I attended a 3 room school in Jollyville for my first 7 years.
First – Third in one room.
Forth – Sixth in another.
Seventh & Eighth in the other.
By the time I got to the 7th grade there were only 2 grades per room with the 8th grade being eliminated and the 7th grade was moved into the Principal’s office. It was a big Principal’s office, but it doubled as the mimeograph room, the ice cream store and storage too. (Picture included below) More on the ice cream store at a later date.
The enrollment had grown to where the little school was being squeezed too much, with the principal doing regular teaching duty as well – taught us 7th grade.
Each grade was probably 8-12 pupils each. The teacher would assign work for each grade, then move to the next. The older grades would help the younger kids in each room. So each room had about 30 kids total.
It was a unique learning experience. After you finished school at Pond Springs, you were sent on to Round Rock for the rest of your schooling.
I always thought Pond Springs got a bad rap. Like the kids that went there were not as good as the kids that went to Round Rock. A parent had the option of sending you there, but some felt like you couldn’t get a proper education in that setting so they sent their kids to Round Rock all along. We rode the Round Rock bus. I remember being chided by some of the Round Rock students. But probably no worse than kids do everywhere. There have always been something to pick on others about.
I’m happy with the schooling I got there. I’m not sure if I would have been a better student if I’d gone somewhere else. I do know we learned a lot of things there about friendship that perhaps we may not have gotten in another place.
We didn’t have organized sports at Pond Springs. So it made it difficult to start playing sports once you got to high school.
For my part, when I started school in Marble Falls my 8th grade year, I played football, but I was already a year behind the rest of my friends that started playing in the 7th grade. My extremely small size wasn’t going to allow me to be much of a standout but I didn’t even know the fundamentals of playing. I had never even attended a football game, much less knew what to do. Most or all coaches have more to do than explain too much about the game to a kid that’s totally lost. So I set on the bench a lot that 8th grade season and that was my only attempt at playing a sport in school.
Attached to the back of the old school building was an old barracks like building that has been moved in. That was our lunch room. I think I remember them moving it in during my first or second year. Prior to that I think there was a kitchen at the back of the building and we got our plates and took them to our desks to eat.
The one thing I remember was the food was as good at school as it was at home and my momma was a dang good cook.
Mrs. Warren, the grandmother of Karen and Wayne Warren was the cook for my first few years. Then Mrs. Rossow took over from her and was there for the rest of the time I was.
There may have been extra kitchen help, but I don’t remember for sure. If my figures are correct on the class size there would have been around 100 students, so it would have been a lot of food for one person to cook alone, but people really knew how to work in those days.
Recess was always my favorite time. We played kickball or played on the big swing set and other playground equipment.
The thing I remember best about that playground is after a heavy rain, earth worms would be driven up to the surface to keep from drowning and they would be crawling everywhere. These were worms that were huge, seemingly they were a foot long. We would chase the girls around with our big worms. I don’t think there are worms like that anymore due to pesticides and fire ants.
The restrooms were in a detached rock building. In the winter it was so very cold going back and forth. Also in that solid rock building it was like a refrigerator. After a few years they installed so propane wall heaters that helped take the chill out of the room.
In the upper class room was a stage on one end. When we would have assemblies or Christmas Plays, the wall was moveable between that room and the grades just smaller. So it opened up and gave something like an auditorium feel to it. The Christmas Play was always a major production.
We only had 2 principles during the time I was there. Mr. Henniger was an elderly German gentleman. He kept order pretty well. The teachers I remember are Mrs. Shannon, Mrs. Oneal, Mrs, Kopecky, Mrs. Rodgers, Mrs. Griffen that became Mrs. Hawkins after she caught her husband fooling around with a store employee at their Western Wear Store and Mrs. Culpepper. I’m sure there were others, but their names don’t come to mind.
Mr. Pyle came on as Principal when Mr. Henniger retired.
Mr. Scotty Pyle came there from being the Principal at Thrall (east of Taylor).
So when I was in the 6th and Kenny was in the 8th, he decided we needed a track team and got us an invite to a track meet at Thrall. So several of us boys went and if it hadn’t been for Barton Simpson, we would have placed last in every event.
Barton was entered in several races. He didn’t know about starting blocks or track shoes. So when it came time to run, he pulled off his shoes and socks and ran barefoot, threw the starting blocks over to the side and came in well ahead of the rest of the field. I remember a lot of grumbling about how he had an unfair advantage since he didn’t wear shoes. But he made us all proud that day. That was the only track meet we ever attended.
Mr. Pyle used to take me to his house in north central Austin to help him with yard work and other chores when I was in the 7th grade. He would take me and feed me at Airport Haven Hamburger Stand on Airport Blvd. For years after I got grown I’d return there to get a hamburger and chocolate shake, just to be reminded of Mr. Pyle and the times we went there.
When I think back on it, I wouldn’t trade anything for my experiences at Pond Springs School.
The big joke with my wife and kids is how if it was only a 3 room school, how did I meet a thousand people there? It seems that everywhere I go I bump into people that I went to school with in Jollyville. It is strange, but I guess a lot of people stayed around the area, instead of moving away.
Through the miracle of Facebook we have been able to have a multi-class reunion, held in April 2013 and hope to have many more. When we met for dinner and they reunion there were many of us that had seen each other in almost 50 years. What a reunion it was.
This was the whole graduating 7th class.
(8 or 9 students)
My Pyle in the back.