by Dustin Hodges, KY3 News
9:54 AM CDT, August 14, 2012
FAIR GROVE, Mo. -- Several groups are trying to preserve the history of education in our region. One group is Saving Liberty Project, which wants to preserve the one-room Liberty School just north of Fellows Lake, and make sure its history is shared with future generations.
"Somebody's written 'I will not talk in class' on the black board," said former student Norma Tolbert, a member of Saving Liberty Project.
Tolbert can still recall her days at Liberty School.
"I attended the last four years that it was open before it was consolidated with the Fair Grove School District, which was 1947 - 1951."
Seeing the old building brings back fond memories.
"I do remember losing my first tooth on the teeter-totter. My friend Celia and I were teeter- tottering and she jumped off and I bumped my head and tooth fell out," said Tolbert.
Now she and other Liberty alumni want to keep its history alive.
"There's a lot of history with the school now, but also probably lost by some of those who are already gone," said Tolbert.
"One-room schools often started as both a school and a community center. For rural areas, that was their life blood. Everything revolved around that one-room school building," said David Burton, an MU Extension Service agent in Greene County.
Burton also has roots in a one-room school house.
"That's actually the school that my grandfather attended," said Burton.
He and the folks with the Saving Liberty Project hope to find the Liberty School a new home at the Gray/Campbell Homestead at Nathanael Greene Park.
"Move the building to the farmstead and restore it so they can use it for educational purposes as they give tours," said Tolbert.
"It has a cultural importance, it has a social importance, and it has a historical importance about our roots and why we do some of the things we do," said Burton.
They'd like for future generations to experience this first-hand history lesson.
"This was what school was like when your grandparents and great grandparents would have gone," said Tolbert.
"They're really just continuing their original purpose, absent the school teacher and the students; they're still working in the community," said Burton.
The cost of moving the Liberty School to the Gray/Campbell Homestead at Nathanael Greene Park is estimated at about $50,000. The Saving Liberty Project is holding some fundraisers to pay for it. The next one is a pancake breakfast at the Applebee's on North Glenstone Avenue in Springfield on Aug. 25 from 8-10 a.m.
They will also be at Lifestyle Days at Nathanael Greene Park on Sept. 15-16.
Some other groups are also working to preserve one-room school houses. New Bethel Church is holding a dessert auction and silent auction on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. to raise money for New Bethel School. For information on that, call Karen Almeter at (417) 845-6855.
Locust Prairie School Days, an event to raise money for the preservation of the old Locust Prairie School, will be Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (417) 759-2119 or (417) 736-3564.
The annual Schuyler Community Breakfast and Bake Sale that raises money for the Schuyler Community Center will be Saturday, Oct. 20, from 7 to 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $5. That building sits on Farm Roads 94 at 124, south of Fantastic Caverns.
The annual Wooley Creek Bluegrass Festival will be Oct. 12, 13, and 14 with an auction scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Proceeds will go to restore the historic Wooley Creek School.
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