|South Florida Central College, Dade City. This is the south side of the building, looking almost due north. The building in the background is the original 1887-built Dade City School with the 1905 annex barely visible past the corner of the stairwell. The pine trees block the view of the part of the main building that extends toward College St on the right (14th St). This image has been horizontally flipped to correct the reversed picture on the post card. [Information from Robert Dew.]|
Our Public SchoolBy DORIS WRIGHT
The first public school in New Port Richey was opened in 1914. Before that time, the children of New Port Richey had been going to school at Port Richey. The road then used was what is now Madison Street, running north through the townsite, crossing Massachusetts Avenue and continuing north through the Hill farm. The deep sand and the long, roundabout way made it very difficult for the children to attend school regularly.
At this time, the school board could not provide a suitable school house for New Port Richey. To make it more convenient for the pupils, it was decided to rent rooms for the school until such time as the school board could build a school house. Therefore, the house on Central Avenue, now known as the Idlewyle, was rented; the upper story became the home of the first school in New Port Richey. Miss Corrine Tate of Dade City was the teacher. About the middle of the year, Miss Minnie Jones became assistant to Miss Tate. Their pupils numbered about thirty.
In the summer of 1915, the Board of Public Instruction of Pasco County let the contract for building the first public school-house in New Port Richey. It was located on Main Street at the corner of Madison, where it still stands. It was completed in time for the beginning of the school year, 1915-1916. The school year generally begins in September. Miss Julia Harn was the teacher and Miss Eva McKeathen was her assistant. The pupils numbered about thirty.
In the fall of 1916, Mrs. Brummette became principal with Miss Knight as assistant. The principal resigned in December and was succeeded by Miss Johnnie Davis who remained until the end or the school year.
In 1917-1918, Mrs. Brummette opened the school as principal with Mr. Frank Ingram as assistant, and with about thirty-five pupils, of whom seven were graduated from the common-school grades, viz., Amorita DeVries, Alberta Von Vorhist, Donald Booth, Olaf Ericson, Rhea Leach, Helen Rieder, and Emma Loyce Ingram. The nearest high school for them was at Tarpon Springs, eight or nine miles away.
The year 1918-1919 was opened with Miss Louisa Leach as principal and Miss Laura Van Poucke as assistant. They had about sixty pupils, of whom Reginald Sims, Charles Lentz, and James Burns were graduated.
The next year, 1919-1920, was made memorable by troubles within the school and litigation without. The school was opened in the fall of 1919 with Mr. C. W. Martin as principal and Miss O'Berry as assistant, both of whom soon resigned. Then Mrs. George Wanner became principal with Mrs. Oren and Mrs. Lapham as assistants. In a few weeks, the three resigned their positions and for the next few weeks the school was in the sole care of Mr. William Lightfoot, after which the year was completed with Mrs. Rachel Kirkman as principal and Miss Bessie Goodman and Mrs. Anice Rosebrough as assistants. There were about seventy pupils and Marguerite Arens, Margaret Albritton, John Casson, and David Dowling were graduated. The year was further marked by an effort of the Board of Public Instruction to unite the schools at Port Richey and New Port Richey in a new building for which a 5-acre tract on the Rock Road, some distance north of Massachusetts Avenue, had been bought by the Board. This attempt to make most of the New Port Richey children go so far beyond the center of population was strenuously opposed by most of the citizens of the new town and litigation followed. In the end, the 5-acre tract was sold and the Port Richey school was consolidated with the larger school at New Port Richey.
The school year 1920-1921 was begun with Miss Ruth Davis as principal, and with Mrs. Cripe and Mrs. C. A. Tansill as assistants. In January, Miss Davis was succeeded as principal by Mr. Carl Cripe. The enrolment of pupils was about one hundred and fifteen. As had been the case in some previous years, the Board of Public Instruction had not sufficient funds to maintain the schools for the full school year and the New Port Richey citizens were called upon in public meeting at Snell Hall to subscribe money needed for the purpose. A total of four hundred dollars was secured and the schools were kept open until the last Friday in May, when Doris Miles, Fern Brake, Marion Good, Edric Higgins, Mary Clark, Viola Ericson, Gertrude Stevenson, Ione Copeland, Doris Wright, Wharaust Rothera, Walter Beijar and Wilfred Bailey were graduated.
The school term of 1921-1922 was opened with Mr. Cripe as principal and Mrs. Cripe, Mrs. Albritton, and Mrs. Tansill as assistants. The enrollment of pupils was about one hundred and fifteen. About the middle of the term, a diphtheria epidemic broke out and it became necessary to close the school for the month of January. When school re-opened, only three teachers were required, and Mrs. Albritton retired. The school board did not have sufficient funds to maintain the schools for the full term, so we had "subscription school" as had been done before. School closed April 28. The graduates were Barbara Burns, Willa Golder, Walter Casson, and John Beijar.
School opened for the term of 1922-1923 with Mr. Cripe as principal and Miss Pinholster, Mrs. Albritton, and Mrs. Cripe as assistants. The enrollment was one hundred and twenty. The seventh and eighth grades had been transferred to the Gulf High School building.
The year 1923-1924 was one of almost universal dissatisfaction that resulted in arousing the Parents and Teachers Club and the voters of New Port Richey. The principal was a very young man who had never before taught school. Naturally, school discipline was lax or wanting and instruction unsatisfactory. At the end of the school year, a change was demanded and secured.
For the year 1924-1925, the school was put in the charge of Mrs. C. A. Tansill, as principal, with Miss Bessie Bayless and Mrs. Cynthia Albritton as her assistants. --The Editor.
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Thank you to all those who help compile these records