Reflections…………………..Jersey School

Dr. Gary Coker



Since seeing the burning of the Jersey School building, I have had ‘flashbacks” of yesteryear and of classmates and friends who attended school with me. They are very fond memories

In school we studied the basic classes of English, History, Arithmetic and Science. All teachers were addressed by their first name with a ‘Miz’ in front of it. ‘Miz’ Lessie, ‘Miz’ Ethlene, etc. Students came from rural areas and would be considered out-of-date by today’s standards. The majority of the students could remember ‘outhouses’ most from firsthand experience. We certainly can remember the days of telephone party-lines and 25 cent gasoline and milk and ice being delivered to our house. ‘Fall break’ was not a trip to the beach but rather a trip to the fields to help with harvest, especially cotton. If you were lucky enough and worked hard you could earn money to go to the county fair in Monroe.

There are a few things I would like to remind the current generation about the youth of Jersey and other similar schools . Unfortunately, we are often labeled old ‘fogies’ or country ‘bumpkins.’ We worked hard and worshiped one God. We won World War II, we fought in the Korean War and Viet Nam. We can quote the pledge of Allegiance and know where to put our hand while doing it. We didn’t fight for the “Socialist” States of America we fought for the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’

By the end of the second grade we knew the words to the “Star Spangled Banner,” ‘America,’ and ‘America the Beautiful’. We have lived what many of today’s youth have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize for America. It is noteworthy, if it were not for young men and women like those in Jersey we would all be speaking German today.

It was the basic skills that we were taught that led America into the technological age. We were not bystanders, we were active, hardworking, patriots. A common thread that wove itself in the halls of the school, in the classroom and on the playground was; respect, hard work, and responsibility.

So, as I viewed the fire that consumed my old School in that rural town of Jersey, Ga., a tear rolls down my cheek as I am reminded of the teachers who taught me and the lessons learned in that building that have lasted a lifetime and enabled me to pursue higher educational goals.

Gary Coker Ph.D.

Class of 1956


Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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2 Responses to Reflections…………………..Jersey School

  1. Carol Malcom says:

    Sad to lose such a place of memories! I don’t have the same memories as you! For me it was the school that so.many of my friends spent the time first eight years of school before joining me in the ninth grade in Social Circle . It took until Oct. for us to settle in, make new friends and once again the class of 1963 was resdy to take on the next four years as a unit. We never forgot our classmates and we were now the class of 63. My greatest memory of Jersey School was in my senior year being sent by Miss Mary to substitute for teachers who could not be there due to illness. My classmates enjoyed this adventure while I hated every minute. I did not enjoy teaching, or so I thought,. Now after spending my entire life teaching at every level of education I look back on the burning of Jersey School as destroying my first place of teaching. It is so sad! I enjoyed most every bit of being an educator. My husband was a career military officer so each move left me scrambling to find a position in education. From the 6 th grade to high school to many years at the college level I have loved them all. Thank you for another reflection

    • Carol, thank you for your ‘reflections’. The school and all the surroundings, the people and the culture are near and dear to me. I wish you the best and I miss your occasional comments. I hope all is well. Gary

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