By Joyce (Burton) Woodard
I was born in 1938 and therefore when I became 5 years old I started first grade at the Porter Corners School on North Creek Road. I walked to school from my home on Porter Road with my older sister and the neighbor children. The school housed 8 grades in one building. All of the students lived in Porter Corners. Some of the boys did ride bicycles to school.
The total number of students ranged from about 25 to 30 students in the eight grades and there were two teachers. In my first grade year there were four of us in the grade, myself, Millicent Rowland, Bobby Kanar and Clifford Young.
We were in the “Little Room” which was separated from the “Big Room” by the girl’s bathroom. The boy’s room was in the basement and girls were not allowed down there. Our room was very comfortable with lots of windows with sunlight pouring in. There was a large blackboard behind the teacher's desk. We had single desks in a row. I remember the bookcases along the wall by the windows full of books. I loved reading and became an avid reader reading and re-reading those books.
My first teacher was Mrs. Lucy Ballou. She taught there for 14 years. We were taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Later on in the other room we had social studies or history as it was called and some science. We had school parties and a school play at Christmas time. We did not have scheduled gym, music or art classes but we did drawing. A great advantage in my opinion was having three grades in the same room. When our teaching time was finished we were supposed to practice our letters or numbers. However, since the teacher was teaching in the same room we could hear her and certainly learn what she was teaching. We had a visiting school nurse a few times a year, checking our weight, eyes, ears and of course for “head lice”.
We had recess outside after lunch. We played Dodge Ball, Hide & Seek and Baseball. I was terrible at baseball.
We felt safe at school since we all knew each other and we were also playmates after school. We were too young to be affected by World War II which was going on, but we did have some drills both at school and at home. (blackouts at night). Most of us had a radio, a home telephone and automobiles in our families. There was no shortage of information among the community. We were a self-contained community having the store, church, post-office and school.
A few years after I started school the “Big Room” was divided in half and grades 4-6 were in one room and grades 7 & 8 were in the other. After grade 8 we rode the bus to Saratoga Springs High School on Lake Avenue in Saratoga.
I feel lucky to have lived in that time period. Maybe today's students have more technology but we never lacked for companionship or loyalty and never felt deprived.