Monday, October 31, 2011

Matrilineal Monday: Mom's Elementary Schools

The prompt for Week 44 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Elementary School.  I'm going to continue the theme and talk about the schools my mother Gerrie Guokas Pape attended for kindergarten through seventh grades.

Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?

Mom started school at kindergarten in fall 1934 at St. Mary's in Austin, just south of the State Capitol. At that time my grandfather Charles Guokas was appointments secretary to Governor Miriam Amanda Ferguson.  When her term ended in January 1935, the family moved back to Houston.  St. Mary's still exists today, but is now called Cathedral School of St. Mary

Back in Houston, Mom finished kindergarten at St. Joseph Catholic School and also went there for first grade.  I think the First Communion picture below was probably taken during that time.  I think Mom is the girl on the second row diagonally up to the right from the candle bearer on the right, with her face turned to her right.  Interesting, her older brother Charles is also in this picture (he's the boy in front of the white doorway arch on the left), as is her younger sister Jo Ann (not receiving her First Communion, but--appropriately, since she later became a nun--dressed as an angel, with a crown on her head, on the upper left, to Charles's right):
However, this being the Depression years, hard times hit the family in 1936-1937, and Mom went to the local public school, Crockett Elementary, near her grandfather's home at 1717 Shearn (where they were living at the time) for second grade.  At the end of her first semester there, she was promoted to third grade, so she essentially skipped a year.  Crockett Elementary still exists at the same site, but has been in a new building since 1980.  (Listen to their cool marimba and orchestra band on that web page!)

Mom went back to St. Joseph for fourth grade, and graduated from seventh grade there in 1941.  At that time the school only had seven grades, and high school started with eighth grade.  While St. Joseph Catholic Church still exists, the school closed some years ago.

ETA 12 May 2013:  I now have copies of Mom's report cards, and need to make some corrections.  After finishing kindergarten (then called primer) at St. Joseph's, Mom went to Crockett Elementary in 1935-36, where she started in first grade, but was promoted to second grade halfway through the year, and to third grade by the end of the school year.  She then went back to St. Joseph's for third grade in 1936-37.  I believe the First Communion picture above is from that year. 

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

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