Miss George in the news

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.

1939: Helen George at age 22. In this senior photo from the Cortland Normal School Didascaleion yearbook, a young Miss George seems to radiate a sense of purpose that was well-honed by the time I had her for fourth grade 20 years later. Scan: Molly Charboneau

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.

Dec. 1945: Miss George directs a play. [Click to enlarge.] This Endicott Daily Bulletin article describes a play by 4th and 5th graders directed by my fourth grade teacher Helen George. Stagecraft was just one of her many educational tools. Source/full article: Digital Archives of the George F. Johnson Memorial Library
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.

Another article is the same issue describes “Miss Helen George of Binghamton” attending a bridal shower for Miss Dorothy Carey. So just  like in college, she also found time for fun social activities.

October 1951: Helen George appointed Legislative Committee chair by Hooper School faculty association. Source/full article: NYS Historic Newspapers

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.

June 1959: Helen George honored for 20 years of service to Endwell school children. Source/full article: Digital Archives of the George F. Johnson Memorial Library

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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10 thoughts on “Miss George in the news”

  1. Our local newspaper has been so reduced in content that I’ve finished reading it in 3 minutes at breakfast. The content of old newspapers are an incredibly rich resource for the details on life in the “good ole days.” Teaching creativity through acting is one of the best methods for enriching children’s education:

    1. Totally agree! We have some weekly community papers in my area, but sadly they don’t come close to capturing the local detail of bygone newspapers.

  2. You’ve been very lucky in the amount of information you’ve been able to find in regard to Miss George – your 4th grade/favorite teacher, but it hasn’t been all luck as you’ve done some diligent research to get it! Nice going.

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