Nu Alpha Gamma recaptures heritage of one-room schoolhouse

Some of the Nu Alpha Gamma Chapter members who have kept the Alton School spiffy on the grounds of Forest Park Museum include, from left, Sue Leslie, JoAnn Harmelink, helpful spouse Chuck Landon, Jackie Landon, Cathy Clark, Sharon Ulrich and Marti Klatt.

The Alton Schoolhouse, dating from the 1800s, is preserved at Forest Park Museum in Perry.
The one-room Alton Schoolhouse, dating from the 1800s, is preserved at Forest Park Museum in Perry.

The Nu Alpha Gamma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization of women educators in Dallas County, has adopted the Alton Schoolhouse at Forest Park Museum. They hope to enhance and highlight the crucial place of the one-room school in our rural educational heritage.

Chapter members began last week the task of cleaning the schoolhouse to ready it for classes of visiting school children. Starting early Friday morning, six Nu Alpha Gamma members — along with some helpful spouses — armed themselves with cleaner, mops, rags and buckets of water and descended on the building, leaving it sparkling.

Leading the charge against cobwebs and dust were chapter members Cathy Clark, JoAnn Harmelink, Marti Klatt, Jackie Landon, Sue Leslie and Sharon Ulrich. Helpful spouse Chuck Landon was also on hand to steady ladders and provide comic relief.

At their May meeting, the Nu Alpha Gamma Chapter will present 24 chalkboards, chalk and clothe for erasing to Mike Wallace, director of the Dallas County Conservation Board. The chalkboards or slates will be used by the volunteers who hold simulated classes in the one-room schoolhouse.

In the future, the chapter will be interviewing and taping people who have attended or taught in one-room settings in and around Dallas County. They hope to install these memories in an interactive audio display in the Alton Schoolhouse so visitors can access those memories with the push of a button.

Some funding for the project has been received from the state organization, Upsilon State, in the form of a grant. The Nu Alpha Gamma Chapter has applied for another grant through the Dallas County Foundation to complete the project.

“One-room schoolhouses are vanishing from the landscape along with the unique education experience they offered,” said project chairperson and longtime Nu Alpha Gamma member Sue Leslie of Perry. “We hope to preserve those memories for generations to come.”


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