1935-1936

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Enrollment

Student List

In September, 33 students were enrolled, according to the Schutz School Committee report in the Minutes of the January 1936 Association Meeting. However, a copy of the 1936 student-produced annual, with photographs still extant, shows pictures of 35 children, and names a 36th (without a photo) who started the first grade that year. The North and South Sudan Missions sent eight students, and three came from the Abyssinian Mission. Two of those enrolled were non-Mission students. This year, the high school had no sophomores. The ninth and eleventh grades combined had only seven students.

The Schutz School Committee included the following in its report to the January 1936 Association Meeting, "It is significant of the changing times that our school [Schutz] is the last remaining school in Egypt for the education of American children." [January 1936 Winter Association Meeting Minutes, UPNA Egypt Mission, from records held by the Presbyterian Historical Society.

Prior to this, an American school without Mission sponsorship had begun in Cairo, and an Egypt Mission day school, supplying families with children from 1st through 8th grade, had existed on the grounds of Assiut College. The latter was supported by the Egypt Mission parents working at Assiut College and Assiut Hospital but not supported financially by the Egypt Mission's budget, granted through the Board of Foreign Missions. It would appear from this note in the Schutz School Committee's report that the Assiut Mission school was no longer in operation. Without any further discussion, and 11 years after Schutz opened, all Egypt Mission children and most of the Sudan and Abyssinian Mission children (each sponsored and supported by the UPNA) came to Schutz, unless their parents chose to home school them for the first several grades.


As in the years previous, Schutz accepted the children of Americans without UPNA Mission connections who worked in Egypt for various reasons--Consulate, University or special foundation research, expatriates on a world tour spending several months in Egypt, children whose parents were in the country with other mission endeavors.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty/Staff

This year was the only year that the Misses Sharp taught at Schutz together. Janet Sharp came to Schutz to teach in the academic year 1931-1932. It would appear she stayed to teach one year beyond her original 3-year contract, so she could spend at year at Schutz with her twin sister, Jean Sharp. This year Janet Sharp was the principal; she also taught all subjects except French and music to the 19 students in grades 1 through 6. Helen Godfrey, in her third year, continued to teach the 10 students in grades 7 and 8. In addition, she taught Latin to all levels in the middler grades and high school, and she taught piano at all student levels.

The high school had no 10th grade pupils, and only 7 total, 4 in 9th and 3 in 11th (who all had come from the school in Assiut 3 years before). Jean Sharp was responsible for all high school classes except Latin, French and music. Mrs. Nolin taught orchestra and violin. Madame Barbara Demidoff continued to teach French to the middle grades and the high school students. Mr. Nolin, who served as the school superintendent and the Chair of the Schutz School Committee in addition to his full time work as the General Treasurer for the Egypt Mission. Though Mr. Nolin had taught geometry to the tenth grade in previous years, there is no indication that he taught any high school math course this year. Miss Sturgis continued as matron to the boarding department.

Boarding Life

The Schutz Annual for 1935-1936 (no longer called the Bric-a-Brac though the format was consistent with the earlier publication), has photographs of 35 out of 36 students. 33, and possibly 34 of these can be identifed as UPNA Mission boarders from Egypt, Sudan and Abyssinia. Boarding life this year was life at Schutz, in and out of class. One of the day students was the son of Egypt Mission members assigned to Alexandria; the other was the son of the American consul in Alexandria. Both day students were on campus for chapel at 8 a.m.; they ate lunch with the boarders, and stayed on campus through afterschool rehearsals, tennis matches, orchestra practice. They returned to campus for piano recitals and school performances, in which they no doubt took part.

This year the school enrollment had 11 families with one sibling or more attending. Five of these families had three siblings enrolled. 12 out of 36 students had been at Schutz the two previous years, and another four students were returning from the last year. Only six boarders were newcomers; all of them came from UPNA Missions, four from Egypt, two from Sudan. Only one of the new students came to school without a sibling already there ahead of him, but he had spent his summers at Sidi Bishr with the rest of the boarders. The son of the American consul had attended Schutz for the previous four years. The entire school knew each other and their teachers very well.

The Schutz Annual offers no detailed information about the matron, the floors on which boarders lived, or schedules of room inspection, baths and the like. None of that must have seemed different or newsworthy. This was a year of extraordinary consistency at Schutz.

