Alumni, teacher hold class
120th gathering of Greene School students includes former instructor May Raymond
GREENE — Former Greene School students spent time with one another and their fifth-grade teacher at the Greene Alumni Association’s 120th gathering recently at Mecca Community Church.
The event for many years took place at the Greene School off state Route 87, known later as Maplewood North Elementary in the 1960s, before it was demolished in 2019.
Several graduates had May Raymond as their fifth-grade teacher.
“It is wonderful to get to see so many of my students. I have such good memories of my time teaching there,” Raymond, 86, of Kinsman said.
Raymond said she taught fifth grade at Maplewood North for three years and also was a substitute teacher at the school during the 1960s. In addition to teaching in Pymatuning Valley schools before coming to Maplewood, she had 10 years total working as a teacher before she and her husband, Glenn, raised their family in Kinsman.
She said her husband was from Greene.
Barbara Austin Switzer of Johnston, who was in Raymond’s class in 1964-65, brought her class pictures with all her classmates.
“I had many wonderful teachers at the school. We all loved Mrs. Raymond,” she said.
Patti Peterson said she also remembers her time in Raymond’s class.
“I am always excited to get to see so many from my class here. There are a few that I have not seen in 50 years. Mrs. Raymond — she was great,” Peterson said.
Peterson said three generations in her family attended the Greene School and some had the same teacher. Alma Christy taught school for many years and had Peterson, her sister and their father.
Susan Kintz, alumni secretary, said while the alumni event was canceled in 2020, a smaller gathering occurred last fall, which was a combination of the 118th and 119th years.
Kintz said the alumni banquet is open to anyone who graduated from the Greene School, which once housed all grades through high school. It became an elementary school after the older students moved to Maplewood High School in the 1960s.
Kintz said the banquet includes special recognitions, a meal and socializing. She said the 50-year-class and the 25-year class members are honored each year and guests include the Maplewood High School graduates from the present year.
Kintz has helped at the event since the late 1960s.
“I would help the cooks and help serve the dinners. When the Greene School was torn down we had to find a new place to hold this,” she said.
Kintz said it was a shock to many when the old school was closed and leveled. The school was the main location for the community’s annual Old Home Day Labor Day celebration that included a parade and a frog-jumping contest.
The event has since been held at the Nazarene Church, the Masonic Lodge and the Mecca Community Church.
The two-story school was closed in 2017 following declining enrollment in the Maplewood school district. The oldest section of the school was built in the 1920s and the newest section in 2001. Students attended the building for more than 70 years.
Betty Geiwitz of Greene said she has lived in the township for 72 years and has gotten to know many people. She said many alumni attended the Greene School through 12th grade, but she started at the school and then finished her junior and senior years at Maplewood High School.
“I love seeing these folks. They are good people. When someone moves away we send to them an invite to attend the alumni event. We invite them back to be with us. There are so many people we don’t get to see for a long time,” Geiwitz said.
Geiwitz said she has had a rough few years, including COVID-19 and an auto accident that killed a family member.
She said she speaks with people and hears what they have faced in recent years.
“This event brings people out and back into the group. They have not seen each other for so long and appreciate being able to come here and celebrate. You see the people smiling when they see each other,” Geiwitz said.
She said the former Greene School property is owned by the Greene Township Fire Department, which plans to construct a fire station there in the future.