GRANT TOWNSHIP NO. 3 -- Craig School
By Esther Oloff, former student and teacher
Esther Oloff’s School History
Esther Oloff is a native of Plymouth County, having been born July 29, 1911, on a farm a mile south and ¾ mile west of Craig.
Her first eight years of school were in the same building in which she later taught. It was an independent district with four districts joined with the town of Craig. So there were two individual rooms. One for lower grades and one for upper grades.
She graduated from Ireton. At that time there were only a few pupils that went on to High School. But a neighbor’s son had a Ford roadster and picked Esther up as he attended the High School.
She married in 1931 and lived on a farm. Her husband passed away in 1951 and Esther with her two children moved to Craig to live with her parents.
She went to Sheldon to get a teaching certificate and taught two years in a country school. In 1954, Miss Peterson, the Co. Superintendent, asked Esther to teach the Craig School, because there was a lack of teachers at that time. She had to go to summer school at Westmar to work toward getting a First Grade Certificate. Sometimes she was able to go to Orange City to pick up extra credits. Through going to summer schools and night schools she graduated from Westmar.
One of the classes she enrolled in was Creative Writing taught by a former Superintendent of LeMars Community School. She wrote poems as part of an assignment. Each one had a “W” which meant that it was eligible to be put in the Westmar Writings in a book form, but Westmar did not publish those books any more, so the poems were kept by Esther.
In 1971, Esther wrote a poem, “Memory Lane” for the retirement of Mr. Kissinger. Later at her retirement, she wrote another poem. These poems include school history that need to be preserved.
The journey is over,
This school was built a long time ago.
Then the ambitious farmers
Two teachers were hired to teach in this school
Then way back in nineteen fifty four
The enrollment at Craig School really grew,
Eighteen years we taught side by side,
Talking, sharing, and planning together,
But now the doors will be closed for good
Why tear down old landmarks for something new?
Thanks to all friends and patrons true,
By Esther Oloff
~Esther Winterfeld Oloff taught Preston No. 1, 1929-1930; Preston No. 6, 1930-1931; Preston No. 7, 1951-1954; and Grant Craig School, 1954-1962.
Photograph of Mrs. Oloff (seated in the car) with Virginia VanWyhe and her cousin at the Craig Centennial celebration in June 2011. Virginia was a former student of Mrs. Oloff.
Born 29 Jul 1911
~Photograph submitted by Edgar Lee, son of Virginia VanWyhe.
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