By Marsha Sandman | CNA Media Team
Thursday, Oct. 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Vernon School will celebrate its 111th anniversary with an open house. All are welcome.
The school’s motto “I Believe. I Belong. I Become,” is as true today as it was in 1931 when Gordon Hood entered the school among the first students in the newly rebuilt school.
The old Vernon School had been an impressive all-wood structure that was built in 1907. It was destroyed by arson in 1932. At that time, there were about 500 students enrolled. There are currently 526 students at the new Vernon School, which was built in 1931 for $259,198.
Medina Keita, 12 years old, is a bright, charming and creative 7th grader at Vernon School today. She visited recently with Gordon, a 92-year-old Vernon School alumnus who has fond memories and a sharp wit.
One would expect vast differences in school experiences. However, the opposite was true.
Although Gordon was not able to speak as specifically as Medina, there were many similarities in their Vernon experiences. Both have/had favorite teachers and classes, a fondness for their school and classmates, and a dislike of the cafeteria food.
Today Vernon school is involved in an International Baccalaureate (IB) program which teaches world awareness and social issues that are detrimental to humanity. That’s a heavy burden for a preteen old, but one that teaches students to be more open minded.
“The principle of the IB school is to challenge yourself as a learner,” Medina said.
Gordon moved to Concordia and attended Vernon from 1931 to 1937. As the result of the 1929 stock market crash, his father had lost their home and business. The Great Depression lasted until the late 1930s, and was the most widespread depression of the 20th century.
Gordon said his family moved to an apartment in Concordia that cost $12.50 per month. He left Concordia when his family purchased a home near Broadway for $2,800.
In spite of his family’s hardships while Gordon attended Vernon, he remarked that it was a great school with great teachers.
With a twinkle in his eye he said he was a bit of a friendly troublemaker but “Gordy Hood never had it so good.”
Both Medina and Gordon face social challenges with dignity. One could say the more things change the more they stay the same.
After living east, south, north and west, Marsha Sandman is home at last. And she wants to hear your story. Contact her at MarshaJSandman@ gmail.com.