Finding some treasure: Old School

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Well, you might not think this is treasure, but I do!  I love historical objects, documents, and enjoy learning the historical stories behind those objects/documents.  Everything tells a story if you look hard enough.  After digging through an old trunk at my grandmother’s house, we found my grandpa’s report cards!  All of them, every grade level, all tied up with a string.

What I love about this find, is that I can learn a lot about my grandpa’s education, his teachers, the school subjects, grading scale, attendance, etc.  He attended Thornhope (Indiana) and then was consolidated to Star City for high school (during the 1930s/mid 1940s).  Also, the handwriting, the signatures, etc. are really interesting.  My great grandfather had to sign off on each report card in elementary, so seeing his handwriting was touching because I didn’t know him, and I have not seen his writing before.

A few things I have learned from my grandpa’s report cards:

Holy moly, the grading scale was hard.  See the photos but 97-100 was an A; 96-91 a B, 90-79 a c (talk about a jump there); 70-78 a D and below 70 is a F.

Days missed: there is trend for grandpa that in the fall and spring, he tended to miss more days.  Well, they farmed, and it was understood that kids would miss some due to helping their families farm during planting and harvesting.

He didn’t seem to like the academics at school.   High school grades were not overly promising and his senior year was pretty poor, he passed by the skin of his teeth.  He was quoted as saying, “I got by enough so I could play basketball.”  Boy was that true.  But he did well in music and choir.  He loved to sing.


Those of you from Star City, some of the teacher names include:

  • Carpenter
  • Walter
  • Slaybaugh
  • Byfield
  • Herb
  • Crane
  • Snyder
  • Hyman

These report cards were fun to look at, my family enjoy looking through them.  They caused us some good laughs and insight into grandpa’s personality.

I love taking family objects, such as this, and to frame them and hang them in our home.  These documents tell a story about my grandpa but also about the history of education in our community.

Don’t disregard old documents if you come across them!  Look at them, read them, try to put them in the context of time and place.  You can learn a lot more about people, places, systems, society, etc. Even something such as report cards, can be fun to look at, share with family and maybe enjoy a few nostalgic laughs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: