Orleans County Grammar School History

Fun in the Classroom

Letter from Jas. W. Strong, Aug. 23, 1888

…though sometimes stern, there was always a genial side to his nature, and he often gave his pupils amusing experiments with the air-pump, electrical machine and philosophical apparatus. One favorite pastime was to administer what he called “laughing gas” under the influence of which the boys would perform various peculiar and astounding feats…

From the Vermonter, “The Old Stone House,” by Florence E. Waters, June 1929

“The work of the school was lightened by some fun as the following will show. At the end of the fall term of 1845 it was voted to have an ‘exhibition’ which should be original in every way. Abijah Gilman, a student from Beebe Plain, personified Mr. Twilight in the conduct of a schoolmaster. Dressed to imitate the master’s portly form, with a leather strap in his hand, he ‘heard’ a recitation from a class or two. As in all such cases he carried his teacher’s peculiarities to an extreme, but in a way to please the audience, and Mr. Twilight himself was much amused.

Another student imitated an Indian in a capital manner. Timothy Mansfield of Barton gave an original lecture on phrenology, which was then attracting considerable attention. Holding up a skull before the audience he discoursed on the several bumps to the great amusement of his hearers. Ann Blake of Derby was a hearty old lady… There were also original essays, poems and dialogues.

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