In the beginning: Brookport Elementary School
Jun 25, 2014 | 519 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The former Unionville Grade School still stands on Mt. Sterling Road, just south of the intersection of Mt. Sterling and Unionville roads.
— Photo by Debbie Christiensen
The former Unionville Grade School still stands on Mt. Sterling Road, just south of the intersection of Mt. Sterling and Unionville roads. — Photo by Debbie Christiensen
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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of a six-week series highlighting county and city schools before the school consolidations in the 1950s. Next week, we will feature Jefferson Elementary School.

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Brookport schools date back to 1919 and former Massac Unit One Superintendent Sharon Burrus recalls when Massac Unit One Unit District was formed, the main one-room school that would have consolidated into Brookport Elemetary was the former Unionville Grade School.

A familiar face at Brookport Elementary School who remembers the former Unionville Elementary School is Debbie Christiansen, recently retired BES principal.

Prior to the consolidation of the old one-room schools within Massac County, Christiansen attended the Unionville School, which still stands on Mt. Sterling Road. She said there were two big rooms, a cloakroom in the entrance and a milk cooler in the back. Christiansen said for a while there was no running water and can recall using a dipper and a bucket to get a sip of water. Later on, the school did get a water fountain.

With no running water, she said there were outhouses: one for the boys and one for the girls.

Christiansen began at Unionville Grade School in 1959. The south side room housed first- through fourth-grades and her teacher was Hazel Giltner. Rows were set up for each grade and while the teacher was busy instructing one particular grade, the other students had to be quiet and work on handwriting or other subjects.

All the students brought their lunches and at lunch time the teacher would turn on the radio to WMOK, which played country and western music. She even recalls her teacher wearing a fringed leather jacket.

The north side room housed grade fifth through eighth and the teacher was Mildred Banum.

A new Unionville Elementary School was built in 1965, and it still stands just to the south of the intersection of Unionville and Mt. Sterling roads.

Christensen said the major school that would have consolidated into Brookport Elementary was the Unionville School, but there may have been other one-room schools, such as the old Palmer School or Little Rock School that would have had students who consolidated into Brookport,.

When Christensen graduated Unionville Grade School, she attended Metropolis Community High School because Brookport was its own, separate school district. Only those students who attended Brookport Elementary School went on to Brookport High School.

“It was fascinating to see how the teachers handled everything,” said Christensen, pointing out they did not have any aides or principals on the grounds, while they were responsible for 45 to 50 children.

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