Thursday, March 22, 2012

Evening Bicentennial Program Highlights Fairport Schools & Athletes

Tonight at 7pm will be the third in a series of Bicentennial Programs celebrating the rich history of Fairport Harbor.  The topic will be school and athletic history and will be held in the Harding High auditorium ( 329 Vine Street) .  Mike Thomas and Tom Fazekas, both Harding alumni will be presenting.  John Ollila, Fairport Harbor Historical Society historian, will be sharing old athletic scrapbook histories prior to the program.  The Program is free and open to all community members.

Did You Know?  
These are some little known 'gems' from Fairport School history.  All appeared in the 1976 edition of the Fairport Harbor, Ohio book.
  • The Superintendent was called 'Professor' by townspeople.
  • Children newly arrived from Europe were called 'Steamer Children'.
  • Teachers wore tea aprons to protect clothing from chalk dust.
  • It was customary for children to give oranges and apple rolls for the teachers.  At a signal, down the aisles rolled the fruit.  An occasional potato or onion was rolled.
  • Emily (Emma) Ritari was the first Fairport High School (1904) graduate to obtain a college degree - Lake Erie, Class of 1908.
  • Eighth Grade Commencements were held at the Congregational Church with one exception (1919).
  • Classes at Plum Street School marched four abreast at dismissal time to the music of student pianists.
  • Teachers took classes on hikes to Painesville or had USCG members row them across the river.
  • Fourth grade teacher, Miss Julia Strong, passed out Yucatan Chewing Gum to students when beginning a Central American unit.
  • Musical operettas with entire student body casts in crepe paper costumes were popular.
  • Classes in the 1920's had daily inspections of neckties and handkerchiefs.
  • Teachers came to school in horse drawn carriages.  Two concrete steps remained after the 1910 fire to show where they stepped down.
  • In the 1920's, book rentals were in effect - for $3 per year.  Prior to that parents had to pay for all student books and supplies.  Items were purchased at the High and Second Street shops of Len Henry or Charlie Irwin.
  • Reports to parents used to be in three languages - English, Finnish and Hungarian.
  • Fairport often won the Lake Shore Track Meet.
  • Saul Olin, Albert Katila, and Reuben Pohto were members of the first school football team (1921).
  • The Fairport -Painesville football rivalry continues to exist today.  A 'sore point' still exists today as debate continues about that 1921 final score.  Fairport had 'zero'.  Painesville tallied 135, 137, or 150.
  • George Gedeon, Larry Cooper and Shirley Sholtis were outstanding skaters for the village.
 Fairport may be one of Lake County's smallest school districts but it has offered much to our county  history.  Share in its journey tonight at 7pm --- Harding High Auditorium.

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