Horace Mann memories
We had a wonderful response to our request for memories of Horace Mann. We’ve include some here and others are on-line. –the editor.

Great experience for teachers
When I was an Elementary Education student, 1957-1961, I did my first student teaching in the kindergarten at Horace Mann. It was a great introductory experience. Not very realisitic – very small class with the kindergarten teacher/instructor and I think 3-5 student teachers. The instructor was so enthusiastic & understanding.  I really enjoyed the experience.
By the way, your article in the SPRING 2013 edition of the Pitt State Magazine says that Horace Mann was “a lab school for grades 1-6  until 1971.”
I do not know when they started the kindergarten program there, but I do know that it was there in 1958-59 & beyond.

LaNell Linn Russell  ‘61

Student teaching in Horace Mann
During my teacher training at PSU, I was one of the fortunate students who was able to have the Horace Mann experience. I believe it was the fall semester of 1966. What a valuable training aid!
But my most vivid memories of Horace Mann happened after its closing as a lab school. I was hired as the Director of the Campus Child Care Center, which was organized by a committee of student families and faculty members at PSU. At that time, early childhood programs were licensed by Kansas Department of Maternal and Child Health. We were licensed for 24 children. We were allowed to open our day care facility in the Horace Mann building. But we were so much more than a day care center. We had a fantastic early childhood program from the very beginning.
One of the reasons is that PSU allowed us to equip our center from the furniture and educational supplies that were stored in the gymnasium on the first floor of Horace Mann. We were located on the top floor left, and because of the way the lab school was set up, we had a large main classroom, a smaller activity room and an office. At the same time, the lending library for student teachers was still located on the first floor of the building and I was able to check out materials to use with our lesson plans.
In addition, at various times, graduate students from the psychology department would get parent permission to practice their test giving skills. Also, I remember nursing students coming to our center as part of their “well child studies.”
We had a cook located at the Student Methodist Center located a block away and made the trek down the block daily for our lunch. A small yard was fenced in for us on the east side of the building. Darryl St. Aubin, who was then Director of the Methodist Center, served on our Board of Directors, as well as Dr. John Connelly, from the psychology department. Most of the student families had most of their day care fees paid through the Title program, which was available at the time. In addition to student families, we also had some faculty children enrolled as well.
The 1973 yearbook included a very nice article and pictures about the Campus Child Care Center. We were located in Horace Mann for two years. After that time, we bought a house on West Billings and converted it into a child care facility.

Lynn (Torgler) Keidel
BS ‘75, MS ‘84, MS ‘85

Fond memories
I have fond memories of the early years of Horace Mann elementary school. It was an easy walk from my family home on Belleville Street. I started in kindergarten at age 5 in 1929 and finished the sixth grade in 1934. They believed in rapid advancement in those days. Dr. Jane M. Carroll was principal. Mrs. Peck, kindergarten; Miss Williams, 1st; Miss Carnagey, 2nd; Miss Grawe, 3rd; Miss Cross, 4th, Miss Hare and Miss Rinehart (my favorite) each had half a year of 5th; and Miss King, 6th. After that, my family moved closer to town and I went to Pittsburg public schools. I remember a practice election in 1932 where Mr. Hoover won handily over Mr. Roosevelt. I loved seeing the photos on your website.

Philip Norman, A.B. 1947, M.D.
Baldwin, MD

Special Memories
I began school in 1931 – 1938. My teachers K through 6 were all great: Ms. Peck, Ms. Williams, Ms. Carnegie, Ms. Graywee, Ms. Cross, and Ms. King. Our music teacher, Edwina Fowler taught us well and took us to Music Hall for concerts and to listen to the organ music. Mrs. Bennington was our penmanship teacher, and was a precise teacher. Dr. Jane Carroll was our principal.
We had operettas every spring in Carney Hall. The College Art Department made our flower costumes of tissue paper, hats and all. I thought they were beautiful.
We also could go to the College Library and museum and the swimming pool at the Gym to learn swimming.
They took us to Memorial Auditorium for special events, like Martin & Osa Johnson speaking of their safaris. We also heard George Washington Carver speak.
I met (my husband to be) Thurlyn Van Tassel in 3rd grade. He tied his horse to the flag pole in front. He loved horses.
I thought we had the advantage of many opportunities at Horace Mann.
We both completed six years at College High School, one and a half years for me and three and one-half years for him at K.S.T.C. (now PSU). We were married in 1946 and raised 5 children, and have 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Billie (Panknin) Van Tassel
Ozark, Mo.

