Across the last couple of weeks, I’ve been asking people about their memories of school.
There was a common thread through all of the conversations I had with the young, old and in-between. Every person said that “seeing friends” was what they most looked forward to with the start of a brand new school year. Below are snippets from some of the conversations.
Betty Whitton, 84, is a lifelong Frankfort resident. She remembers looking forward to the beginning of school each year. She spoke about living on her family farm, Crestwood Farm, off of East Main Street. “Back then, that really was the edge of Frankfort. Nothing much was past the farm. So starting school was wonderful. I got to see my friends again.”
She also recalled attending The Elkhorn School from first to third grade, a school situated on the bank of Elkhorn Creek at Forks of the Elkhorn. “I had a sister, Christine Pickett Morrow, who was 20 years older who was a teacher.”
“One year, I was in a third and fourth grade split class and I was so proud that my sister was my teacher! Mostly, I did what she told me.”
Whitton said she wished her sister was still around. “She had quite a few stories to tell about growing up and about teaching.” A memory she shared was that her sister would sometimes ride a pony to school.
Jason Shaw, 40, also grew up in Frankfort. “Both of my parents were teachers so we spent almost the whole summer at our lake cabin, away from Frankfort. It was great but I didn’t really get to hang out with anybody in the neighborhood. So, when school started, I would see all the friends that I didn’t see all summer.”
Byron Hubbard graduated from Western Hills High School in 1987. His wife, Angela, is from Radcliffe. Byron played football and said he liked hanging out with all of his friends. “You just don’t get friends like you had in high school.”
Angela joined the conversation. “I played trumpet in the North Hardin Trojan Band. We were the number one band in Kentucky then and it was so much fun. The practices, the performances … it was my life!”
Carlee VanHouten is a third grader at Hearn Elementary. She said she is excited about the new school year because “it’s just great seeing all of your friends!” Enthusiastically sticking a finger in the air, VanHouten said, “I remember in second grade doing this arts and craft thing with soft candies and pencils. The best part was that we got to eat about half of the candy!”
Susan Gouge retired this year after 29 years as a teacher in Franklin County. “I never ever thought of doing anything other than this,” she said. A reading recovery teacher, Gouge said, “You build relationships with these kids over the years that you teach them. While I hope I have made an impression on them, I know that they have made an impression on me.”
“I was in the last class at FCHS (Franklin County High School) that was combined before the split. There were so many of us.” (After that year, students in Franklin County were split between FCHS and the newly-built Western Hills High School).
When speaking about one of her early teaching memories, Gouge said, “I was subbing at Bridgeport and the music teacher came up to me and said ‘I don’t like you. I don’t like you because you make me feel old.’ It turns out she said that because she had been one of my former teachers! I will always remember that.”
Anna Amato is starting fourth grade at Good Shepherd School. “I love seeing my friends, but I can’t wait to meet my new teachers!” Amato said she loves doing the talent show at the school. “Last year, I sang “Let It Go” from Frozen.”
Tamren Clay, a senior at Franklin County High School, thought for awhile before deciding what to choose as a memory. “Probably my favorite school memory so far has been being voted to represent the sophomore class on the homecoming court. I really appreciated that my class gave me that opportunity.”
Clay also said she has been a member of the FCHS dance team while in high school. “The dance team has been like a family. We’re together so much during practices and performances through the year. So, the girls on the team have been such a big part of my high school memories.” She said she thinks that when she looks back, it will make her feel good that she was involved in school.