Last week I shared two photos of the 1929 and 1938 classes at Dessa School, kindly provided by Wayne and Charlene Woodward. Today, I’d like to share two more.
The first one is of the Dessa School student body in 1936. This one identifies, on the back, “Beatrice Mae Addington” as being in the back row, third from left. The teachers are named on the image itself, and were Miss Marvine Matthews and Mrs. Leona Bedwell.
The second photo is of Westview School in the 1938-39 school year. It also identifies Beatrice Mae Addington, and she is again standing in the back row, third from left. You can see how her face has slightly changed in a couple of years. In both photos, she is wearing a rather serious expression.
As I noted last week, from probably 1926 on, students attended Dessa School through eighth grade, and then moved over to Westview, according to the book “From Buzzard Glory to Seed Tick: A History of the Schools of Newton County, Missouri.” This was the arrangement at least through the 1930s.
At some point later on, the Dessa Schoolhouse was moved to Westview and all classes were held there – until 1952, it seems, which is when Westview may have dropped its high school classes and simply became a K-8 school.
Today, a large part, though apparently not all, of the immediate Dessa locale is still within the Westview C-6 School District. When students graduate eighth grade at Westview they have the choice of going to high school at either Neosho or Seneca.
I asked a Westview administrator one time which high school most of the students seem to choose – Neosho or Seneca – and was told that it varies from year to year, but on average is about evenly split. Or at least that was the case about 12 years ago.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We really lost something as a nation and as a society when we lost the rural schools. I believe that for several reasons and with all of my heart.
I highly encourage everyone to pick up a copy of the Newton County Schools History. A revised version was republished in 2012 in two volumes, so be sure you get both part one and part two.
You can purchase them up at the Newton County Historical Museum in downtown Neosho.
Thanks again to the Woodwards for sharing these photos with us.
(Wes Franklin can be reached at (417) 658-8443.)