Loved Horace Mann
I loved attending Horace Mann Laboratory School on the College campus. We always enjoyed having all the student teachers in our classrooms. I never have understood how one teacher could do all that the student teachers did for us. It just seemed so natural having eight or nine extra teachers each semester.
I also remember having classes in the room where they had cameras that sent our images over to the college campus for student teachers to watch us. Several of us would walk home through the campus and it would always be a surprise when one of the college students would say hi to us and call us by name. We didn’t realize that they had been watching us on TV having our class.
Our teachers all through the years were master teachers who knew our families and had taught our older siblings before us. I still remember all of them and look back with happy memories of my days at Horace Mann.
I attended Horace Mann from 1952 – 1958, graduating from College High in 1966.
Thank you for letting me share my memories.

Roberta L. (Gelso) Jolly
Independence, Mo.

Education began at Horace Mann
My educational experience began at Horace Mann Laboratory School in 1959, when I entered Miss Velda Williams’ first grade class. Miss Williams was a wonderful teacher, who motivated me to read, and challenged me to do my very best. Dr. Aldon Bebb was my principal, whom I had great respect for.
My mother, Sue Billingsly, was a Third Grade Supervisor at Horace Mann that year, and my father, Leon Billingsly, was Principal of College High. I have fond memories of attending elementary and secondary functions with them. One of my favorite memories was playing on campus with Ann Stromquist, my best first-grade friend, whose grandfather, Reece Hughes was PSU President at the time.
First grade was one of my most important years growing up, because that was the year I decided I wanted to become a teacher, just like Miss Williams. Unfortunately, that was the only year I attended Horace Mann, because my family moved to Fayetteville, Ark., the summer after my first grade year.
I did, however, end up becoming a first grade teacher like my beloved Miss Williams, and a building administrator like Dr. Bebb. Through the years, I have often thought of those two educators, who had a great impact on my life at an early age. Their desire to provide an exemplary education to their students inspired me to attempt to carry on their legacy in the Webb City R-7, and Carl Junction R-1 school districts the past 37 years.
Thank you, Horace Mann and College High for providing a great foundation of learning for me and all my fellow students through the years.

With tremendous gratitude,

Connie Billingsly Godwin
Retired Principal of Carl Junction Intermediate School, Current Adjunct Professor at Missouri Southern State University

Memories of friends
My father, Dr. Don Quentin Milliken, took a job teaching science courses at College High in 1951, when classes were still being held in Russ Hall.  I attended 5th & 6th grades at Horace Mann, went to middle & high school at the newly-built CHS, & graduated from Kansas State College of Pittsburg in 1963. I remember going to a dining room in Russ Hall (3rd floor?) for lunches while in Horace Mann. Twenty-five cents? I enjoyed 5th grade with Gladys Rinehart & 6th grade with Perva Hughes, both of whom included Spanish in their curricula. My best memories of Horace Mann are of friends I made, some of whom also graduated from CHS & from KSC. That was quite a trek together that now seems to have gone by all too quickly, a long time ago.

Don Milliken
Curator of Visual Resources (Retired)
Amherst College Library, (BS, Art Ed, KSC, 1963; MA, Painting, U. Iowa, 1966; MFA, Painting, U. Mass, 1970


Remembers campus programs

I am writing in regards to your article in the Spring edition of the Pitt State Gorilla Magazine. I did go through the third grade at Horace Mann Training School. I would have started kindergarten in September of 1938. I have some really nice memories starting in kindergarten where on one of my report cards the teacher had written, “Gretchen spends too much time playing in the ‘playhouse.’”
Students in the education department would sit around the classrooms and watch the teacher teach in the way that was pretty common back then. And, the school seemed to be interested in trying new tactics and seeing how they worked with the children.

