Schutz enrolled 23 students in September, 8 of whom were day students. The number in the middler and high school grades increased to 12, spread over four grades. High school boarders increased in number this year because students who had begun at the Mission’s day school for elementary grades on Assiut College campus, had gone as far as they could, and began enrolling at Schutz. Four of the five in 9th grade came to Schutz from Assiut this year. The fifth member of the class had started at Schutz the year before, coming from South Sudan, where his parents had been at work for the UP Sudan Mission since the early 1920s. All of the newcomers were very familiar with Schutz, having often come to the campus from Sidi Bishr, during the vacation months every summer. We have no other documentation of any sort for the 1928 fall semester at Schutz. School closed for Christmas vacation in mid-December; the winter-spring semester began on January 8. Enrollment remained steady.
Faculty and Staff
Mary McConagha, in her 3rd year of teaching at Schutz, was, by tradition, designated school principal. We have no indication what duties were entailed in this work. McConagha continued teaching all the elementary classes, covering 2nd through 6th grades. Mary Dixon started her second year, teaching high school classes. In response to the Egypt Mission Association’s request in January for a 3rd teacher at Schutz, Alice Evans was recruited by the Board in Philadelphia. She, like Mary McConagha, was a graduate of Muskingum College. She joined the other two teachers, covering middlers and high school classes.
Also at its January Association Meeting, the Egypt Mission decided to appoint William Nolin to Alexandria. In January of 1929, the Egypt Mission received word from the Board that drastic cuts were necessary in the appointment of new and returning missionaries. Presbyterian congregations’ giving began to decline well ahead of the October crash of the Stock Market that year. Retrenchment was an early sign of the collapsing American economy and the approach of the Great Depression, rather than a decline in the appeal of mission service on the field. The Egypt Mission Association was aware in January that a number of missionaries then on the field would not be returning from their scheduled furloughs. Roswell Caldwell, the Mission’s General Treasurer, was due for furlough in the spring of 1929. Though he was reappointed to Egypt in 1931, in January of 1929 the Association could not know that would happen; in any case, the Mission would need a General Treasurer while Mr. Caldwell was in the States. In January, the Association appointed William Nolin to Alexandria with the assignment to take Mr. Caldwell’s place as Schutz superintendent, as well as shadow Mr. Caldwell as General Treasurer. Mr. Nolin and his family arrived at Schutz from Zagazig, where he had been district supervisor of the Mission’s schools for boys. Mr. Caldwell had done his supervision of Schutz while resident at the Attarine Building, in downtown Alexandria. Mr. Nolin elected to move to Schutz, as the Roys had done. Where as the Roys had elected to live on the top floor, the Nolin family took up residence in the two flats on the ground floor. All the classrooms and dormitory flats then moved up one floor in the main building.
The Alexandria Mission, including the Mission staff at Schutz, seem to have been a close group. Those stationed in downtown Alexandria regularly came out to Schutz on Saturdays for tennis and tea. The Nolins and the three short-term teachers went into town every Tuesday evening for prayer meeting. The teachers had weekends off in rotation, and often on these occasions, they were invited to spend a night or two in town with the Caldwells or the Reverend and Mrs. W.J. Skellie. Another member of the Mission community in Alexandria, Mr. Bone, who was a short term teacher at the Mission’s Alexandria Commercial School, had been coming out regularly to Schutz to play tennis with the students, and this year, he took twelve of the high school and middler girls on a “date” to a movie downtown.
We have no documentation for the 1928 fall semester at Schutz.
According to the 3 months’ calendar in the Bric-a-Brac dated May 1929, boarders returned to Schutz on January 8, after the Christmas break, with two more weeks of the first term to go. Within a week of coming back, all students had two full days of exams. On the 8th, the post delivered a Christmas package of goodies from the Roy family, now on furlough. The Bric-a-Brac notes that ‘ Christmas package from Roys brightens first day away from home.’ The day after their return, the whole school went to see the circus performing in Alexandria. The next day, the boarders had a dress-up party after supper, the first of many that semester. Everyone made use of the several trunks of costume clothes available to all. The rest of the first week back included celebrations of two birthdays and the return of one of two students who arrived late because of illness. On the 16th, the calendar in the Bric-a-Brac remarks that “Earla [Hoyman] returns to school, having recovered from the jaundice.” Three days later, “Jane Thompson is sick.” That same week, the new semester began, on January 21. Exams being over, the older students went into Alexandria to see the silent war movie “Wings,” starring Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper. http://bit.ly/2Vi9PKp The younger students went to see “Ben Hur”, still playing downtown. Before the month was out, Mme Demidoff fell ill and French classes were put off for more than a week.
Boarding life and student routine seem to have followed much the same pattern established in the two previous years. No one mentions what must have become usual—room inspection, daily chores, monthly visits from the barber for haircuts. The winter-spring changes on campus seem to have been taken in stride, what with all the classrooms and dormitory flats being moved up a floor in the main building. Perhaps all the changes of residence took place over the Christmas vacation and were expected by the boarders, who had certainly been told of the Nolins’ arrival.
