(05/02/2003)
By Bob Weaver

Original Mt. Zion School - 1885-1924

MT. ZION SCHOOL - 1928 - First row: Fred Shaffer, Mary McDonald Teacher, Ernest Sickle, Tom Sickle, Harry Shaffer, Alfred Hersman, Lena Null, Oral Sickle, Kenny Gunn, Billy Gunn, Jim Sturm, Simon Greathouse, Billy Hersman, _____Digman, _____Fowler, Edith Gunn, _____Digman, Dale Gunn, _____Silcott; Second Row: Loraine _____, Hetty Greathouse, Eloise Gunn, Brooke Riddle, Ernie Norman, Mildred Fowler, Merle Gunn, Eileen Slider, Thelma Riddle, Mildred Greathouse, Mildred Sturm, Eleanor Riddle, Geraldine Hersman.

Students from the old Mt. Zion School will return tomorrow for another reunion of the one room school. The doors will open about 10 a.m. at the Mt. Zion Community Park, with a covered dish lunch about noon.

Retired Calhoun teacher Marvin Stemple, who attended the school, said reunion numbers have been dwindling these past years.

Stemple said he spent all his grade school years there, except one day when he was sent to Grantsville. "I didn't like the big city school and came back to Mount Zion," he said.

Irene Gunn and late Bernard McDonald, who once taught there, spoke of early school days at the 2001 reunion.

McDonald spoke of the original Mount Zion one-room school which was located near the entrance to the McDonald farm, not far from Sinking Springs Road. "Actually it was in the middle of where Route 16 is now," he said. "It was built in 1885 and was torn down by Oak Hartshorn. He tore it down (about 1924) and built a house on Phillip's Run."

McDonald said the "new" one-room school was built behind the Mt. Zion Church Cemetery on the Barnes Run Road in 1924. "It was one of the last one room schools to close in the county." McDonald said he was the last county school superintendent who was elected by popular vote. "I was elected after Hanning Poling and T. C. Cain. It was a Democrat vs. Republican thing."

Stemple said the kids would often wander from the school playground and explore the Mt. Zion Cave, located in the hollow between the school and the church. "During World War II we collected tin foil and milkweed pods for the war cause," he said. The feathery seeds were used in life preservers.

"Most of all I remember the field meets, which were both academic and athletic. We would compete against many of the one-room schools in the area and the winners would go to Grantsville to compete with the 'big' schools," he said. The contests often included hoop rolling, sack racing, one-legged race and "just plain races," according to Stemple.

Stemple said the Mount Zion School often had between 30-35 students.

McDonald recalled his late wife Mary teaching the school, in addition to Tessie Poling, Garrett Kelley, Ernest Kelley and Irene Gunn, among many others.

Irene Gunn shares teaching experience in 2001

The late Bernard McDonald (L) and Charlie Duskey (R)

Eloise Gunn Divers (L) and "Dink" Riddel Duskey (R) attended the one-room school


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