Interviews with former students as adults brought out memories of the daily schedule of boarding life, much of which was determined by bells, all rung by hand. At 6:30 a.m. one of the Egyptian cooks struck a large gong on the 2nd floor, wakening the boarders on the 3rd and 4th floors. The warning bell for breakfast was rung at 6:55, and the breakfast bell at 7:00. If a boarder wasn't already in place in the dining room when that bell rang, one rushed to be present and ready to pull out the chair, rather than be marked late. Teachers and boarders ate their meals together, in two rooms set aside as dining areas in the east wing of the 2nd floor flat. The younger students ate in one room and the middlers (7th, 8th) and high school students ate in the other. In both dining rooms, the boarders ate at long tables, filling both sides, while the matron and the teachers commanded the ends. Paul Jamison, in 9th grade this year, and Madeline Dougherty Schroeder, who was in 5th, both recall that aish baladi, the local bread, was served at every meal, and occasionally at dinner they were served an Egyptian dish such as ful medames or molokhia. Otherwise, they generally ate food prepared in plain American style--Swiss steak, roast chicken, hot dogs, baked beans, mashed potatoes, liver, green beans, ice cream, pie, cake, tapioca, and fresh fruit in season.


Between breakfast and the school bell at 8 a.m., the boarders were expected to be in their rooms picking up their belongings and making their beds. They were forbidden to make their beds before breakfast, so as to give the beds time 'to air out,' according to Madeline Doughterty Schroeder's memories. Miss Sturgis conducted daily room inspection after everyone had gone down to class. In previous years, and it may be assumed this year also, Miss Sturgis confiscated anything she found out of place. Boarders could only retrieve their possessions after a week, possibly even a month, perhaps depending on their frequency of infraction. Former student memories differ on the years of this detail in Miss Sturgis' routine.

Lunch came at noon, and supper at 6:30, with the supper warning bell rung at 6:25. Though the boarders' manners were supervised by all the adults, Miss Sturgis is remembered for her emphasis on sitting up straight (or being jabbed with a hatpin). Day students joined the boarders for snacks, served in the dining rooms mid-morning and at 3:30, after classes let out for the day. They also ate the noon meal, called dinner, with the boarders.

Immediately after dinner, all students went to their rooms for quiet time. None of those from this year interviewed afterwards, could recall what the day students did during the hour of quiet time. School was out at 3:30. With classes were done for the day, the afternoons were free time for all, as long as the boarders had completed their assigned chores. These included sorting clean laundry into the various boarders' boxes on their halls of residence; folding clean sheets and towels for distribution the following Saturday morning, picking flowers for the vases on the tables and in various rooms of the school. Day students might well have been cleaning classroom blackboards and emptying wastebaskets, or finding and re-shelving library books). Chores were regularly rotated, and usually done in pairs or in teams.

The weekly evening schedule remained consistent with previous years. Right after supper, everyone gathered for prayers in then room on the 2nd floor set aside as the auditorium during the day and the study hall at night. After study hall, the younger grades went upstairs to get ready for bed while the middlers and high school students rearranged the chairs and tables for study hall. Study hall was monitored on rotation by members of Student Council, who were elected at the beginning of the year.

When boarders got sick, they were isolated in the 'sick room' near Miss Sturgis' own room. A sheet drenched in disinfectant was hung in the doorway if the illness was deemed infectious. This year, according to the Schutz Annual, at least one boarder came down with the chicken pox. This was still the era before antibiotics, and the tragic death of a Schutz student from scepticemia was not even five years in the past. Miss Sturgis continued to dose all boarders on Saturdays with Eno's Fruit Salts, following her very British regimen for a healthy digestive system. Miss Sturgis supervised all bed times and baths; some years baths were conducted on a weekly schedule, other years bi-weekly. Middlers went up to bed directly after study hall. Study hall lasted, by some accounts, an hour long. In other accounts, and perhaps remembered from differing years, study hall went for an hour and a half after evening prayers. The high school students were given an extra half hour of their own time, always indoors, before going up to bed. Ada Margaret Hutchison, in 7th grade this year, said that while some boarders occasionally broke the rule about not going outside in the morning until after breakfast, no one ever broke the rule on staying indoors after supper. "It wouldn't ever have occured to us." (AMH in private interview with C. Weaver-Gelzer and A.L. Meloy, 10.07.2015)

Boarders received a nominal allowance each week, a tenth of which was earmarked for church offering, the remainder most often spent on candy or gazooza (soda pop) bought at small shops along Schutz Street, or saved for renting bicycles from the shop near the Schutz tram stop, and sometimes splurged on roasted corn or fresh oranges and mangoes bought from food carts at the tram stop.

