In a year of anniversaries, one more was celebrated on Nov. 14 when students, parents, alumni, staff, faculty and friends gathered to celebrate 150 years of education at Pleasant Valley School in Brooklyn Heights.

In a year of anniversaries, one more was celebrated on Nov. 14 when students, parents, alumni, staff, faculty and friends gathered to celebrate 150 years of education at Pleasant Valley School in Brooklyn Heights.
The school held an open house and birthday ceremony in the gymnasium.
Third grade students entertained with songs, including Happy Birthday and speakers in a former student at the school that carried the name before the current building in the current location, a retired teacher and a current fourth grader, accompanied by his father who also went to school at Pleasant Valley.
After the event, school supporters toured the building during an open house.

Former student
Ray Trowbridge, 75, started in first grade at Pleasant Valley in 1939 at a building that doesn't exist anymore, but was located a short distance south of the current school.
Trowbridge's school was the second Pleasant Valley school.
Principal Melonie Houlihan, giving the history of Pleasant Valley school, said the land for the first one-room school was conveyed to the Jasper County Board of Education on July 20, 1868, by Daniel S. and Mary Prigmore.
“This acre of land lay in a peaceful valley in a beautiful location,” Houlihan said. “There was a small stream or branch that ran through the valley, giving it beauty and a soothing coolness. Thus this acre and the surrounding community was called Pleasant Valley. So it began.”
In 1878 or 1879, a second building with two rooms, was built on a hill overlooking the original school in the valley. It had to be moved because the valley flooded most years in the spring, damaging the original building.
Houlihan said the second building was built at a cost of $1,000. A third room and a basement were added later at a cost of $1,800 and the building housed first through eight grade.
Trowbridge recalled his first grade teacher, and how, when she got married before his second-grade year, it became something of a life lesson.
“I learned quite a bit in the first grade and the second grade, but that kind of messed me up because the lady we had looked just exactly like Miss Burkholder, but her name was Mrs. Yankee, and if you called her Miss Burkholder, she made real sure that you called her Mrs. Yankee,” Trowbridge said. “We learned real quick that Miss Burkholder was no longer there that it was Mrs. Yankee.”
Trowbridge said he and the other students learned another life lesson when their third grade teacher lost her husband in the air war over Europe in World War II.
“She was gone for quite a while and we had what were called substitute teachers, different ones, about three I think, and then Mrs. Oldham came back, but it was never the same,” Trowbridge said. “I don't think the kids in the third grade were the same either. We didn't know much about the war or anything like that, but we knew it was going on.”
Trowbridge recalled a scrap metal drive the school held to support the war effort. The different rooms competed to see who could collect the most scrap metal.
“The little kids won because, well they cheated,” Trowbridge said. “Their dads brought three old Model Ts up there, and how in the world are you going to beat three Model Ts.”
Trowbridge recalled when the decision was made to build a new school on the current location.
“Out here where you guys get on the busses and stuff and park, I picked strawberries all over that ground,” Trowbridge said. “Where the school sits was a great big pasture that had cattle and sheep. Across the road was another strawberry patch. There were only four houses over there then, and my goodness, what a difference.”

Retired teacher
Linda Havely taught the fifth grade at Pleasant Valley for about 30 years until 2009 when the district reconfigured and she decided to retire. The fifth and sixth grades moved from the elementary schools to Carthage Middle School.
She recalls seeing former students in the days when Pleasant Valley school served as a voting location.
“I was in the fifth grade for so long that some of the students would come back here to vote and they would see me in that room and they would look in there and say, oh my gosh, are you still in the fifth grade?” she said. “Yes, I like it here. This is my place, I've been here so long that I started to teach children that belonged to my former students, so when you're teaching the children of your students, you've been here a long time.”
She described memories of school projects, art shows, talent shows and musical performances at the Parent-Teacher Organization meetings.
She talked about the support the school, students and staff received from the community, and the dedicated staff and teachers that taught generations of students.
“We were all privileged to watch Pleasant Valley students grow up to become people of excellence,” Havely said. “More than one junior high teacher told us 'oh yes, we can spot those Pleasant Valley students in the junior high. They're prepared, they do the right thing even when they think no one is watching. They have integrity.' I thought that was a real compliment for Pleasant Valley. We still have students of integrity that come out of this school.”

Current student
Douglas Ball, a Pleasant Valley fourth grader, and his dad, Matthew Ball, a Pleasant Valley alum, talked about the changes that have occurred in a generation.
They talked about how the school has air conditioning now, but it didn't when Matthew Ball attended; how Matthew Ball used chalk and a black board, while Douglas Ball uses a computerized smart board; and how Douglas Ball will be moving on after the fourth grade, but his dad attended Pleasant Valley through the sixth grade.
Miss Reynolds class, where I learn math and science, was the music room, and my home room, Mrs. Blankenship's class, was the library when my dad was here,” Douglas Ball said. “But there's one thing that was at Pleasant Valley when he was here and when I was, besides the building and some furniture. That thing is actually a person, Mr. Billy. Pleasant Valley is very special to our family and I'll miss it after this year.”