Submitted by DIANE BABNEW MANNING, RESIDENT
In April of 1981, Dr. J.H. Hogg released a report entitled The Blackhawk School District: Diversity Then and Now. Authors included Babs Donnell, Jean Means, Cheryl Nicely, and Edith Porter. The following is an excerpt from that report.
McKinley School, the only brick, one room school standing in Chippewa Township in 1981, is situated at the intersection of McKinley Road and 37th Street Extension on the Bernhardy Farm. McKinley was built in 1870 with bricks made on the farm of Dr. J.D. McCarter in Beaver Falls.
Serving from 1924-1930, Roberta Kirk Eakin was the last teacher at McKinley. The Kirk family moved to their farm on Wallace Run Road on the edge of Darlington in 1909. They came from Neville Island, Pittsburgh where Mr. Kirk had raised asparagus and tomatoes. Roberta Kirk Eakin attended elementary and high school in Darlington. She began her teaching career at McKinley in 1924. There were forty-five students in her classes, and she earned $90.00 a month.
Responsibilities of the teacher included carrying water from the adjacent farm because the pump was broken. The water was poured into a crock with a spigot. Each child had his own tin cup. Tending the coal stove and sweeping out the schoolhouse were also carried out by the teacher. Mrs. Eakin recalls that each month she would drive by horse and buggy to the home of Mr. Throckmorton, the School Board Secretary, on Achertown Road to take the attendance book. It was necessary to wait silently while Mr. Throckmorton checked over the record. Everything had to be declared in order before Mr. Throckmorton would hand over the salary check for the month.
In addition to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic there was art every two weeks with any materials needed supplied by the teacher. Music revolved around singing, especially seasonal songs. Recess was supervised by the teacher and involved games such as Ducky on a Rock, ball and swinging on a grape vine in the woods. Material for science and nature lessons was provided by the woods.
Mrs. Eakin founded the McKinley School Parent Teachers Association in 1928. The P.T.A. was an outgrowth of Mothers Meetings that were held once a month. The P.T.A. was organized with twenty-two charter members. Harry Arnold was elected President and Miss Roberta Kirk was Vice President. The P.T.A. provided boards for the windows to cut down the draft and planted shrubbery around the school. That early beginning of McKinley P.T.A. is reflected in the continuing supportive activities of the Chippewa Elementary P.T.O.
Mary McCaughtry Marshall was the first teacher and Nan McCautry was the second. Other teachers included: John McClain in 1880; Hazel White in 1909; Ralph McClain; Margaret Arnold; Mary Krepps Douds and Mary Knowlson.
McKinley School was awarded the health prize for the best health record made by a one room rural school in a contest conducted by the Beaver County Tuberculosis Association in May 1926. McKinley was awarded a set of classroom scales in recognition of the good work on the part of the community, parents, teachers and pupils. Miss Kirk was the teacher and Mr. Paul Arnold was the President of the Chippewa School Board. These scales are in use today in the Chippewa Elementary Health Room.