Every boarder was required to write a weekly letter home. The older students sometimes wrote theirs in study hall. The teachers collected the letters and mailed them to the parents. Madeline Dougherty remarked in her essay response (1993) that her parents, who worked on the Mission station in Addis Ababa, probably knew very little of what went on at Schutz, since the letters she, her sister and brother wrote were often formulaic and stilted. But Ada Margaret Hutchison, in the 6th grade this year, and Grant McClanahan, in the 11th grade and his 3rd year at Schutz, have noted that "we were raised by mail," implying a much greater detail of exchange in the letter writing. (GVMcL in interview with ALM, 1/1996; AMH in interview with ALM, 8/1992)

Twice a term, the teachers mailed their students' report cards to the parents, occasionally along with a letter from a Schutz staff member, either with specifics or with general information. In real emergencies, contact was made by telegram. All other problems were handled by older siblings, or by school staff.

Sports, Clubs, After School Activities

The Boy Scouts held regular meetings on Friday afternoons, and frequently took weekend hikes in the sandy areas east of Schutz, sometimes hiking as far as Abou Kir and camping there overnight. Another Scouting activity was hiking to Sidi Bishr and having a cookout to provide varioous scouts with their cooking badges. The Scouts also held weekend campouts in the lower garden on campus. On one of the Boy Scout off-campus outings this year, Bill Adair, in the 9th grade, fell out of a tree and was knocked unconscious. The Scouts made an emergency return to campus by taxi. (Ada Margaret Hutchison interview with ALM,7/21/94, citing her letter home written 1/28/36; Paul Jamison interview with ALM, CW-G, 2/13/95) No long term damage was reported. The Boy Scouts this year carved what was later known as the Schutz totem pole, a four feet high post carved and painted, topped with a Scarabus Beetle, commemorating the troop that made it. Students at Schutz in the 1960s recall seeing the totem pole still standing in the ground next to the upper tennis court.

Sports at Schutz were both formal and informal. All year, students organized informal groups for cooperative and creative games. Regularly, teams were formed for baseball, roller skating and crack the whip, tree climbing and feats of daring and agility, in which students tried to complete a self-designed course around the lower garden, going from tree to tree without touching the ground. Any afternoon in the year, students organized whole school games of tag or Statue, had races around campus on foot and on bicycles, and played games they made up, like the ball-and-running game in which the entire student body, divided into two teams ranged on either side of The Fort, a two room, one-storey building in the Lower Garden. The game involved each player throwing a ball over the roof of The Fort and running around the building before the team on the opposite side could catch the ball and throw it back. Occasional evenings the boarders got up games after supper, and on afternoons when it rained, board games were the choice of many. The Schutz Annual reports that Sardines and Murder in the Dark were favorites for playing on Saturdays after dark.

The Schutz Annual refers to Miss Janet Sharp, the principal this year, as the school's "Gym Teacher". Gym as a class seldom appears in references to sports and outdoor activities in earlier years. This year, formal games of tennis, basketball, hockey on skates (played with old broom sticks), tennis tournaments and track meets took place throughout the year. In March, Miss Janet Sharp organized a tennis tournament with 22 players, involving all three resident teachers and 17 students in 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th grades. The matches were played in three rounds, with spring vacation coming between round one and two. The Schutz Annual has a detailed article on the tournament accounting for all matches. Then, on Shem-el-Nessim, falling on April 13 this year, Miss Janet Sharp declared a half-day of school followed by a track meet. The first event was the final round of the tennis tournament. This was followed by the 5-yard dash for students in the elementary grades, races for the 5th and 6th grades, the 7th grade boys and separately, ther 7th grade girls, a wheelbarrow race, and the high jump, with the contestants sorted by grade sections--elementary, middlers and high school. The day finished with a baseball game between two teams made of all the students and all the teachers willing to play.

Academics

No direct record of the academic work at Schutz this year has been given the writers of this history. The consistency of the teaching staff would seem evidence that all the classes this year continued from the previous year's offerings.

The Schutz Annual, however, offers clear evidence of the caliber of the teaching and learning. The imaginative essays and the straightforward reporting are well written, show humor, give concrete details, and in the main, might well have been written for class assignments.

Of the seven high school students, all attended college and five of the seven went on to graduate school. Two went into medicine, three went to seminary and finished their careers in school administration overseas, one taught high school, and one joined the United States State Department and served in diplomatic missions overseas throughout his career.

