Northwestern Normal Institute
LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
THE TEACHER’S INSTITUTE
The first week of the Plymouth County Teacher’s Institute closed Friday. The roll showed an attendance of ninety-three. The conductor’s speak in the highest terms of the interest taken by those in attendance, all entering into the work with unusual zest, which augurs much good to the cause of education in the county. It is hoped that during the closing weeks of the session every teacher, or those who expect to teach, will take part in the exercises of the Institute. The district, as well as the teacher, is the loser, by not being represented. Directors should not employ teachers who do not attend the Institute. The drill, the discussion, the lectures, and the prescribed course of study of the Institute, will do more to prepare the teachers for their duties than months of self-study and work. Prof. Wernli is assisted in the work of instruction by Prof. F. B. Cooper, Miss Jennie Randolph, of Sanborn, Prof. C. P. Kilborne, of Akron, and Dr. A. P. Bowman. The following is the enrollment, which, it is thought, will be increased by the addition of at least forty names:
FIRST YEAR'S COURSE.
SECOND YEAR’S COURSE.
THIRD YEAR’S COURSE
LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
The Plymouth County Teacher’s Institute opened yesterday morning with the largest attendance ever recorded in the county. The city is crowded with the “jolly school mam’s” from the country, and mare are expected during the week. The Institute opens with an enrollment of one hundred and twelve names, and it is expected that at least fifty or sixty more will be added to the list. The average attendance last year was one hundred and twenty-five. It is gratifying that so much interest is being manifested in these yearly sessions by the increasing attendance, where those who are to teach the youths of the country, may come together to receive the benefits of the greater knowledge and wisdom of older and wiser minds, of tired and responsible instructors. The absence of a teacher from the Institute is a great loss to the district in which she is employed, as well as the teacher herself; the scholar loses the benefit of increased knowledge she would have derived by her presence. For this reason every teacher should be present.
Our county superintendent has secured as assistants in conducting the Institute, Prof. Cooper, Prof. Arey, of Fort Dodge, Mrs. Hatch, of Des Moines, Miss Loring and Miss Sibley of this city, as able and competent a corps of instructors as could be secured or desired.
We are indebted to Miss Byrne, our obliging county superintendent, for the following list of those attending, from all parts of the county:
LeMars Sentinel, Friday, March 4, 1887, Page 3, Column 6:
The Northwestern Normal Institute at LeMars, Iowa, will begin March 28, 1887. The opportunity for the training of practical teachers is now open to all who wish to avail themselves of it. Anyone intending to attend the institution should apply at once either personally or by letter to the undersigned. Such families at LeMars that are willing to board students are requested to inform me in regard to accommodation and price.
LeMars Sentinel, Tuesday, June 25, 1889, Page 3, Columns 4-5:
THE NORTHWESTERN NORMAL
Meeting of the Advisory Board Friday afternoon.--Present Condition and
Future Prospects--Prof. Wernli's Report.--Commencement Exercises in the evening.
At the meeting of the Normal Advisory Board, Friday afternoon Rev. J. E. Snowden was made chairman and J. M. Emery secretary. The attendance was not large and none of the members from abroad were there, though several sent letters of regret, among them Hon. Henry Hospers, of Orange City, Ex-Gov. Carpenter, of Ft. Dodge, H. C. Wheeler, of Odebolt and several others. Rev. I. N. Pardee addressed the meeting at some length upon the present condition of the school, the work it had done and its needs. There was a general discussion of the situation in view of the approaching expiration of the three years which Prof. Wernli has agreed to keep up the school up in LeMars and of the offer he has had to remove it to Sioux Falls. M. A. Moore made a report from the committee of which he is chairman, suggesting a plan for raising a fund to keep the school in LeMars and it was adopted by the board. M. A. Moore, Rev. J. E. Snowden and J. M. Emery were appointed a committee to secure an agent to work in this and adjoining counties to secure subscriptions, make contracts for scholarships and have authority to promote the educational and financial interests of the school in every way. The committee will proceed to business at once.
Prof. Wernli made a report of the work done by the school since the opening, as follows:
"Our normal school was established to train teachers that would give to our growing generation in the northwest such instruction as our children have a right to claim at the end of the nineteenth century. The great need was deeply felt and in the name of God and for the benefit of our suffering youth the work was commenced.
"Our intention was to help individually the northwest until the grand state of Iowa would see our own energy and success and then make our work her own.
"How we succeed in our work the following exhibit will prove: (1) During the first year, or from March 28 to August 12, 1887, the attendance of pupils was 29. (2) During the second year, 1887-1888, the entire attendance was 113. (3) During the third school year of 1888-89 the total enrollment reached 193. (4) The entire enrollment since the beginning of the school is 283. (5) These students belong as follows: Plymouth county, 230; Dakota, 11; Lyon, 6; Osceola, 4; Cherokee, 1; Sac, 3; Sioux, 18; O'Brien, 3; Humboldt, 7; Woodbury, 1; Buena Vista, 1; Minnesota, 4. (6) Of the students that have attended during the existence of the school ninety-three have passed the examination before county superintendents and entered the public schools as teachers. (7) Many of them have returned again after teaching one or more terms to continue their studies. (8) In order to give our young and hard-working but poorer classes an opportunity to obtain the blessings of a good, practical education, we charge a very moderate tuition and furnish the students with everything needed in the school while the entire expenses for forty weeks need not exceed $120, comprising tuition, board and lodging.
