Country School Reunion a success

Patrick Kelly
Brenda Updike from Baggs, Wyoming, looks at a poster showing the history of rural schools in Moffat County. Updike attended Saturday's reunion with her father-in-law Elwin, who went to the Lower Big Gulch School.
Patrick Kelly

Former teachers and students, some who had not seen each other for years, were reunited at the Moffat County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

“This is a Moffat County rural school reunion, and it’s the first that we’ve ever had,” said Mary Lou Allen, a rural school student who helped run the event.

The first Country School Reunion was deemed a great success. A large crowd of former rural school students and teachers gathered at the fairgrounds’ covered picnic area to eat lunch and catch up with old friends.

“I cannot believe the crowd,” Allen said. “It’s awesome.”

The reunion was mostly students from Moffat County, but there were attendees from as far away as Denver and Grand Junction.

Rural schools were one-room buildings where a single teacher taught multiple grades. The class sizes varied from school to school, and it was normal for the older students to help teach the younger ones.

Nina Lawton, 87, was a teacher at the Lower Big Gulch School from 1958-60. Her class included about eight or nine kids, she said.

With so few students, the class had to adapt its school plays to be performed by a smaller cast.

“It was like a big family, the older kids helped the younger kids,” she said, adding many of her former pupils were at the reunion.

Everette Bohrer, 91, started his schooling at Cedar Ridge near Juniper Springs in 1929.

But when he was 14, his father was hospitalized and Bohrer quit school to start working full time.

“I went to working for the sheep men and the cattle men and I worked ‘til I was 85,” he said.

Even though he had to cut his schooling short, Bohrer still had plenty of friends to share memories with Saturday.

“What we’ve got here is fantastic,” he said. “Some of these people I hadn’t seen for 50 years.

According to Allen, Colorado started shutting down rural schools and busing kids into Craig from 1958-60.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.