By Mike McCarty
Students from Red Lion Area Senior High School’s drafting and design level four class have begun a remarkable self-driven project. Seniors Drake Schaefer, Hunter Kinard, Mike McCarty, Sebastian Smith, Joshua Ziolkowski, Ben Clark, and junior McKayla Cooley are those in charge of the effort to restore the Neff’s single-room schoolhouse.
Located on 220 Country Club Road, this historic landmark is in dilapidated condition and in need of improvements and repairs. With only a few months and a couple of field trip days lefts within the school year, the pressure is on, but the students of Red Lion are more than up for the challenge.
“Simply it has to be done, and it’s a fun challenge,” senior Hunter Kinard said.
The one overseeing this project is their very own drafting/design level four teacher Mr. John Royer. With immense enthusiasm he encourages the students to not only do this for a grade, but to find out what this project means for those working on it and to find out what you’re passionate about in life.
Mr. Royer’s passion for the project is closely tied to the reason he wants to be involved. “Why? To restore and honor the impacts that single room schoolhouses had on our community, simple hardworking close knit families who loved to help each other was a part of life,” Mr. Royer, said.
Neff’s single room schoolhouse was just a stepping stone to many of the students striving to make it to high school, where most of the core subjects were taught, including geography, mathematics, English, and especially religion.
What was once a treasure to the town and its students this historic institution is rotting away sadly.
“I feel it is important to secure the legacy left behind so future visitors may take a trip back in time. My local history students continue to be amazed at what took place in this building. Education has changed and grown exponentially over the past 65 years but it is important to reflect on our beginnings,” Mr. Sam Cooley, local history teacher said.
With panels falling from the ceiling, paint chipping, and splintering floorboards, the school house is slowly decaying, though with the help and compassion from the students, this barely recognizable structure will once again stand proud.
“It’s a part of our towns history, not everyone has the chance to tackle a project like this so why not?” Drake Schaefer said.