Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

Who was Olga Gauger?

March 31, 2005

Miss Olga Gauger was the principal of Lansing Grade School for 28 years and also taught the seventh- and eighth-grade classes. She was born in 1890 and graduated from Nine Mile Grade School and Lansing High School in 1910. She attended Pittsburg State College, St. Mary College, Kansas City College and the Kansas City Art Institute. She taught in rural grade schools for 11 years before teaching in Lansing from 1922 to 1950. Classes were held in the Woodman Hall and churches around town while the new school was being built.

Miss Gauger started a lot of activities when I was in school. One I did not appreciate at the time was the Maypole Dance. The Maypole was erected on the prison property where the Historical Museum is now. It was very colorful, and the couples would dance around the pole until the ribbons had wrapped all the way down the pole. My problem was having to dance and bow to those girls.

When I was in the seventh grade, I asked Miss Gauger to help me with a drawing I was doing of a collie. At the time, I had the belief that teachers automatically knew everything and was amazed at the help she gave me. It wasn't until years later that I found out that she had been an art student herself. She also helped me find information that I needed for a 4-H report. She helped all her students in a very special way. She was strict and fair, and we all had a healthy respect for her.

Another thing she did was to pick eighth-grade boys to be crosswalk guards for kids coming to and from school. I was picked to do this part of the time. That boosted my self-esteem before I knew what self-esteem was. There was a stop sign that we rolled out to the middle of the street and the guard walked across with the students holding another sign in the air. I can't imagine anything like that happening today. That was a state program, and we got to wear a wide white belt around our waist with a diagonal belt over one shoulder. Gov. Payne Ratner recognized us with certificates for doing this.

Miss Gauger's home was at the west end of what is now Kay Street and on the property of the proposed K-5 Elementary School. She would be so proud of the possibility of a new school in her back yard.

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