Archivist reflects on history of the school newspaper

Kesha Williams
June 21, 2010

archivist-reflects-on-his

Our school newspaper has gone by many names--The Newsletter, The SNS Monthly, The State Normal Banner, The Compass - but anyone who visits ECSU's G.R. Little Library would learn that the very first printed edition of our institution's paper was dated May, 1927 and was known as The Normal Magnet. A single copy survives and is on the shelves of the ECSU University Archives.

The formality of the Editor's Greetings" of this issue - Volume One, Number One - sets the tone of the times: "This is the first attempt...to give the reading public a brief account of the activities of this department...and the advancement of the teaching  profession.... It is our hope that from this issue you will, at least, realize the importance of thorough normal school training for those who anticipate entrance into this pedagogical field."

"All For One-One For All", exclaimed a headline by Miss Eva J. Lewis, a graduate of the University of Michigan and SNS High School teacher of English in 1927. She honored the career of first school Principal and President Dr. Peter Moore by writing:

 "One For All and All for One"
He embodies that spirit and it is only just and fitting that those who have benefitted so largely by his efforts should  in turn work to give him the appreciation that is his due...Let it be "All for One" on this day [May 26, 1927] --an expression of gratitude well-merited by Dr. Moore for his untiring zeal in all that tends to build us up."

Miss Edithe Mocile Cardwell, a graduate of Columbia University Teachers College oversaw the students and SNS student teachers in the first and second grades of the Practice and Observations School during the 1926-1927 school year. She showed her affection for the School on the Magnet's front page with her poem, "Don't You?"

Don't You?
'Tis great to serve mankind
In thousands of the different ways.
Some preach, some feed, some those
But I prefer to teach.
What ever is done must be my best
I believe, --don't you?

Some get their training East;
Some get their training West.
It doesn't matter where
As long as you get the best
But send me to E. City
To dear old S.N.S.
Then I can stand any test - I believe,
Don't You? 

Since all students were future teachers, the Practice School played a critical role in the student life. An excerpt from a Magnet editorial sheds light on this crucial and emotional experience:

The Heart of a Normal School
Do you realize the relationship one's heart bears to his body. . .
So it is with the heart of a normal school. What is the heart of a normal school?
This organ or department is better known as the Practice School the life of the normal school depends strictly upon it.
Since such a school aims to send out of its doors well
Trained and fully-capable men and women who will in turn train
Our youth, then it must have a well equipped laboratory in which
They must work . . . The Practice School presents a multitude of
Problems which carry with them the elements of life situations . . . .

It is possible for any Practice School to function properly if it is
Fashioned after the old type of a school - one that carries with it
The idea of "move when I tell you to move," or "do this thing
According to my idea." But on the other hand we train the child to
Think for himself, and to use his own judgment in responding
Properly to a stimulus presented on the spur of the movement. The
Idea of the Practice School today is free activity, personal
Judgment, and student participation rather than teacher
Performance. When the Practice School begins to live up to this
Idea it is then the heart of the normal school will be functioning as we would have it function."
State Normal Magnet, 1927