Sepia Saturday 445: Fourth in a series about my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George — one of those friends, acquaintances and neighbors (FANs) who can make such a difference in a person’s life.
After graduating in 1939 from Cortland Normal School (now SUNY Cortland), my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George, 22, launched her career as an educator at Hooper School in Endwell, N.Y. — just west of her Binghamton hometown.
Those were the days when small-town papers regularly reported on local personalities and happenings — including updates on local schools and teachers.
So Miss George was in the news for two decades before I had her for fourth grade.
A 1945 holiday program
The earliest news article I have found — titled “Hooper School Pupils to Give Yule Program” — appeared in the Dec. 17, 1945, Endicott Daily Bulletin and gave evidence of Miss George’s many talents.The third paragraph says, “Members of the fourth and fifth grades will be in charge of the first program to be directed by Miss Helen George.”
The program was a holiday-themed play featuring eight grade-school actors — plus a ninth who did the introduction.
This news story particularly interested me because Miss George later directed two plays put on by my fourth grade class — a very big deal for us youngsters.
It never occurred to me then that this stagecraft was something she did on a regular basis!
Career, social life and faculty activity
On June 28, 1949, as the early Baby Boomers reached grade school age, Hooper School’s record enrollment of 800 elementary students made the Endicott Daily Bulletin — with Miss George on the roster of fourth grade teachers.
She was involved in the Hooper School faculty association, too.
An Oct. 3, 1951, article in the Endicott Daily Bulletin reported Miss George’s appointment as Legislative Committee chair at a faculty meeting at the Octagon Inn in Glen Aubrey, N.Y. — a position she held until at least 1955.
Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. Miss George was always pushing me and my fourth grade classmates to take an interest in social studies — and she was active in local civic projects, too.
Honored for length of service
One last Endicott Daily Bulletin clip from June 4, 1959 — titled “Endwell: 3 Local Faculty Members Honored for Service” — spotlights Miss George right before I had her for fourth grade.
She was one of three teachers honored by the PTA for having “served Endwell school children for a total of 84 years.”
In appreciation, Miss George and the other teachers “were presented orchids during a program held following the PTA’s annual ice cream social.”
At that point Miss George had been teaching for 20 years — and come September 1959, I would become one of her fourth grade students.
Please stop back as this series continues. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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