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Newsboys Home Night School.

The following report by Mrs. Mattie Belle Tucker is taken from the First Report of the Board of Education of Louisville, Kentucky From January 1, 1911 To July 1, 1912 published by John P. Morton & Company, Louisville, Kentucky, 1913.

Superintendent E. 0. Holland,
Louisville Public Schools.

Dear Sir:

The Newsboys Home Night School—or more correctly speaking, a night school conducted in a building known as the "Home for Newsboys and Waifs"—is unique in the fact that it bears the distinction of being probably the only one of its kind in existence. The building, light, and heat are furnished by the Directors of the Home, while the equipment is supplied by the Board of Education, and is in every respect directly under its control. The session begins in the latter part of September and closes the following April, as do the other night schools.

Why have a night school here, instead of in a regular school building? When the Home was established there was a library well filled with books of every kind, but to the astonishment of the Directors they found that many boys who frequented the Home were unable to read. Judge R. H. Thompson, founder of the Home, and other members of the directorate, set to work to meet the difficulty. Finally, an appeal was made to the School Board to assist in establishing a night school in this building. No difficulty arose in explaining the need, and the result was, that the school was opened September 2, 1895, with a regularly appointed teacher—one who had had experience in teaching boys. Later both boys and girls were admitted.

The opening night found seven boys in the improvised schoolroom. Ready for work? No! Simply determined to break up the school. When called to order one boy said, "How long's this 'ere school goin' to keep?" Another said, "How much do you git for teachin' us?" The teacher, realizing what was before her and feeling that she must be careful, asked, "What do you think I ought to get?" One boy said, "Eighteen dollars a month." The first boy responded, "What do you take her for, a scab?" The teacher was accustomed to handling boys and proved herself equal to the occasion, and about thirty boys enrolled within a few days.

The seven boys—charter members—proved valuable aides to the school, and developed into men that would be a credit to any community. One of them is an officer in the United States army and is stationed now in Alaska; one is the Health Officer in a Western city; one is a dentist in our own city; one, an electrician; one has a tailoring establishment; one is connected with a large dry-goods firm; one is dead.

The school continued and grew, and at the end of the third year the attendance demanded an additional teacher. After five years, bookkeeping was added to the curriculum. The Faculty now numbers four teachers, with an annual enrollment of over one hundred and fifty. Since its opening about twenty-three hundred boys and girls have received instruction in the school. During the past year sixty-two foreigners, representing eleven nationalities, were enrolled, ranging in ages from sixteen to sixty, not one of whom knew the use of an English sentence when he entered the school. Their progress was satisfactory—in fact, surprising—and many of them have returned this year, anxious to pursue their studies in higher grades. This is now the "Special School" for foreigners.

Not a pupil has ever been sent out of the school for misconduct. A simple request from the teacher is always followed by instant obedience. Many of these boys and girls come directly from work and take up the evening task. Do they not deserve our sympathy and help?

The same teacher who took charge of the school on the opening night has been Principal during the seventeen years of its existence, and in addition to this has the class of foreigners.

Respectfully submitted,
Mrs. Mattie B. Tucker, Principal.

Additional information about this school may be found at this Jefferson County Schools page.

Also see the article about this home on page 655 of The Encyclopedia of Louisville which is available in public libraries, and perhaps in Google Books.

There are also records from this school available at the Filson Club in Louisville.

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