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Reba Manning Van Gelder, a white woman, describes having been a student in the 1920s at Manning School, a country school in Nash County located on present-day Stone Heritage Road. The Chairman of the School Board was J. Turner Manning, and the other Board members were Larry Deans, Sr., and Brown Perry. Manning School consisted of two large rooms built in an "L" shape, with a music room and stage out back. First through third grade were taught in one room by one teacher, who always boarded with a local family (Mrs. Van Gelder remembers Ruth Munden; Nannie Dee; Della Draper; and Vivian Farmer, who taught that class in different years over her time there) and fourth through seventh grade was always taught by the Principal, Mr. Isaac Boswell. Heat came from two stoves, one in each classroom, with pipes and flues running across the ceiling (they would occasionally fall down, making for a school holiday). Boys were obliged to carry wood in and keep the stoves going; the biggest boys would come in early and get the stoves started in the morning. There were outdoor toilets (one for girls on one side of the yard and one for boys on the other) and a well with a pump (later they got running water to wash their hands). Everyone took lunch to school, and after lunch they played outdoors, the girls making play houses and the boys playing tag and running in the woods until "school took in again." They had a student-run chapel service once a week with scripture, a prayer, and a short program. The school held elaborate commencement exercises lasting two nights and one day. They also had a school play, a music recital, and promotion exercises with an invited speaker and picnic to follow. They had sports field days (relay races etc.) against other Nash County schools. Mr. Ellis Inscoe was the County School Superintendent, and his assistant Carrie B. Wilson ("a stately lady") visited once a year and read stories and poems. Mrs. Van Gelder went on to Bailey High School, from which she graduated in 1934. She comments that although Manning School was primitive compared to schools today, the teachers were very good (and had complete control of their classrooms) and taught all the basics including geography. She says most pupils learned their lessons well and went on to higher education. Her days there were among the happiest of her life.





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