Totem Pole Tales-Waverly School
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook July 6, 2012

Caption: WAVERLY SCHOOL STUDENTS 1954. Back row left to right:  Robert Johnson, Stanley Stockwell, John Stump, Dave Cowper, 
Floyd Skuse, Tom Skuse, Bob Decker, Sidney Skuse, Dick Hart and teacher Ruth Nelson.  Center row:  Elizabeth Brady, June Bowen,
Willard Penfold, Larry Skuse, Shirley ZurHorse and Pat Sabo.  Front row:  Carl Peacock, Fred Stockwell, Lizanne Gall, 
Elizabeth Cowper, Sharon Johnson and Roy Decker.
width="600" As I sort through my folders on the Waverly school system, I find that I have enough pictures and information to cover several weeks of history.
I need to give credit to Dorothy Hart, Beth Johnson and Liz Gall as I combine their thesis and information into some very good information.
The following was written in 1948 by former schoolteacher, Dorothy Hart.
Waverly organized its first school in the same year it became a township in 1883. For a number of years, school affairs were managed by the township board. Then, as more schools were added, it was organized into a Union School District. This made it possible for the taxes to be spread evenly through out the township.
The first school was build of logs. There were no blackboards and only a handful of books. This school was located in Section 25. Evangeline Stewart was the first teacher. The school term lasted six months, 1883-1884.
This school soon became too small to accommodate the children, so another school was built in 1895 in Section 26 where the present No. 1 school now stands. Stanford A. Lester was the first teacher there. He was a well-liked man and gave very satisfactory service. Lester at this time was one of the county examiners for Cheboygan County. He taught two terms and was followed by Evangeline Roberts, the same Evangeline Stewart who taught the first school in Waverly.
In 1906 another school was built. It was located in the southwest one-quarter of Section 28. This land was purchased from Leonard Walters and his wife. At the same time two more schools were added, one in the northwest corner of Section 31 and the other in Section 18.
In the year of 1909 a group of Kentucky woodcutters were employed by a lumbering concern in the western part of Waverly Township. These Kentuckians brought their families and as they were located far from any other schools, a fifth school was added. This was hastily erected from logs and equipped with material from the other four schools. Miss Gladys Cole was hired to teach this school. A member of the school board drove Miss. Cole to "Kentuckyville" to take up her duties. As Miss. Cole stepped from the buggy, she was greeted by an overly-zealous mother, "If you dare whip my child, I'll cut the heart out of you." Despite this the school ran two terms. In 1911, following the forest fire, the woodcutters moved on and the school was closed.
No. 4 School was originally built by the Milligan Creek. During the great forest fire on 1911 the men were called from the eastern end of the township to fight fires and save the school. They saved No. 4 but as they returned that night they found No. 3 had burned to the ground.
Several years later a controversy arose over No. 4 School's location, and one night it mysteriously burned to the ground. So in 1919 it was rebuilt in Section 31 on land purchased from Joseph Brady and wife.
In 1925, due to financial inability of the township, it was decided to close No. 2 and transport the children to No. 1. The children were transported during the winter in a covered sleigh. This proved unsatisfactory so the following year the school was reopened. In 1940 the school was closed again because there were no children left to teach, and again in 1947 it was reopened to accommodate new families with school age children who had moved into the district.
No. 2 School was closed in 1940 and the few children in the district were transported to No. 1.
The salaries of the teaching staff in Waverly had been fair. The wages began at $30 but had risen again to the then present salaries of $180.
The township had good and bad teachers, but the majority seemed to be on the good side. Many of them were high-principled, civic-minded people, who gave more than most demanded of them. One of the old teachers spent 11 years in the district and said, "I taught their children, helped with the sick and even helped some of the needy by making clothing for them."
Many of the teachers of the past were hired at age 16 after taking a county examination. They were very little prepared to take over the task of educating children, some of them older than the teacher.
Ben Johnson, whose parents came to Waverly in 1892, volunteered this information, "Children were essentially the same as they are now, only the teachers were not adequately instructed in handling and understanding children, as they are today. However, I do feel we were taught more of the fundamentals than they do now. If education could only strike a happy medium, a little work and a little play, we would feel our children were really getting some lasting values."
The lack of money has seriously handicapped the school system in the township. The schools need many repairs, more modern equipment and even more textbooks. There are no playground materials.
The people in the township are now planning on putting all the schools together and making a two-room school. This seems a reasonable plan as they feel all the money could be spent in one place and everyone's children would get the benefit.
It would make it possible to have running water and many advantages not to be had in the present schools. Plans for the furthering of this project are progressing rapidly, and it will be voted on in the coming election in 1949.
There is no high school in Waverly, so the children of high school age, are transported to Onaway for further education. The Presque Isle County Normal offers a splendid course in teacher training, which many of our graduates take advantage of.
-Onaway Outlook, July 6, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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