanes too narrow for a full sized school bus. I remember riding in that van, seated in a small wooden chair that was not anchored to the floor. While we never felt any fear for our safety, I am sure such an arrangement would never be tolerated today.
The Renaker school had no gymnasium nor indoor plumbing. We played ball on an outdoor court with goals at each end that had chains on the baskets instead of nets. We used the outdoor toilets, which was no inconvenience, since most of us had no indoor plumbing at home.
In the classroom, Miss McKinley taught us the three R’s. Reading Writing and Arithmetic, along with spelling, formed our basic curriculum. Our report cards furnished a progress report every six weeks with grades of A, B, C, D and F. Most of my grades were in the A-B category. We also received deportment grades which indicated our social behavior.
I remember well my father saying that he could understand an occasional bad grade in academics, but there was no excuse for bad behavior. I was blessed to live in an era where parents reinforced the learning and discipline that was taught in school.
– Terry A. Morrison