Annie R Morgan Elementary
In 1919, a small school was built on the sight now known as Annie R Morgan Elementary School, presently located at 964 St Clair Street. The school was then called the Seaboard Shop School. There were four rooms, which now house the principal's office, the media center, the teacher's lounge, and the classroom adjacent to the principal's office and the auditorium. Grades 1-8 were in attendance.
The first principal was Miss Maida Lipscomb. On May 8, 1917, Miss Lipscomb called a meeting to order; out of this meeting the Mothers' Club was formed. Temporary officers were elected: Mrs. Rutan, Chairman; Mrs. Auberry, Secretary. A committee was appointed to draw up the by-laws and a constitution.
On May 10, 1917, Miss Annie R Morgan was appointed to fill Miss Lipscomb's place.
Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and soup were canned during the summer months to feed needy children; this project was sponsored by the Mothers' Club.
Being a farming community with a big heart, the surplus vegetables and fruit were donated and canned. Those in need were never in need very long as far as food and clothing were concerned.
The first Halloween Carnival was held in October, 1917. Home-made ice cream, cakes, lemonade, peanut, popcorn, and sandwiches were sold to buy necessary articles for the school. This tradition has continued since that date.
On October 8, 1926, The Woodstock Mothers' became the Woodstock Parent-Teacher Association.
As the neighborhood developed, the school needed more classrooms. The rooms were added gradually on each side of the building, with the auditorium in the middle.
As sewage lines became available, the restrooms were built on each side of the auditorium; these restrooms replaced the outdoor plumbing facilities.
Around this time, Woodstock School, formerly Seaboard Shop School, became a regular elementary school, accommodating Grades 1-6. Grades 7-9 were transported to the nearest junior high, John Gorrie, and grades 10-12 were transported to Robert E Lee Senior High School.
Mrs. Ruby S. Johnson came to Woodstock School in 1935 as a cadet teacher. She taught Grade 5 for nine years; in 1945, she became the principal when Miss Morgan retired. The school's name was changed from Woodstock School to Annie R Morgan Elementary School #21.
Mrs. Johnson recalls when she came to the school, there was no cafeteria; the children either brought their lunches or they could buy soup and sandwiches across the street at Mrs. McDaniel's store. A cafeteria was later built; the food was prepared at John Gorrie Junior High School and transported by truck to the cafeteria. The cafeteria building soon became too small; a portable building was brought in from Dinsmore to accommodate the growth.
A Dad's Club was organized to help buy the school's first movie projector. Their main money making projects were the Spring Festival, fish and spaghetti suppers, and suppers sponsored with the PTA. The largest project was the Halloween Carnival. With the help of these two organizations, the school had the latest equipment and materials. When a need arose, a project was soon in the planning.
Portables were added to be used as temporary classrooms; they are still a very permanent part of the school.
Each year the curriculum was upgraded; a phonetic approach to reading was introduced in 1952.
The school continued to grow. Halls, the auditorium and its stage, a store building across the street, and the rooms in the church next door were used for classrooms. The school was on double sessions for many years. Reynolds Lane Elementary School was built to relieve the double sessions at Annie R Morgan. A few years later, Biltmore Elementary School was built to relieve Reynolds Lane and Annie R Morgan Elementary Schools.
The PTA was changed to the Parent Teacher Organization in 1959. The Dad's Club was disbanded. Mrs. Frances Austin was the PTO's first president. Parents of the organizations worked endlessly to keep their school well equipped. Their efforts are too numerous to record. Their one big project, along with the student participation, was to air-condition the entire school.
Nothing was too big for this community. It was like one big happy family working together. Mothers, fathers, pupils, teachers, the principal, and even those in the neighborhood who had no children attending the school, rolled up their sleeves to work and improve the school and the neighborhood.
In cooperation with the City of Jacksonville, these people helped bring a branch of the public library system to the Woodstock area.
In 1969, a kindergarten class was added. Annie R Morgan was paired with West Jacksonville School, making this school serve Grades K-4. In 1970, the school also became a community school, thus serving a larger number of children and adults.
Mrs. Pansy Martin came to Annie R Morgan in 1952 as secretary; she served faithfully and efficiently for nineteen years.
Mrs. Ruby Johnson retired in June of 1971. Mrs. Mildred Marshall became principal, coming to this school from Arlington Heights Elementary where she served as curriculum assistant. After serving three years, Mrs. Marshall assumed the principalship of Holiday Hill Elementary.
In 1974, Dr. Jon Thompson became principal, serving three years; he then assumed the principalship of Seabreeze Elementary School at Jacksonville Beach. During his third year as principal, Grade 5 returned to Annie R Morgan.
Dr. John Grieder assumed the duties as principal in 1976.
Annie R Morgan has the reputation of being an excellent school where children have a happy environment in which to learn. The faculty is dedicated in their efforts to use all the professional knowledge, current methods and materials at their disposal to assist in the development of pupil's minds and bodies. The faculty feels that all facets of a child's growth are of equal importance. They strive for success in molding both minds and character in such a way that enables children to grow into useful, desirable, and responsible citizens.
Mrs. Ruby S. Johnson
Annie R Morgan Elementary School