Hello History Lovers!
A mother from rural Massachusetts shares her desire for advanced [school] work for students in the local community. Having raised three sons who had to leave the “home influence” and “go away” to junior high, Mrs. Hadley found that boarding school did not provide the loving support necessary for two of her sons to succeed. As a result, she is determined to prevent this same injustice from happening to other school children in her area by promoting the building of a junior high. She also wisely acknowledges that 1923 is just the beginning of the hard work of bringing her great purpose to fruition.
With the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, women were empowered to continue promoting economic, political, and civic reforms. It would be interesting to have enough information to research the result of Mrs. Hadley’s and others’ quest.
To Get a Junior High School
My Great purpose for 1923 is to start a Junior High School.
Since public schools concern more people than any other enterprise, it seems only natural that every adult should study their requirements and give them every attention possible. The right of every child to have the opportunity for individual success in both social and industrial life is too great to be estimated.
Even if expenses are increased, it is more vital that the school child should be under the home influence and that more children receive the benefit of the two years of advanced work. Many could attend the home school, who could not go away to school. I know these things from experience as I had three children who were away at school and who boarded themselves for the greater part of two years. Some work for their board; a few drive back and forth in a car but none of these conditions are ideal for young people. In all, it is a survival of the fittest. At least, I have found it so. I started three in the pursuit of knowledge and only one graduated.
My idea would be to get the signers for an article and have it put in the warrant before the town meeting. The women must be influenced to attend. The non-progressives must be interviewed and made to realize that we are working for a project that is honest, sound in principle, and unselfish in aim.
It will be plain to every progressive citizen that it is to our advantage and mutual purpose to keep the young people in the home community a few years longer.
It is the solemn obligation of every citizen to promote public school enterprises as the best investment that can be made.
One of these schools in a town of fewer than one thousand inhabitants has been in successful operation for ten years. “They built wiser than they knew.”
To accomplish this 1923 purpose of mine will require unlimited tact, patience, and skill. It may not succeed this year but it will next. The fact that the subject is before the people and under consideration will be encouraging. At present, the inadequate provision in many towns for the education of the child just graduated from the eighth grade is more than an injustice. It is an injury. Mothers, let us work! —Florence Hadley, Massachusetts.
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, January 1923, Page 260; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.