Music was very important in Schutz life this year, as in other years. Of course, the students sang a great many hymns, many of which they had memorized and easily sang in 4 part harmony with descant. They sang hymns in chapel, of course, but also while walking about together on the roof of the main building. Schutz students had formed four choral groups among the 34 of them--an elementary choir, a choir of the 6th and 7th grades, a Jr High and High School Boys' Glee Club, and the Choral Club, including all the girls in Jr High and High School. Most of the students took weekly piano lessons from either Misss Godfrey or Mrs. Nolin. Schutz had four pianos, 3 on different floors of the main building, 1 in the Salemlik. The students practiced mostly during school hours. Mrs. Nolin also gave lessons to three students of the violin, and directed the school orchestra, mostly composed of stringed instruments. The choirs, the pianists and the orchestra gave 4 recitals throughout the school year, to which members of the Alexandria Mission community, local friends of the school and parents of day students were invited. Now and then, parents of a boarder were able to be present.

Students pledged allegiance to the flag every morning. Fridays, all the students in middle school and high school gathered in Miss Jean Sharp's classsroom to present their Current Events reports. Jean Sharp, the principal, was in her 4th year at Schutz, and carried forward the Schutz teaching tradition of assigning leadership responsibility to the students. Each week, she named a different student to be the chair of the class. The students wrote the titles of their reports on slips of paper, which the chair then drew out of a basket, indicating the order in which reports were delivered. The students drew their information for the reports from the American weekly Time Magazine (each issue always nearly a month late) and the local English newspaper published in Alexandria. Selecting the subjects of the reports was left up to the students themselves.

Religious Life

Schutz entered its 11th year in 1935. Through the 1920s, the students reported taking turns by age group to attend the Scottish Church downtown, twice a month. Older students could make the tram trip there and back on their own, leaving the middle and elementary students in the care of the teachers for Sabbath School, and for some years, the older and middler students took it in turns, going to church every other week. This year, the Schutz Annual, the student publication replacing the Bric-a-Brac of previous years, makes no mention at all of students going to church. Going to church took close to three hours, including the walk to and from the tram station and the hour plus for the worship service. Dinner on Sundays was scheduled half an hour later than other days of the week to accomodate the returning students. That there is no mention of going to church in the 1936 Annual would not imply that church attendance had been dropped. It is likely the whole process of managing attendance for all the students, or at least high school and middle school students at formal services just once a month had become so ordinary to everyone that it didn't merit special attention.

Sabbath day observance continued to be normal, as well. This meant that all day on Sunday, the boarders played no running games, did not engage in competitive sports, did no homework, did not practice the piano, had no chores, and spent any free time in quiet pursuits, or as quiet as 36 children might be, playing board games and taking walks or listening to music on the Victrola. Knitting, mending, cleaning, work of any kind was forbidden.

On the other hand, the boarders did have a variety of activities suited to the day. The Annual reports the Sabbath Day classes took place in three age groups, breaking out from what were called 'opening exercises', probably meaning a brief order of service with a text, a hymn sing and prayers. In their class, the seven high school students used a syllabus designed for a college course in New Testament taught at Tarkio College. They ran their class on their own, studying the questions from the course and taking turns each Sunday presenting a question and leading the ensuing discussion. "We have had some lengthy discussion on just what is true and what is not, what is right and what is not, and why. Usually our class period is far too short to finish the assigned lesson. Many times we feel the need of a theologian's assistance. The Rev. Mr. W.B. Jamison taught our class one Sabbath morning. His suggestions and ideas were very much appreciated." --Grant McClanahn, 11th grade, The Schutz Annual 1936

The students in first through 5th grades met out of doors in the lower garden, under the eucalyptus tree, in a class led by 11th grader Margaret Mclaughlin. The Annual reports that they learned Bible stories and tested themselves by playing Charades with the themes and characters. The middler grades met with one of the teachers, who tested them on memorized passages such as the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes.

There is no more mention of studying the Westminster Catechism, as was the regular practice in the earlier years. Instead, the students participated in a weekly study using a Christian Endeavor format. A book written about UPCUSA Presbyterian mission work in Cameroon, called Friends of Africa, by Jean Kenyon MacKenzie, was studied, chapter by chapter, for 10 weeks. When the book study had run its course, the leaders turned to the Christian Endeavor leaflet called Christian Endeavor World. The Annual reports "It is a bit difficult to secure subject matter which will prove able to hold the attention of children ranging in age from six to sixteen years." The meetings included a talk on "Habits Worth Forming" and another on "Lost and Found." The teachers did not organize or run these meetings, and perhaps were not even regularly present. Schutz students learned capable leadership skills by doing the work themselves.

Holidays

This year saw the celebrations that had become usual over the past decade at Schutz.

