Northampton Press

Friday, April 10, 2020
Barbara Wiemann talks with former students of the East Allen Township School District during an Oct. 27 gathering at the Governor Wolf Historical Society, 6600 Jacksonville Road. The society is asking for any memorabilia to be donated to its collection. Barbara Wiemann talks with former students of the East Allen Township School District during an Oct. 27 gathering at the Governor Wolf Historical Society, 6600 Jacksonville Road. The society is asking for any memorabilia to be donated to its collection.
Union School at Snyder Church, once a one-room schoolhouse, is now a private residence.PRESS PHOTOS BY PAUL CMIL Union School at Snyder Church, once a one-room schoolhouse, is now a private residence.PRESS PHOTOS BY PAUL CMIL

Class reunion

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Former East Allen district students recall school days

Linda Kortz, president of the Governor Wolf Historical Society, opened the society’s doors at 6600 Jacksonville Road to former students of the East Allen Township School District during an Oct. 27 reunion event.

Governor Wolf’s legacy is his dedication to educating children in the area. He was responsible for jump-starting public education for children in Pennsylvania.

The East Allen Township School District had five schools — Monocacy School on Jacksonville Road (at the Governor Wolf Historical Society site), Knauss School on Route 329 (now the township municipal building), Steinmetz School on Colony Drive, Union School on Route 248 and Oxford (or Snyder) School at St. Peter’s Church.

The last three were one-room schools and are now residences. After these schools closed, East Allen students in first through sixth grades attended the three-room Monocacy School or the two-room Knauss School.

With consolidation and the establishment of the Northampton Area School District, the last two schools closed about 1962.

The single-room school was a staple in rural areas until 1947. Each municipality had its own schoolhouse. In 1947, students were bussed to larger schools and students were assigned rooms by class. As some who attended the event remarked, there were still classes with two grades in one room in the 1950s. Students in the higher grade helped the other students.

A few students remembered the schools were open to migrant workers’ children. The migrant workers came during harvest and planting seasons.

Things were different. More than one student attested that there were no snow days, no such thing as a two-hour delay and you had to be at the bus stop on time.

Rather than Google, students had to memorize.

“Mr. Dech had a book of poems that everyone had to memorize. I can still remember some of them,” Earline (White) Neidert said.

Long-tenured Warren and Rudy Dech were a father-and-son duo who taught at the schools.

The society had memorabilia on display at the event. The display ranged from early reader books to arithmetic flash cards to student reports and more.

Kortz is encouraging anyone with memorabilia or stories to bring them to the historical society. As the students were discussing their memories, Kortz handed out paper to each asking for them to recount the events so they could be preserved.