by Roland Moskal
From kindergarten through the 8th grade, I attended PS 230 which was just across the street from my house and still is; in fact, as I sit and look out my living room window, I can see right into my old kindergarten classroom.
Going to Canton in he early to mid-50s was a terrific time in my life. I loved school from the start and looking back on it now, I can see I was fortunate to have had such a good start up the educational ladder. I learned from my mother that I had some of the same teachers she had, which meant no room to complain, if you know what I mean.
Briefly, I remember we had nap time in kindergarten and we had to bring in our own rug to sleep on, on the floor. Fast-forward to third grade when we were studying the colonial period and make our own candles plus my first real school field trip down to St. Mary’s, Maryland, to see a colonial home and actors depicting colonial life.
During the fourth and fifth grades, we studied our government and the expansion of the U.S. and I remember I had a teacher who lived in Alaska just at the time it was admitted into the Union.
It was also a time for air raid drills when we all went downstairs to the basement floor and put our heads between our legs, plus I remember lining up to eat the small sugar cube that would prevent us from getting polio…wow.
Lunch time was, like most kids, my favorite time of the day. Even though my mother made my lunch, there was one dat both my brother and I insisted we be allowed to buy our lunch which was Thursday because it was barbecue on real plates with real forks and knives. And I can never forget the orange dreamsicle as a dessert or buying a 3-cent bag of Utz potato chips in a paper bag.
In the summertime the school was open with free public showers on the Hudson Street side for boys, and the Fair Avenue side for girls. The same showers that were used for the junior high gym class were utilized for the public. My aunt would make me go over if I came home filthy from playing, since she did not want me stinking up the house. It was truly a community school, way ahead of the curve.
In time, I made it to seventh grade, or junior high, and my circle of friends grew outside Canton, especially my newfound Greek cohorts who taught me all the Greek curse words which I used later in life. I soon discovered that there were a lot of smart kids out there, which meant academic competition.
Looking back, we did not need a charter school, just tight, homogenous class scheduling that put us on the right track to success through academically challenging kids, along with parental support.