Halloween, the first holiday of the year, was an occasion for an all-school party. Halloween fell on Thursday that year; Schutz celebrated on the following Saturday. Students spent all morning and afternoon inventing and making costumes, which were judged at the party that evening. Older students and staff organized a treasure hunt, a house of horrors, and, of course, refreshments.

Thanksgiving must have included the elements the Schutz and Alexandria Station people had become used to--the church service downtown, the Consul General reading the President's Proclamation, everyone gathering at Schutz for the festive meal, perhaps this year as in years past, laid out on tables set outside under the trees in the upper garden. The report on Thanksgiving in the Annual focuses on the after-dinner entertainment. "For several years it has been the custom for the teachers to entertain us on Thanksgiving afternoon," says the article. This year, the teachers put on an exceptionally entertaining melodrama. Perhaps the fact that the teachers included twin sisters reunited after 3 years apart and two other young women who shared a similar college background; they must have enjoyed themselves as much as their pupils enjoyed their theatricals.

Schutz held its now-traditional Christmas party shortly before breaking for the two-week Christmas vacation. As before, the students drew names for giving a gift to another in the school. Many of the girls had spent weeks before Christmas making gifts for each other, for their roommates or for their special friends. The day after the Christmas party, all the boarders dispersed to their homes, or, if their parents worked outside of Egypt, to the homes of missionaries on other Egypt Mission stations. Often, the children were hosted in the homes of their roommates or their close friends. The four Adairs, Bill, Ann, Jim and John in the 9th, 6th, 5th and 3rd grades, along with Jim Shields in the 6th and Bill Anderson in the 5th grade, were from Sudan. The three Dougherty siblings, Ken (7th), Ruth (6th) and Madeline (5th) could not return to their parents serving the UPNA mission in Ethiopia. They too went to spend Christmas vacation with friends. Often an Egypt Mission family would host all the siblings together for Christmas.

Shem el-Nesseem fell on April 13, 1936. Schutz took a traditional half-day holiday, celebrating with the finals of previously held all-school tennis match, followed by an all-school track meet.

Without doubt, Valentine's Day and Easter were also celebrated, the former with handmade valentines passed out at an all-school party in the evening, and the latter with a church service downtown and a dinner at Schutz for all, including members of the Egypt Mission on the Alexandria Station who came out to Schutz for the occasion. Easter being a Sabbath day, no entertainment or sporting competitions would have been held, but no doubt the students engaged in singing.

Though no mention is made of celebrating birthdays in this year's Annual, it is likely the customs of the previous decade were maintained. The birthday child got to choose the menu for the evening meal, cake and ice cream were served, followed by gift giving, a good many of which would have been gag gifts calibrated to the student's character.

SPECIAL EVENTS Italian troops invaded Ethiopia in October of 1935 [1], precipitating the Ethiopian armed resistance to Italy's efforts at colonial control. After 5 years of increasingly fraught struggles over its form of government, the Spanish civil war [2] broke out in the summer of 1936. Schutz students were well aware of both developments, having followed them all year long in their Current Events classes. The British Mediterranean fleet included the HMS Revenge [3], which docked in the Alexandria harbor early in 1936. Over the decade, as ships in the British navy came to port, sailors had met Schutz students through British residents of Alexandria such as Dr. Campion, and some had come to Schutz to play tennis. Some Schutz students, certainly the high school boys, and some of the middle and high school girls, were taken on a tour of the HMS Revenge. The 1935-1936 Schutz Annual featured a hand drawn naval warship on the cover, and included a full length report on meeting British sailors by 7th grader Ann Adair.

Administration

Mr. Nolin, resident missionary at Schutz, school superintendant and also Chair of the Schutz School Committee, finished the seventh year of his term in the spring of 1936. 1935-1936 was a time of preparation for much change in Schutz administration. Mr. Nolin and his family were due to go on furlough in August of 1936. Miss Jean Sharp was to finish her 4th year as teacher and be replaced by a new teacher in the fall of 1936. Mr. Nolin's other full-time job, the post of General Treasurer for the Egypt Mission, would also be handed over to someone new to the job and to Schutz administration. The Schutz Annual is dedicated to Mr. Nolin, with the following description. "The senior class of 1936 dedicates this annual to Mr. W.W. Nolin. For eight years he has been the superintendant of Schutz School. The accomplishing of his duties here and his regular tasks in the Mission, have been exactingly completed. During this time he has brought about many improvements in school routine and regulations. All alumni and present pupils join in thankig Mr. Nolin for the help and foresight he has extended to us during the time he has been at Schutz. We also hope that this next year, to be spent on furlough in America, will be a happy, restful one."