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The Carthage Press
  • Pleasant Valley to celebrate 145th birthday

  • Saturday's annual carnival at Pleasant Valley Elementary School will also serve as a birthday party and alumni gathering in honor of the school's 145th birthday.
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  • Saturday's annual carnival at Pleasant Valley Elementary School will also serve as a birthday party and alumni gathering in honor of the school's 145th birthday.
    The carnival is slated for 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the school in Brooklyn Heights on County Road 180 near the intersection of Old Highway 66 west of Carthage.
    Principal Scott Ragsdale said alumni of the Pleasant Valley School are invited to the carnival which will include old-time carnival games and activities for all ages.
    Ragsdale said maps and other displays showing the history of the school will also available at the carnival.
    The current school building is the third to house the Pleasant Valley School. It was first built in 1960 after the merger of the Pleasant Valley and High Point school districts in 1958.
    In 1961, the Pleasant Valley R-6 School District came into being. The district wasn't annexed into the Carthage school district until voters said yes to annexation in 1965.
    Charlyn Ropp Hubbard remembers going to school at the second Pleasant Valley school, a classic three-room white school building with belfrey on top.
    Hubbard talked about her memories at the Powers Museum on March 30 at an event featuring Carthage Author Helen Hunter and Hunter's book about rural Jasper County schools.
    "It's not there anymore, but the outhouses are still standing," Hubbard said. "My father went there and my great aunts and great uncles went to the first Pleasant Valley School. I had to walk two miles, we walked through the cow pasture and down the street car track and back to the road and that was two miles. If we had gone around on the road it would have been two and a half miles."
    Hopp and Ragsdale said the Pleasant Valley school was the largest in Jasper County for a period of time.
    Hubbard remembered one of Pleasant Valley's most famous teachers, Cecil Floyd, who went on to become superintendent of the Joplin school district.
    According to articles posted on the Cecil Floyd Historian, http://cfhistorian.edublogs.org/introduction/, a blog about Floyd and the elementary school in Joplin that bears his name, Floyd received national acclaim in 1957 for creating an innovative program to teach reading in the elementary schools.
    Floyd taught at Pleasant Valley from 1930-1937.
    Hubbard remembered him as a much-loved teacher in her first, second and third grade years.
    "We sure hated to see him go when he left Pleasant Valley," Hubbard said "I used to run and jump off the front steps and he would catch me when I was a little girl."
    Another local website, http://www.jaspercountyschools.org/, contains articles and photos of many of the old schools in Jasper County, including Pleasant Valley.
    According to an article from The Carthage Press in 1964 on the website, the first records of a Pleasant Valley School go back to 1868 when the land was purchased and construction started on a rough-hewn log school that had a single large room and seating capacity for 65 to 70 people.
    Page 2 of 2 - Classes were first held for grades one-five and school terms were brief.
    A new building site was purchased a short distance west of the first school in 1896.
    Classses were first held in this two-room school in September 1896.
    A third room and a basement kitchen were added later.
    In 1958, Pleasant Valley and High Point school districts voted for consolidation and the consolidated board decided to build the third Pleasant Valley School about a mile northeast of the second school.
    The original building, with four classrooms and a cafeteria, cost patrols $65,000.
    An addition, with five classrooms, a combination auditorium/gymnasium, office and library, was completed at a cost of $83,144 in 1962.
    In April 1965, Pleasant Valley patrons voted to be annexed into the Carthage school system.

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