June 9, 2008
One-room school shorter daysBy Rob Scott
SELINSGROVE — Today’s students probably would have preferred the Herman School students’ school year: December to February.
They would not have preferred the school’s disciplinary measures, however. The dunce cap, hickory switch and “pointed horse” — a wooden board with tapered edges that students had to sit on if they misbehaved — would not sit well with modern-day youths or their parents.
At one time, about 150 years ago, the Herman School housed students ranging in age from 6 to 20, according to Dave Angstadt, a board member of the Herman School Association.
The board has spent the past 40 years preserving the one-room schoolhouse on Salem Road in Penn Township, Snyder County.
“This is the first and only remaining one-room schoolhouse in Snyder County, which is unique,” Angstadt said during an open house Sunday afternoon.
Angstadt believed the 90-degree heat kept people indoors Sunday, but said the school had a good turnout the week before.
“A lot of people who come are interested in Pennsylvania history or education,” he said.
Angstadt said his own teaching background has more than a little to do with his interest in the school, which was open from 1842 to 1882.
“Paper and pencil was kind of scarce. If you had a pencil, you held onto it,” he said, gesturing to a slate board sitting on a period desk inside the schoolhouse, before turning to an empty bucket sitting behind him. “And every morning, they would send someone across the road to get water ... All the students drank from the same ladle. It’s a wonder they didn’t get sick.”
The schoolhouse is maintained through membership dues, donations and fundraising. Angstadt said the board is toying with some new fundraising ideas.
The Herman School is open from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Arrangements also can be made to have a tour of the school during the week.