When I was in the second grade, I fell on my way to school after going home for lunch. I scraped my face really bad and when I got to school, the teacher noticed my injury. She sent me with a student teacher over on campus to see the nurse, who put “metholiate” on my injury. It hurt so bad. When I went home, my mom was not happy with the red all over my face, so I tried scrubbing it off — ouch!

In the third grade, another boy and me were pretty tall compared to the rest of the class. One morning we came into the classroom and the teacher had put in two desks and chairs that were taller. I was really embarrassed because we were different than the rest of the class. Actually, the teacher was pretty smart.

The school used to have programs over on campus. One year I was the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio. I was to remove his elongated note that was fastened on with an elastic band. It went pretty smoothly and I have enclosed a picture of my costume. The productions they did were really pretty good and I think the people designing and directing the productions from the drama department.

Attending Horace Mann was a good experience for me.


Gretchen Glick Gahagan
BA ‘56 


Loved the operettas

My twin sister, Carolyn Fox, and I attended Horace Mann between 1946 and 1948. I remember two teachers, Mrs. Hughes (my favorite teacher ever) and Miss Rienheart (she like to talk about a trip to Africa).

The most fun was art class from Mr. Moore, who taught over on the campus. We also loved the operettas. One year we were Dutch twins and danced in wooden shoes. We took turns being the girl and/or boy.

One year we did a square dance with many others. We learned many songs — many of which I can still recall.

We learned some Spanish and some typing, which were things that were not done in grade schools back then.

Sis and I loved playing like we were in college at PSU. Later, much later, we were. I was at PSU for my BS and master’s and more. Sis got her degrees in Iowa, including her doctor’s degree, which she received shortly before she was killed in a car wreck in 1986.

We treasured our years at Horace Mann and Pittsburg, Kansas.

Marolyn Fox Elliott
BS ’68, MS ‘70

Horace Mann family

Rose Ann Williamson and her late husband, John H. Williamson, of Pittsburg, Kan., as well as their children, will always hold the memories of Horace Mann School in the highest esteem. In 1927, John was enrolled at Horace Mann. John’s education differed from many in Pittsburg because he was taught by supervising teachers as well as student teachers at what was sometimes referred to as a Laboratory School. He practiced basketball with his brother, the late Fred B. Williamson, on the KSTC (Kansas State Teacher’s College) basketball court when attending College High School. John returned from serving his country in WWII and graduated from KSTC as a teacher and coach in 1948. John’s future wife, RoseAnn (Reda) Williamson graduated from KSTC in 1949. She did her student teaching with Perva Hughs in the fourth grade classroom at Horace Mann. Kansas State Teacher’s College would later be named Pittsburg State University. Their three children, Clara (Williamson) Uhlrich, John II, and Paul all attended Horace Mann at some time and later graduated from Pittsburg State University. Their education at Horace Mann gave all of them a strong educational foundation for their chosen careers.

When their firstborn, Clara, was accepted at Horace Mann by Dr. Carroll, principal, there was no guarantee that John and Paul would be able to attend. Many students came from families of college professors. John and RoseAnn were very pleased that eventually all three had the opportunity to attend there. Clara, John and Paul all recall the jungle gym in the kindergarten classroom, milk in glass bottles, and bringing a lunch box to school. They all three had Ms. Williams for their first grade teacher and recall when student teachers were introduced to the students in the classrooms. Collective memories of Horace Mann School include the outstanding music appreciation curriculum. All students under the direction of Mrs. Fowler, were introduced to the piano keyboard, learned an instrument, and participated in a school operetta. They traveled on the college buses when on school trips, were introduce to “new math” program books and sometimes participated in closed circuit TV opportunities for student teacher instruction. Student teachers observed master teachers at work and later presented classroom instruction themselves. Clara recalls in 6th grade that each pair of students were given the opportunity to dissect a cow’s eye as part of the science curriculum.

Memories of Horace Mann Grade School continue to live in our minds and hearts today with appreciation for a unique educational experience.

Rose Ann Williamson and John H. Williamson (deceased)
BS ’49, MS ’73, Spec. ‘83