On the other hand, the changes in the gardens were subject of several articles in the May Bric-a-Brac. “One of the most outstanding changes was the cutting down of the initial tree. It had the initials of everybody, teachers and pupils, in the past years of Schutz.” [Jane Hoyman, 9th grade] The island in the center of the pond, down in the southeast corner of the garden, was leveled at some point in the year; the stone bridges over the pond were taken down, and flower beds put in, with paths between aisles of shrubbery. The pond itself was cleaned out again. Some water management had been done: “there is great improvement in the faucet by the side of the pond; it no longer floods the ground around, making it soggy. The faucet has been moved and put on a cement base. Now it spouts up something to the effect of an artesian well.” [Jane Hoyman, May 1929 Bric-a-Brac]
The Egypt Mission bought the Schutz property in the first decade of the 20th century. The servants’ quarters along the eastern wall between Schutz and the property next door were among the structures on the property at time of purchase; the building had not been changed since then. Sometime between the fall of 1928 and the spring of 1929, the servants’ building was torn down and new one erected. Also, a new laundry room with clotheslines went up on the roof of the main building, moving the washing process from the Old Fort in the southwest corner of the campus “because the old wash-house roof is not safe, so we can no longer play on our historic old Fort.” Through the fall and early winter, the boys and the girls were in contention over the use of a building they all called ‘ The Little Red House.’ We have no clear indication where this one room structure was placed, but perhaps it was located along the eastern wall between Schutz campus and the villa next door. While the servants’ quarters were being rebuilt, they used The Little Red house for living quarters. Once they had moved into the new building, both boys and girls wanted the use of the vacated structure, the boys for a carpenter shop, the girls as a clubhouse for their organization, the G.Y.C. (Girls Young Christian Club). Both groups of boarders petitioned Mrs. Austick, the matron, for rights to use the place, and she in turn gave the request to Mr. Caldwell, who decided in favor of the boys. The girls then asked for use of a room on the ground floor not occupied by the Nolin family, and had it for two months, until the Sowash family came down from South Sudan and needed the space, now become a guest room. The boys used the carpenter house regularly; the girls had been inconsistent in their use of the room. “We had intended to make applique curtains, a table cover, a decorated lamp shade and window boxes, but we gave it up when the Sowashes came. We only came to use the room when we knew we must give it up. We were glad to have had it, even if we did not use it as much as we might have.” [Jane Thompson, 9th grade, May 1929 Bric-a-Brac]
Most of the students gardened somewhere on the lower grounds. The elementary grades were given a mat playhouse near the northern wall of campus along Schutz Street, around which they had garden beds of flowers. Down by the pond, in the north eastern corner of campus, the high school girls kept garden beds with geraniums, verbena, pansies, crocuses, sweet alyssum, red poppies, orange California poppies, nasturtium, stock, phlox, sunflowers, lavender, sweet peas and roses. They had tried “to make most of it a Persian garden,” using the new arrangement of shrubs near the pond.
Schutz students continued to have regular opportunities to leave campus for special outings. In addition to the circus and the movies, the calendar of events from January through April lists a tea for the high school girls at the Grand Trianon, an elegant coffee and patisserie shop downtown. http://bit.ly/2VFVMTK The girls were hosted by a Mrs. Cruikshank, an Englishwoman who had been coming to Schutz to teach sewing classes. Other members from the local British community visited Schutz for tennis games, musical entertainment and sometimes to lead Christian Endeavor meetings. In February, a few high school students attended a lecture given at the YMCA by Captain Edward Miles, the first man to sail solo around the world going eastward, through both canals, Panama and Suez. http://bit.ly/2HnvhZj https://nyti.ms/2HkN9UJ All the boys at Schutz went on a Saturday picnic at Sidi Bishr. The whole school was invited to Judge Brinton’s for a festive tea in honor of George Washington’s birthday, but the high school girls were asked to put together a program to perform for the guests from the American community in Alexandria. The program began with the American Consul, Raymond H. Geist, reading Washington’s Farewell Address. Then Schutz high school students sang duets, recited poetry of their own, and the lone senior, Moneera Finley, gave a speech. The Schutz students then retired to a room to watch “some comic moving pictures” while the adults listened to a lecture by the Lone Sailor, Edward Miles [Jane Thompson, 9th grade]
Mid-spring, an outbreak of German measles kept the boys’ dormitory in quarantine for nearly 4 weeks as, one by one, the boys caught the disease. Wallace Jamison, in the 5th grade that year, recalled that “food was passed in, but no one was allowed to go in or come out during that time…We used the downspouts from the roof to talk to our healthy comrades below.” [Schutz History Questionnaire, 1993] The report in the Bric-a-Brac indicates that the boys were required to wash all the dishes on which their food was served, and lessons for those who were well enough to do them were passed to boys in packets, left at the door. The completed lessons were then returned the same way. The students had no recitations heard by any adult during the quarantine. “After the measles was finished on the 28th of April the flats were sealed and fumigated.” [Maurice Gephardt, 6th grade May 1929 Bric-a-Brac]
