Lackamas

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Lackamas

Lackamas – District #305

Early History

The Lackamas school opened in the fall 1914. The Lackamas District #305 was formed by combining the Longmire (Tebotten), Morehead, and Bald Hills Districts. Students who used to walk to the Longmire (Tebotten or Clear Lake), Morehead, or Bald Hills schools were now bused to their new school. Louis Cochrane built a house near the school and rented it to a teacher at the school. In 1920 the gym was built. The gym became the social center of the Lackamas community. The gym was used for playing basketball and other physical activities. School plays and assemblies in the gym drew appreciative crowds of parents and relatives. Community dances were a regular part of weekends in the Bald Hills. Profits from the dances were used by the families to fund the free lunch program at the school.

“Everything Was Entirely Different”

Everything was entirely different. We had one teacher. No superintendent, no principal, no janitor, no nothing. One teacher ran this school. And every Friday we would put a list up on the board and two boys would feed the wood furnace for the following week. Two boys would take care of their restroom. Two girls would take care of theirs. The teacher always cooked the noon lunch. And she’d have two girls, their names would be on the list, they’d help cook the lunch for that week, but they only cooked lunch for four days a week and every Friday one of the mothers would bring us something special for lunch. And that’s the way it worked. And then about fifteen minutes before school was out every day we’d have to clean up our room, so it was ready for the next morning. And then once a week we’d go out and clean up all the school grounds and clean everything up. And then of course one person had to put the flag up and take it down everyday. (Dillard Jensen, 2003)

Enrollment

The Lackamas school drew its students from the farms and woods of the Bald Hills. The enrollment fluctuated with the economy and other undetermined factors. Students might have numbered as low as 13 for one year to a high of 44 in 1920-21. Wallace Music attended Lackmas for seven years in the 1930’s and remembered the school employing two teachers, each with roughly 12 students. Dillard Jensen recalled 16 students attending Lackamas in 1940. Students would be grouped according to age with up to four or five for a particular grade level. At the enrollment height of its existence the school employed three teachers.

The School Year

In an interview in June 2003 Dillard Jensen recalled, “We started right after Labor Day and we always got out the last of May. Usually around May 29. . . I don’t think we had any spring vacation.” School records from the Lackamas school corroborate Jensen’s memory. School usually started the first week in September and ended during the third or fourth week of May.

According to school records the 1918 school year at Lackamas, on September 2, 1918. October 4th the school had that Friday off for students to attend the fair. World events caught up with the students of Lackamas within days of returning to school that Monday.

Influenza was rampaging through the nation and world at that time. The school was shut down on the 13th of October, not to reopen until the week of November 25. The students returned to school that Thanksgiving week. Undoubtedly they shared their knowledge of the workings of the disease in the area, along with their tales of free time in the fall. Students fell back into the rhythms of the school day and looked forward to Christmas. Christmas vacation, however, came early to the Lackamas school that year. On December, 6, 1918, the school was again shut down in order to limit the spread of the deadly contagion. The students didn’t reenter the doors of the school until February 3, 1919. Altogether the students had missed 49 days due to the series of precautionary school closures. The school year ended, as was usual, in mid May and seven out of the eight students in grades 9 and 10 were promoted to the next grade. That was not the end of the flu, however.

In February 1920, the school was again shut down for, in the words of the teacher, two separate “flu vacations.” The last vacation ran until the end of the school year. Students returned in September 1920.

Teaching in a Multi Age Room

Chester Biesen taught in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade at the Lackamas School in the 1926-27 school year. A yearly sum of $1,125 he instructed four 4th graders, one fifth grader, and ten 6th graders. According to his grade book his school day was broken up in the following way:

9:00 Opening Exercises

9:10 4th arithmetic

9:25 5th arithmetic

9:40 Physical training

9:45 6th arithmetic

10:00 4th spelling

10:10 5th spelling

10:20 6th spelling

10:30 Recess

11:00 5th history and hygiene

11:15 6th history and reading

10:45 and r 11:30 4th hygiene

11:45 6th hygiene

12:00 Noon Intermission

1:00 penmanship

1:15 4th language

1:30 5th language

1:45 6th language

2:00 5th reading

2:15 Recess

2:30 6th reading

2:45 4th geography

3:00 5th geography

3:15 6th geography

3:30 Dismissal