|Vol. 4, No. 4||Page 2||Jan. 28, 1955|
Work in the public school system has its drawbacks, its trials and tribulations, but it is also rewarding. It is a great responsibility for one to presume to mold the very lives of young men and women, but it is an even greater satisfaction to realize that such molding and direction has led to successful worthwhile lives.
Such are the sentiments of Miss Adelaide Ward, well-known principal of the local high school. And she can rightfully feel that she has influenced a great many young lives. A parent feels a keen sense of responsibility for a comparative few - a son or daughter - but this conscientious woman feels that same keen responsibility for literally hundreds of boys and girls. She has been heartsick over their failures and joyous over their successes.
She is so much more than a teacher of the three R's. Her students learn the basic fundamentals of education, but in addition, and more important, they also learn the fundamentals of character, good clean living, and good citizenship. Her brisk "call a spade a spade" type of lectures have done much to get a child back on the straight and narrow path.
The youngest of four, Miss Ward grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. They were a closely knit family and had wonderful times together in simple ways. The mother read aloud evening while the others munched on pop corn and apples. Community events such as box socials, threshing bees, silo filling and sheep shearing were means of entertainment. The parents were strict, God-fearing people who gave their children the spiritual as well as the material things in life. They wanted only the best for their sons and daughters and because they were prosperous, they never lacked for the things money could buy. In addition, they gave of themselves to their family. Adelaide can look back on many beautiful memories of her childhood.
Her elementary education was obtained in a small country school. Attending high school meant riding eight miles thru rugged Wisconsin weather - a far cry from the conveniences of today. She was interested in all forms of athletics and played on the girls' basketball team. She recalls the long thirty and forty mile trips in bob sleds to play various other schools. The sleds were equipped complete with canopy tops and stones in the middle for warmth.
After graduations from high school, our heroine attended Eau Claire Normal for one year, and then attended and graduated from Lawrence College. Her active life on the campus including cheerleading, work on the paper staff, etc., are now remembered as the happiest years of her life.
During her years at school, her goal had been to become a social case worker and she trained toward that goal. Throughout the summers for a year after graduating, she worked in this capacity in Des Moines, Iowa. However, she wasn't satisfied with this line of endeavor - she wanted more direct methods of helping her fellow man. So, when just thirty years ago the little town of Dewey needed someone to manage their high school, Miss Ward accepted the challenge and took over this little four student school. She worked not only with the school, but became a definite part of the community, teaching Sunday School, organizing literary societies, etc.
No story of Miss Ward would be complete without mention of that kindly person, Miss Christine Hajek. They go together like pepper and salt, bread and butter, ham and eggs. They met in Des Moines where they were both social workers thirty-one years ago, "set up housekeeping" together and have been together ever since. Through the years, they have had nary a quarrel. To this remark, Miss Ward's mother said, "That's no fault of yours, Adelaide."
For sixteen years our charming red head worked as superintendent and principal of the Buffalo Gap High School. For the next year and one-half the two friends owned and managed a grocery store there.
In 1940, after years of hard work, they considered retirement. But along came the war and a new Igloo's vital need for a school for the children of the defense workers. Again they accepted the challenge and set out to establish a school for the rapidly growing community. In the beginning, they were literally without a roof over their heads. They slept in their car and cooked behind it. After a few days they moved into a WPA shack that was available and eventually got a small trailer house.
Through the years, Miss Ward worked untiringly to further better education facilities for this district. Her personal appeals to higher authority did much to promote necessary funds. She can look with pride upon the splendid school system Igloo has today and realize that she was directly responsible for its existence.
After thirty years of teaching in Fall River and Custer counties, her name has become tradition in many homes. She has taught parents, their children, and given a few more years, will teach the children's children.
When eventually our energetic educator and her charming friend decide to retire in their cabin, the Owl's Nest at Blue Bell, she can look back with satisfaction upon her life of service to others, and all over the country will be ex-students who will be better citizens, better people, because of a remarkable woman who was not "just a teacher."
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