Daily routines of class and mealtimes were by free time after school until dinnertime, and on weekends after room inspection. Along with the ordinary afternoon games, student activities included founding clubs, wood working, planning parties, bicycling on the garden paths, playing crack-the-whip on skates on the tennis court, going to Sidi Bishr for a day-long Saturday picnic, climbing trees, and keeping up with each other’s stamp collections. The girls in 2nd and 5th grade discovered three kittens born near the pond and made plans to domesticate them. Before they could bring the kittens into their rooms, one of them died, offering the girls an opportunity to have a funeral with coffin, flowers, sermon and hymns. The mother cat removed the other two kittens from view, “and we have never seen them since.” (Crystal Neff, 6th grade, May 1929 Bric-a-Brac)
In April, the high school hosted a progressive Rook party, attended by the three Schutz teachers and Mr. Bone, a short term teacher at the Egypt Mission’s Commercial College in Alexandria. Ralph Henderson, in the 9th grade, was reported as champion. (May 1929 Bric-a-Brac)
For a period in the spring, marbles were a great fad on campus. Tennis was always popular; the students regularly held impromptu tennis tournaments involving middlers, high school students, Schutz teachers and occasionally visitors from the English community in Alexandria, and members of the Egypt Mission station downtown.
The two literary societies presented programs in the spring, with debates, poetry recitations, skits, plays and vocal performances by quartets and trios; guests from the community were invited to attend. On March 30, the now annual high school banquet was held. Following the meal, Mr. Nolin and the teachers performed songs, piano music and skits, and gave a series of humorous toasts to the students.
Very little is left in the record about the academics this year. Exams following the first semester took 3 full days; we can assume the subjects taught in the years previous were still in the curriculum: French, mathematics, geography, grammar, art history and drawing, history and current events, science (reading, no labs), and various research projects from scientific discoveries to biographies and historical events.
On April 2, Mary McConagha went to Tanta Hospital for an appendectomy and stayed in hospital for a month. This resulted in a schedule change, with Alice Evans picking up most of the elementary grade classes and all class times reduced to 15 minutes. Mary Dixon then picked up the remainder of Alice Evans’ 8th grade classes. The teachers’ increased class load resulted in the production of the school’s spring play being canceled.
On May 23, Moneera Finley, the only senior, graduated from the 11th grade; the 8th grade students also graduated from the middler level to high school. Each graduate gave a speech. Moneera Finley spoke on “Tendencies of Present Day Literature.” The 8th graders, Janet Caldwell and Bill Askren, spoke respectively on “Great Women” and “Inventions and Their Benefits.” The ceremony was held on the basketball court, with a reception taking place under the trees.
Schutz boarders attended church at the Scottish Church downtown, on only 3 Sundays in the months of January and May. Transportation from campus to church and back again had again proved too cumbersome to arrange for the entire school. The middler and high school boys attended Dr. Campion’s sessions of the Crusaders , and the middlers and high school students continued to have their Sunday evening programs of Christian Endeavor. The Bric-a-Brac lists each of those programs by date, naming the student or adult guest leader and the topic presented. The programs included such subjects as Prayer, the Prophet Jeremiah, Science and Religion, the Apostle Peter, Seeing the Best in Everything, Enjoying the Beautiful, Cooperation, and A Safe Guide.
The only holidays mentioned in the 1929 Winter-Spring Bric-a-Brac are Valentine’s Day and the Presidents’ Birthdays. Lincoln and Washington were the subjects of a full program by the Société Literaire. Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a program given by the other major club, the Societe Literari. The program involved much decoration, recitations by students at every level, a debate on Valentine customs, a brief play, and the distribution of homemade valentines to all.
This was a transition year for Schutz in administration. Roswell Caldwell, General Treasurer of the Egypt Mission, was given chairmanship of the Schutz School Committee after Dr. Roy left on furlough, but Caldwell did not move to Schutz from the family’s apartment in downtown Alexandria. Mrs. Austick returned as matron, and presumably continued to as admirable a job in her second year as she had the year before, when Dr. Roy hired her. Even after Mr. Nolin arrived in January to take over supervision of Schutz, Mr. Caldwell retained some oversight of the school’s administration, making decisions on campus changes such as filling in parts of the pond, having trees cut down and the rebuilding of the servants’ quarters. Mr. Caldwell left on furlough in May of 1929. Mr. Nolin remained at Schutz for the next eleven years, and replaced Mr. Caldwell as General Treasurer in 1932.
Dr Grant, stationed at Tanta Hospital, came in the spring to give all the boarders their annual physical examinations and the Mission’s required inoculations. All regular health matters were handled by Mrs. Austick, the matron.