School began on September 4, 1929. Enrollment was never less than 27 throughout the year and was sometimes one or two greater. Three students came from non-Mission American families in Egypt. The 11th grade had 4 students, the largest graduating class to date. (January 1931 Association Minutes). Schutz did not offer the 12th grade, since many of the Egypt Mission members preferred that their children have the last year of high school back in the United States, to somewhat ease the adjustment to America, and to put their transition to college on the same footing as their fellow seniors. (Willis McGill, notes on Chronology material, 1996) But in these years, a good number of students went directly to college in the States from 11th grade graduation at Schutz.
Faculty and Staff
Mr. Nolin continued as the superintendent of the school, in addition to his responsibilities as the Egypt Mission’s General Treasurer office. This was Mary Dixon’s third and final year teaching at Schutz. Caryl Evans was in her second year of teaching. The veterans were joined by two new teachers, Alice Evans and Ruth Davidson. Madame Demidoff continued coming out to Schutz from the city to teach French, and Rebecca Needs, who was resident at Schutz for one year, taught piano.
A major change occurred to the Schutz campus over the summer of 1929. The pond in the northeast corner of the garden was filled in and leveled. There was talk of putting in a second tennis court. In the garden there were new swings and two new seesaws, and still plenty of space for students to play among the trees and flower beds, trees to climb and paths for riding bikes.
The school building changed very little during the early years at Schutz. During the Roys’ residency, the dormitory rooms were on the 2nd and 3rd floors with classrooms and other common rooms on the ground floor. When the Nolins moved into the ground floor flat, dormitory rooms and teachers’ rooms were reassigned to the top two floors. Some years the boys were on the top floor, some years the floor belonged to the girls, depending on the number of boarders in each group. The students were normally assigned to dormitory rooms by age groups. There were usually from two to four ‘iron cots’ in each room (Janet Caldwell Hall, Questionnaire). Each student also had a chest of drawers. In these years, students had to provide their own bed linens, towels and bedside rugs.
Mrs. Austick, the matron, had charge of housekeeping in the boarding departments, food provision, menus, the cleaning and laundry and supervision of the local Egyptian staff hired to do the washing, cooking and maintenance. Mrs. Austick also supervised the boarders’ weekly letters home to parents. Mrs. Austick left the post of matron early in the second semester to go to the United States with her daughters. For the remainder of the year, mothers of the Mission took turns coming to Schutz to fill in for 2 or 3 weeks at a time until a new matron could be found. On the first Sunday in April, the boarders were served a meal including canned corn which had spoiled, and all were so sick that the following day, classes were cancelled. Birthdays were celebrated with menus chosen by the birthday girl or boy, concluding with a cake and candles which the celebrant cut and served.
Schutz boarders kept pets in various places on campus during the late 1920s and into the 1930s. This year, a pen of white rats lived on the boys’ balcony (and escaping, ate holes in clothing hung over the railings to dry). Boarders raised rabbits and grew alfalfa in the gardens to feed the rabbits. Feral cats were common in the streets of Alexandria, and not welcomed on campus. In March of 1930, several guinea pigs were added to the mix.
Extra Curricular Activities
Schutz students remembered attending their first talking picture, “Showboat”, at a theater downtown, holding a progressive Rook party on a Friday evening instead of having the usual study hall, working in the carpentry shop where bits of wood from the garden and packing cases were stored and later fashioned into cars, planes, boxes and other works of art. They recalled sighting a water spout in the Mediterranean with the sea whirling up into a low cloud followed by lots of rain along the beach. The younger elementary girls made a playhouse for themselves in one of the smaller outbuildings on campus that had space on the roof for their games. The boys dug an underground room with a tunnel leading to it in the lower garden.
All the boarders took a picnic out to Sidi Bishr in mid-March, and made a trip to the sea in late April. The seniors and juniors took a field trip to visit the Mixed Courts in Alexandria. The older students went to a piano concert given at the Alhambra in March by Emil von Sauer, a German composer and virtuoso pianist considered the best interpreter of Franz Liszt in his day.
Members of the Alexandria Mission station and visiting parents often led Sunday evening Christian Endeavor meetings and attended school parties and picnics. Their presence increased the ratio of boarder to adult (otherwise approximately 7 to 30), and added much to the Schutz feeling of being almost-home, since all the Mission boarders would have been familiar with the community made around them at home, by regular gatherings of all the Mission members on their home stations. The Bric-a-Brac records two months of calendar activities, showing that on the Sundays when Mission adults did not visit and lead Christian Endeavor meetings, the high school seniors took on the leadership in rotation.
The Halloween celebration was a highlight of the year, described in great detail in the Fall 1929 Bric-a-Brac. All the students and teachers dressed in costumes, and the high school students developed an elaborate program of activities to entertain the rest of the Schutz community. The high school’s
planned events included a trip through a house of horrors (the Old Fort ) into Spirit Land ( the Lower Garden ), a treasure hunt, ghost stories, games, and fortunes told by a coffined mummy.
Thanksgiving, a one-day school holiday, provided another occasion for the students to participate in an entire day of celebration. Before the morning church service, students and staff decorated the dining room and library. The entire mission community in Alexandria returned from the Anglican Cathedral of St. Mark’s, to Schutz, for a big turkey dinner with traditional fixings. After a postprandial rest, the grade school students performed a pageant about the way people have given thanks through history, beginning with Biblical times. A variety of games and sports followed in a typical mission group celebration.
End of Year
There is no mention in the Association Minutes of any epidemics, serious medical issues on campus or other events noteworthy to the parents and adults of the Mission in this year, though the Spring 1930 Bric-a-Brac describes two students coming down with scarlet fever over the Easter vacation. Their convalescence delayed their return to school, and no epidemic ensued. The school year concluded on May 23, 1930 with the fourth graduation in Schutz history, that of the largest class to date; of the four students in the 11th grade, three had been at Schutz when it first opened, in 1924. Two of the graduates between them left four siblings behind them to carry forward the characteristics of Schutz life that the graduates had helped shape in the first six years of the school.