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The Robbins eagle. (Robbins, Ill.) 1951-1963, April 02, 1955, VILLAGE HOME EDITION, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn2008060212/1955-04-02/ed-1/seq-1/

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First Negro Teacher at B. I. High
Volume III. ROBBINS, ILLINOIS, SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 1955 Trd Year-No. 10
1 ;
Mr. Wright was first elected
by the residents of District 143%
in 1943, and has given untir
ingly of his time and talent
since then. He has helped steer
the district from an unsteady,
poorly organized one to the well
organized, smooth functioning
one we have today. The results
of this hard work have been
very gratifying. Our district has
a very low assessed valuation
and our climb has often been
beset by financial troubles.
Here, briefly is how Robbins’
unprecedented growth has af
fected the district school system:
Robbins, because of its prox
imity to industrial Chicago and
the Calumet area, received quite
an influx of war workers and
their families. The school popu
lation skyrocketed. District
143)4 had 3 school buildings.
Two were in Posen with a total
of 6 rooms, 5 teachers, 2 cus
todians and about 100 students.
Robbins’ Lincoln Memorial
School had 9 rooms (with 2
improvised rooms in the audi
torium making eleven,) 1 prin
cipal, 11 teachers, 1 custodian
and about 550 students. The
teachers' classroom loads were
extremely heavy and made
teaching very difficult. Additional
children soon had us on double
sessions. We found it hard to
pay our way although our bud
get was less than $50,000.
By 1945 we had qualified to
get government aid under the
Lanham Act (a wartime act
to help communities with its
war worker school problems.)
We were given an eight class
room addition, clinic and fur
nishings valued at $140,000; for
which we later paid $16,000.
Double sessions were over.
By 1947 we were back on
double sessions, broke, and the
Lanham Act dead. In the post
war years the school population
teadily increased until all but
grades 7 and 8 were on double
sessions. By 1952, we had paid
off some of our indebtedness and
For Re-election to School Board
were ready to start building
again. We floated bonds to the
amount of $330,000.00 to build
the Thomas J. Kellar School.
Last year our school system
was practically all on double
sessions. We needed more teach
ers, but there was nowhere to
put them. In Posen we had a
superintendent, and a clerk at
our district headquarters. At the
school in Posen we had 2 prin
cipals, 10 teachers, 2 custodians
and 305 students. At Lincoln
Memorial we had 1 principal,
35 teacher's, 2 custodians, 1
truant officer and 1290 children
*u a school designed tor aau
We completed the 14 rooms
at the Kellar School, but were
unable to escape double sessions
this time. We hired a new
principal and 11 new teachers.
We made curriculum changes
that were beneficial. We are
currently completing a four
room addition to the Harding
School to relieve overcrowding
We have used all of our pres
ent bonding power.
For Re-election to School Board
We have hired a staff of
competent administrators, espe
cially trained in elementary edu
cation, who, with a faculty of
very good teachers, are giving
us a superb school system.
Today, our annua! budget is !
over $400,000.00, and we are
still growing.
Here is what we have in
Lincoln Memorial School; 17
rooms, 1 principal, 1 assistant
principal, 1 d,erk, 1 truant offi
cer, 2 custodians, 28 teachers,
and 751 students.
Thomas J. Kellar School has
14 rooms, 1 principal, 1 clerk,
2 custodians, 18 teachers and
546 students.
Both schools are in good
repair and open for your in
spection. Look over these, your
schools and attend the splendid
functions they give. This is an
account of my stewardship.
Your vote on April 9th, 1955
will help keep your schools in
good hands by re - electing
George Wright.
Polls open 12 p.m. to 7 p,m.
Even though it is only a prac
tice stint, Mr. Robert Johnson,
of 9233 South Michigan avenue,
Chicago, became the first Negro
teacher to serve in Blue Island
High School. He has been teach
ing American History there for
the past two weeks and will
continue until he has taught
for 6 weeks.. He then returns
to the University of Illinois to
complete four weeks work be
fore graduating. Mr. Johnson
is 23 years old, and attended
Gillispie Elementary School and
Fenger' High before enrolling at
the University of Illinois.
“I like Blue Island High very
much and 1 am grateful for ihe
opportunity to teach here,” ^aid
Mr. Johnson.
Mr. E rnest Lemon, who is
presently a member of the
School Board, District 143%, is
again seeking reelection. He has
proven within the last 3 years
his qualifications as a bond
member by his dynamic, .vet un
assuming personality.
Working in cooperation with
(Continued on page 9)

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