At seventy-two years old It takes very little for me to just sit back and remember my childhood and growing up in a world that seems to not exist any more. It is just a fading memory. As I rode down the main street of Preston this past week I remembered the old Preston High School where I went for the first ten years of my school life before we were all transferred to Cornel Richardson in the middle of the school year. The old Preston school has been gone now for a while and a new school has replaced the old one, but the memories are still there. It was an important time in my life.
We walked the halls with not a care in the world because we knew that we were perfectly safe even though there were no police officers in the hallways, no drugs being sold or used. Everything was always orderly in the hallways and even in the classroom. Everyone dressed properly and every student there from first grade to the twelfth grade knew what was expected of them and what would happen if that line was crossed. From the principal to the teachers’ punishment was handed out if wrong was done. But still, most of us loved those teachers. The students went to school and their parents did not have to worry what might happen in the hallways or school grounds. Mr Hall was the principal and he was a good principle.
We had recess, field days, May Days, and many other events. What we did not have was police officers paroling the halls, the events we had, or anything else. There were no drugs in our school, no fighting, no firearms inside the school. The biggest thing we had in our school was a fire drill. Might have been a shotgun or a 22 rifle out in someone’s car where someone had been hunting before they came to school, but it was never a problem. It could have been a teacher or student’s firearm. The almost ten years I went to Preston school there was never a problem like we have in today’s schools. There was never a sign near the school that said the school was a drug-free zone because there was no need for it. The biggest crime for a school kid back then was smoking in the bathroom or chewing gum in class.
Before our school day started we had Bible reading and the Lord’s prayer. Each day a different student would pick the Bible up which was on the teacher’s desk and pick a passage to read and when the student was finished the Bible was placed back on the Teachers desk. Then came the pledge allegiance to the flag and the announcements over the intercom system. Then our day started. My favourite class was History and Mrs Butler was an excellent teacher. I can also remember some of the other teachers who were good at what they taught. Mr Phillips, Mr Humphreys, Ms Elzey, Ms Bonner, Ms Lednum, Ms Nuttle. Ms Wright, Ms Worm, and Ms Hynson and others.
During the school year, most of the students always look forward to Christmas and the activities connected to it from decorating the halls with holly and cedar. We looked forward to the Christmas trees and the manger scene which was in front of the school. The manger was made in the school shop by students and the straw was brought in by the kids who lived on the farm. We sang Christmas carols in the auditorium including songs about the Birth of Christ. It was a time of joy for all of us including the teachers and the other school personnel. One Christmas song I will always remember singing along with the whole school was “Silent Night”
It was not long after the move to our new school that I realized how I missed that old Preston School and the comradeship that was felt between everybody including students, teachers, and other school personnel. We were in a different world. A world I did not like and it seems it is here to stay.