Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Hail to Thee" Beaty Junior High School

First off, it's now called Beaty Middle School. When I attended during the years 1962-1965, the student body averaged 1300 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. The grade range is now 5th through 8th, and the average student population has slid to 800, I'd guess.

(On the day in 1957 when my family and I first arrived in Warren, having moved there from Great Falls, Montana, I recall a road sign proclaiming "Home to 15,000 Friendly People". According to the 2000 census, Warren's population is 10,257. Current estimates put it at 9,700.)

Thanks to 7th- and 8th-grade chorus, I can still recite the lyrics of the first verse and chorus of Beaty's insipid Alma Mater.

On the banks of the Conewango,

Just above the dam,

Stands the Beaty Junior High School

Stately and so grand.
[And indeed it is.]

True to Beaty we will ever
Loudly sing her praise.
Hail to Beaty Junior High School
Hail to thee always.

After two failed referenda -- 1923 and 1925 -- the Beaty family provided the land on the north and south sides of Third Avenue along the Conewango Creek for the school. Construction started in the spring of 1929 and was completed in time for the 1930-31 school year. (The school is on the south side of Third Avenue; a track, football field, tennis courts, and playground are on the north.)

About those Beatys......

David Beaty, the family patriarch, built the residence pictured below in the early 1870s. What you see is about half of the original structure. In 1939, his son, David Beaty II, demolished the front section, which included a four-story tower. He also replaced the original mansard roof with a pitched one. (To get a sense of how the original house looked, think "The Munsters", before dilapidation set in.)

Walter Beaty, one of the patriarch's grandsons, built the brick-and-stone Georgian mansion (shown below), complete with semi-circular driveway, in 1924.

The next picture presents a timeline, from far to near, of Beaty's growth: the original 1930 structure, a seamless 1937 addition, a sleeker 1953 addition, and a seamless 1965 addition. (At 520 students, the class of 1975 was the largest to go through the Warren public school system.)

A view below of the original section and a classroom portion of the 1953 addition.

In addition to the Alma Mater, I can still reel off my 7th-grade schedule.

1st & 5th periods. Room 210. History & Geography. First-year teacher Mr. Giordano, who kept order with his rumbling-beneath-the-surface demeanor.

2nd & 6th periods. Room 106. English. First-year teacher Miss Popielski, who left after the first semester and soon became Mrs. Shields. (Mr. Shields taught 8th grade English. Mrs. Shields eventually returned to the classroom, though long after I'd left Beaty.) Miss Popielski wore Wilma Flintstone bracelets that jangled loudly when she wrote on the blackboard. Mrs. Perry taught the class during the second semester.

3rd period. Room 219. Chorus on M-W-F. Miss Mathis, who became Mrs. Peterson before the start of 8th grade, without any noticeable effects. Gym on Tu-Th with old-as-the-hills Mr. Hutchins.

4th period. Room 105. Science (1st semester). Mr. Smith. Art (2nd semester). Miss Clepper.

7th period. Room 211. Math. Mrs. Hubbard, who was probably in her 30th year of teaching at the time. If not my favorite, she was, by far, the best teacher I had during my Beaty years.


Anonymous said...

Great site! Enjoyed reading all the comments!
By the way, I am the son of Miss Popielski and Mr. Shields. Both of them are now retired, but I'm continuing the teaching tradition in our family. I, too, taught briefly at Beaty, subbing there in 1985, and teaching summer school a few years ago. Still a great place!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this! I was a student of both Miss Popielski (Mrs Shields) and Mr Shields. She was my English teacher and to date ranks as one of the best I've encounter (including those I had in under-grad and grad). Mr Shields taught me Algebra II in my 9th grade year. He was also an excellent teacher.

I also happen to know the son who posted above (although I am sure he wouldn't remember me as I was much younger)

Again-thank you for sharing your memories.

Proud of my Beaty heritage (1982-1985). WAHS grad 1988

Melinda Y. said...

great read as i remeber all this but the biggest surprise was when I realized who wrote this! Grew up at St. Pauls - both Water street and Conewango ave and graduated with your brother Dale in that famous class of 1975.
Your dad both baptized and confirmed me and I was honored to have he and your mom come to my wedding after his retirement.
Many blessing to you and your family Paul!

Anonymous said...

I, too, atended Beaty at about the same time. A few of us boys had s secret crush on Miss Clepper, but aside from the classroom, we didn't know much more about her. I was terrible in art, but it didn't seem to matter! The school has always been a majestic landmark in Warren. I just wished they hadn't made us wait outside on mornings when it was -15 degrees.

Anonymous said...

I was graduated from WAHS in 1976. I guess that puts me in Beatty (7th grade) around 1971. I definitely recall Mrs. Hubbard as my math teacher and agree that she was fantastic. Thanks so much for this site and the memories!

Sheila said...

I too, after all these years, can sing the Beaty Alma Mater. You called it insipid, but I thought the words and tune, made it easy to remember. I don't every recall being able to sing the WAHS alma mater, and still can't.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to Ruth Ann McKinney?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what happened to Miss McKinney But I know she was pretty cruel to many of the 8th grade boys(twisting and pulling ears). Knopick(8th History)had a Hickory stick and frequently smack the legs of the boys. Mr Getig (8th Math)could scare the hell out you just by looking at you(6-6 300lbs) One of my favorites was Tony Scordo (Gym)I also liked Mrs. Collins(7th Math)and Mr. Shields who was much more laid back.

To the writer....I hung around a lot with Brother Larry and remember your mom in the cafeteria and I believe you graduated with my sister