By Anna Guido
HYDE PARK - In 1908 at St. Mary School, filling inkwells was a regular classroom job. Kids got "whacked" when they misbehaved. And Shady Lane - the school is at Shady Lane and Erie Avenue - was really shady.
Monday, as part of the parochial K-8 school's 95th birthday celebration, students came up with 95 differences between the St. Mary School of today and the St. Mary School of 1908.
President William Howard Taft, aka Greg Hudson, a Northern Kentucky University drama professor, greets students at St. Mary School in Hyde Park.
(Gary Landers photo)
"It's a thinking-skills project," Principal Jane Welling said.
Student council made the final selections and posted them on a hallway bulletin board. The project was among special lessons and activities teachers incorporated into the curriculum to prepare students for the celebration.
Why such a fuss over 95 years?
Welling said the school is "getting warmed up for the 100th birthday."
Monday started with a church service and ended with a school assembly featuring a President William Howard Taft lookalike. Taft was elected president the year St. Mary School opened.
Throughout the school building were colorful drawings of birthday cakes and candles, teachers and students dressed in 1908 period clothing, and historic photos.
In the office was an ornamental birthday cake that wiggled and jiggled to the tune of "Happy Birthday to You."
Kindergarten teacher Barbara Schrader captured her students' attention with games that people played in 1908, including ball and jacks.
Social studies teacher Patrick Feely, a staff member at St. Mary School for 41 years, said he talked with students about the value of celebrating anniversaries to recall history.
"History tells us who we are and where we came from," he said.
In the case of St. Mary School, Feely said looking back 95 years helped students understand the efforts of the people before them - "how hard they worked to give this school to future generations."
One of Feely's students, eighth-grader Caroline Linke, 14, of Hyde Park, said she thinks "it's cool" that St. Mary School has been around 95 years and is still thriving.
"In 95 more years, though, I wonder what students will think of us and the way we do things," Caroline said.
For example, having toilets that flush automatically - another of the 95 differences posted on the hallway bulletin board - might not be such a big deal in 2098.
About St. Mary School
History: Founded by the Sisters of Charity
Address: 2845 Erie Ave.
Interesting fact: Some St. Mary teachers were students of Patrick Feely, who still teaches here.
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