"The course of study contains every branch taught in the state normal, and such additional instruction as regarded essential for our people in the west, as horticulture, arborculture, bookkeeping, commercial law, etc. That our pupils may join those classes no extra tuition is demanded. The course of study is so arranged and the program planned in such a manner that any scholar of proper age and a desire to learn can enter the school at any time, while at the same time every teacher endeavors to exert a wholesome and encouraging influence upon each individual scholar.
"As far as the school is concerned we have been meeting with entire success. The students come and learn, the school increases, the members of it are our best, our only agents, they have been spreading the name of the Institution and bring their brothers, sisters and friends to us for instruction."
THE GRADUATION EXERCISES.
Anyone who thinks there is a lack of interest in the Normal School at home should have been at the German M. E. church last Friday night and taken notice of the people who were there. Every place where a person could sit or stand was made use of, hot as the evening was. On the platform sat Revs. Wellmyer, Pardee and Snowden and Prof. Wernli. The invocation was pronounced by Rev. I. N. Pardee when Misses Eva Luke, Nettie Ege, Ida Koenig, Clara Wernicke, Geneva Glenn, Anna Wernli sang "The Distant Chimes."
By a very wise change in the program the Baccalaureate address by Rev. J. E. Snowden was given at this time instead of at the close. It was rich in thought and common sense and its counsel well deserved the consideration of the students. It will be printed in full in the SENTINEL next Friday.
After this there were several declamations, interspersed with music, as published last week, excepting that in the absence of Miss Pardee, Miss Bourgmeyer, sang "The Johnstown Disaster" made a very choice selection and it was a great hit, for which she was generously applauded. The other musical attraction was a chorus, "Simple Simon," by Prof. F. Hirsch, Chas. Wernli, Geo. Wernli, C. A. Mauer, H. Adler, J. Brown, John Beeley, C. E. Hass and G. W. Hoover. This was accorded the only encore of the evening.
The two orations were given by graduates of the Normal department. Mr. C. H. Blake, of Union county, Dakota spoke first, and below is a short synopsis of what he said about
He spoke of the rapid progress of the country and the importance of the problem of education, and whether we should adopt the European plan of compulsory education. Some of the states have laws of that kind, but they are not satisfactory, are not enforced and do not reduce crime; only one criminal in five is illiterate; crime and ignorance do not go together. New York and Pennsylvania have rigid compulsory education laws, yet their per cent of literacy is nearly double that of Iowa; (word smudged out) per centage of school attendance is only 59, while Iowa's is 75. The trouble is with poor people who cannot afford to send their children to school. Especially in the cities, where the poor child is subjected to ridicule and torture by the well dressed children of the wealthy, parents will scheme with it to escape attendance. The state should aid by bringing the schools to the poor instead of taking the poor to the schools. The city and town schools are too much in the hands of a few, whom the teacher must favor or lose his position. Compulsory education is contrary to the principle of American freedom.
Oscar Smith of Akron took for his subject
In these days of skepticism it is not to be wondered at that our school system is so sharply criticized. It is claiming that it is not fitting the young for the duties of life and that it is turning them from manual labor. They say teachers cultivate the memory at the expense of the reasoning faculties. The charges can not be substantiated, while the public schools have had so large a share in our national progress. Now methods are being introduced, teaching harmony in all kinds of effort. The one who follows a scheme of study is far more likely to look at things, and their relations, in their true proportions than one who pursues a desultory course. One who chooses a certain line of study which may suit his inclinations may become learned in that line, but he can never become educated. His one-sided view of any subject, which is the privilege of a symmetrically developed mind. Educational training gives us that faculty of the mind called judgment. It can only give a broad, sure foundation for the pursuit of such a life-work as shall be found to be suited to the subject. It develops him, gives him strength for adversity; it makes earth a paradise, makes a strong government; it gives him power to do and enjoy many things impossible to the untutored mind.
Prof. Wernli made some appropriate remarks in presenting the diplomas, giving the people some of the facts in his report printed above and showing how deeply in earnest he is in his school work.
When the diplomas had been presented, Rev. I. N. Pardee, with some choice compliments to the school and the work done by it, moved a vote of thanks to Prof. Wernli, which was most heartily given. It was a proud moment for him to see how his conscientious, thorough, self-sacrificing work was appreciated. A benediction closed the first commencement of the Northwestern Normal School and Business College. May it not be the last in LeMars.
~Above two newspaper items were transcribed and submitted by volunteer, Viv Reeves.
Return to Township Index