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Nancy Evans was a substitute teacher in the WT schools from 1966-68. She came to OFRS in 1968 part time as a supplemental instructor to teach reading. She became full time in 1969, in charge of Title I program for the district, and head teacher at OFRS. When Kossmann school was completed, she left OFRS to be principal at Kossmann in December 1979. She retired from WT schools in 1999. In Septemeber of 2015, she gave this speech at our 50th Anniversary kick-off event:
Good morning, OFRS. I’m Mrs Evans, a former teacher and parent of 2 students who went to this school.
We moved to Long Valley in the fall of 1963, 2 years before your school opened. Our taxes were less than $500 a year. The Long Valley General Store (now an antique shop) in the center of town was the busiest place in the valley. There was no traffic light. The Post Office was on Schooley’s Mountain Road next to where the Long Valley Green Market is held today.
There were no shopping centers. No pizza restaurants. There was a barbershop next to the General Store that was about the size of the inside of your school vans. There were two ponds in town where the people came to ice skate in the winter, one behind the Lutheran Church, and McGuires in East Valley Brook Road, just over the hill from OFRS. There was a train that went through Long Valley twice a day. A stamp to mail a letter cost 4 cents - it’s now $.48.
If you were in first grade, you went to West Morris Hight School. Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 4th went to school in either the Long Valley Lutheran or Presbyterian Churches, the Middle Valley School House, or what is now the Municipal building. There was no Old Farmers Road School.
Old Farmers Road was dirt! And there were very few homes on it. It wasn’t long until OFRS and Flocktown Road Schools were being built so students could be in real schools. Both buildings were scheduled to open in September of 1965 - 50 years ago. My daughter was one of the children ready to enter kindergarten that year.
In August, we got the word that Flocktown School was ready and it would open on time, but OFRS was not going to be able to open. The solution to the problem was going to be something called “split sessions”. We were going to share Flocktown School for a while. This meant that the children and their teachers on the mountain would go to school from 8 AM until noon, and the children and teachers from the valley would go to class from noon to four o’clock. They were bused up the mountain. It was not until Thanksgiving that OFRS was finished and they made the move here and began regular school hours.
At the new building there were 10 classrooms, no office and no principal. Mrs Tremnell (sp?), a 3rd grade teacher, was the head teacher and the only phone in the building was in her room.
There was no full-time nurse, Mrs Darter (sp?) traveled from the Middle School to Old Farmers and Flocktown when she was needed. Art, music and physical education were all taught by the classroom teachers. There was no library. There were two classes of each grade, K-4. Buses pulled up in front of the building and everyone came in the front door.
Let’s talk about lunch in those early days. You could order soup or a sandwich, chocolate milk or white milk, or you could bring your lunch in a box that like one of these… Each box had a thermos which your parents would fill with juice or milk. There was a problem. If you dropped your lunchbox, the inside of the thermos was glass and it would break into a zillion little pieces - you heard tho strange crackling noise and knew you had a beverage that wasn’t safe to drink.
As school started, the teacher took the lunch count and it was sent to Mrs Tremnell. When all the orders were given to her she called the order down to the Middle School cafeteria.
At about 11:15, a van came up to OFRS with buckets filled with soup containers, buckets of sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and buckets with cartons of milk. These buckets were delivered to each classroom and the food was passed out to everyone who ordered lunch.
You ate in the classroom with your classmates and teacher. This was necessary because it was not until 1969 that Old Farmers had its own cafeteria.
After lunch, there was recess. However, the playground was dirt and had lots of stones. Each class would go out with buckets (not the lunch buckets) and pick up stones for at least part of the playtime. They left the buckets where they lined up to come in and the custodian would empty them so they were ready for the next day. By the second year of the school they were able to get grass to grow where the kids had worked so hard.
It only took 1 year for the town to outgrow the new school. For the next few years kindergarten went back to the building in the Middle Valley. I believe they came back when the first addition was complete. It wasn’t until 1967 that you had your first principal and a full time nurse.
During these early years I was a substitute frequently in the building and worked for $15.00 a day. In 1968, I came aboard as a staff member in time to witness the addition of the upper hall where the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades are now. It was then that you got your library, cafeteria art and music rooms and a gym.
From 1968 on, the community continued to grow - houses sprung up everywhere and another addition was needed. You school was built in 3 parts!
It was in the 1970s OFRS found a wonderful friend. He loved to come to school! He didn’t ride the bus: he walked here. He couldn’t talk: he could only howl or bark. He had a furry coat and very long ears. He had a sad face and made everyone smile. He belonged to a family who lived next to the building.
It was Bowser, the Basset Hound.
Bowser would find an open door and wander up and down the hall or go visit in the kindergarten room. In the middle of a lesson, you might hear him howling outside your door. When they began the 1979 addition, the workmen brought him a a yellow hard hat which they often strapped on his head. When they were pouring the concrete for your second gyn, Bowser walked through it. We had to send him home a bath. His stomach and his ears were covered with concrete!
Bowser was a part of your history. We even had a Bowser flag for the front of the building.
The 1979 addition made your upper hall longer (your art room is there), gave you a second gym and added the pod where you first grades and kindergarten are today. It was also the year that Kossmann School was built and I left OFRS to become the principal there.
Mr Ciulla told me that everyone was asked today to dress as though it was 1965. OK - it’s 1965. Is everyone wearing leather shoes? No sneakers! T-shirts: no words or pictures on them… No such thing as no-show socks… Girls - are you wearing a dress or skirt? No slacks, no jeans, no Capris. And boys and girls - no shorts!
Teachers: Men would have to wear a suit, shirt and neck tie. Women would have to wear a dress or skirt - no slacks. In 1969 one of our teachers appeared at the parent conferences in a very bright orange pantsuit to see what would happen! We all held our breath, but nothing happened, so soon teachers then the girls began to wear slacks to school.
So I decided to dress in 1969 fashion today as well! How times have changed.
In 50 years, many boys and girls have come to this school to learn. Perhaps your parents were students. They were all taught by teachers who loved being here, and were proud of the school. It was in this building that children learned to read and write, solve math problems, enjoy art and music and become physically fit. You are very lucky to be a part OFRS. You will always remember your days here.