Cape’s ‘Laboratory School’

SEMO's old College High building 05-28-2015I really hadn’t gone on the SEMO campus to shoot what used to be called College High or Campus High, the building that housed the teacher’s college’s laboratory school. (Erin Ragan wrote a little about the history of the school in 2012.)

I was there to steal a magnolia blossom off the tree on the left.

Brother Mark and I took Mother out for a drive last weekend. While cruising around, I said, “Let’s see if we can snag a magnolia blossom for your room.” The tree where I usually get the blooms didn’t have any, so Mark suggested there might be one on the SEMO campus.

Yes, indeed, there was one

I put my four-way flashers on, parked in a no-parking zone and scampered over with my trusty Buck knife in hand to snip off a blossom the size of Mother’s head. Just as I was getting back to the van, flower in hand, I heard a car coming. It was a university police car. I was rehearsing my excuse when the car passed without even slowing down.

Found the magic key

A few days later, after the bloom turned a beautiful shade of brown that I actually liked better than the white, I decided to go back to the scene of the crime to get her a second one. Same no-parking zone, same four-way flashers. This time, though, I saw a guy in a university truck slow down and give me the eye.

I stepped out of the car with my camera in hand and made a big show of taking a photo. The guy sped up and passed on by.

I used to say that you could go anywhere if you carried a clipboard and a tape measure or a ladder. I’m adding camera to the list.

17 Replies to “Cape’s ‘Laboratory School’”

  1. Yes, yes…been waiting for you to write about my elementary school. There wee those of us that didn’t go to Cape public schools. I loved my childhood years there. I remember one of the best parts was playing on the beautiful terraces to the side of Academic Hall…that was our recess play ground. The magnolia tree of which you speak was planted by us, and I was honored to read the Kilmer’s poem, ‘Trees’ at the planting ceremony. There was also a small animal…farm, zoo, area…to the rear of the school. But I went on to Cape Central Jr. High and High School. My brother on the other hand graduated from Campus High school. And my mother was 1st grade Supervisor at there until her retirement at 65. Hope you hear from others that attended.

  2. Going to clarify…as the article written by Erin Ragan deals more with the High School. I attended from fourth grade through sixth grade, and classes were always very small and each hour/subject was taught by a different college student. student names coming to mind are Himmelberger, Campbell, Roper, Ewan, Gibson, Rust and Hirsch. Sure hope to hear from some of them.

  3. I was the last student teacher at University High School back in 1973, teaching “World of Constrction” and “World of Manufacturing”, right before the high school was disbanded.

  4. I went to “Campus School” from kindergarten through 6th grade. They offered two years of kindergarten 4-year old kindergarten and 5 year kindergarten. Miss Gross was out kindergarten teacher. Having one class of each grade was great- we were with the same kids every year. Mostly professor’s kids, kids living outside the Cape public school area, and neighbors near the school. I lived half a block away on Alta Vista Drive. We had student teachers constantly and had a great experience!

  5. When we did our student teaching in 1963, we all hoped we would be assigned to the lab school, but very few did. Probably just as well, judging from the stories I heard… I know I’ll offend some of you who went there, but we heard that the lab school students were a trifle ornery! I guess it was understandable, as they saw so MANY student teachers. The rest of us had to carpool out to the “boondocks,” where the students were delighted to have us!
    Those early student teaching experiences could “make or break” a young teacher. Back then, we got finished with all our classes and then were tossed out to see if we could handle it on our own. I loved it! It was a special time.
    Your thieving ways will get you in trouble one day, Ken Steinhoff–but you’re right about the camera! It does open doors, doesn’t it??

  6. i attended the Campus School from Kindergarten (4 and 5 year kindergarten!) through sixth grade. It was called “The Training School” back in those days since all the SEMO student teachers got their teaching experience there. I loved it there. I walked to school each day. There was wonderful playground in the back which did include farm animals we helped feed. The classes were small and we had different teachers each semester. Great experience!

  7. The Lab school is what brought the Duff family to Cape in 1957. Dad was here recruiting teachers for Elvins Elemenary School (now a part of Park Hills). Dr. Scully convinced him to move to Cape and take the Eighth Grade Supervisory position. Andy Scully was one of dad’s most memorable students. My youngest brother, Trent, attended Campus School.

  8. Ellen Bray Busch, Karen Newell Mercer and I were the only 3 girls in our class at Training School for the first few years. Oh do remember playing chase around the side of the school. Our Scout troop planting daffodils on the grounds. Going over to Academic for swimming class and sometimes to college cafeteria for lunch though most of the time we took our lunch. Dr Burns was the supervisor over 1st n 2nd grade. Ms Cleaver came to teach us Spanish- an experiment. Oh some wonderful and fun memories!

  9. I went to the training school from 1st grade thru 8th and then on to Central. I lived very close by and walked to and from each day. Then when I did my student teaching I was assigned to kindergarten under Mrs. Adams at the training school. After I finished my student teaching I went back and helped Mrs. Adams til I graduated and got a teaching position.

  10. The Training School’s impact on Cape was indeed broad when Miss Gross’ kindergarten graduates who then went to public elementaries are considered. I thought that in one of the many Rush Limbaugh exposes here a photo of his 5 year old class was included. Perhaps that was in the Lynch SEMISSOURIAN blog where another photo including Naeter-Sheets-Rueseler-Lamkin-Shoss with Miss Gross is found.

    One piece that refers to the quality of Training School education is located at

    Of the, no doubt, many lessons Miss Gross tried to teach, one is particularly memorable. One day she gathered the class and put a nail in a glass of Coca-Cola which she then put into the refrigerator. The next day when she opened the icebox in our view, the nail was gone. This she said was what would happen to our teeth if we drank lots of soda. Sixty years later several teeth or gone, but I never drank a Coke (or Pepsi).

    I would be negligent not to mention the tree house that was the centerpiece of the Kindergarten playground and the large plywood character cut-outs that graced the Home of the Birds.

  11. Following in the footsteps of a year-older brother, I also attended the Training School for two years of kindergarten (a great German word, by the way) and have many memories. That in itself is miraculous as I cannot recall what I had for breakfast today. In any event, I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned the Home of the Birds, which was a ‘forest’ in a glade below the playground. It seemed then as an enormous jungle. I also recall, somewhat vividly, Miss Gross leading a morning walk south on Pacific Street with the entire class of 4-year-olds. Cape had experienced days of heavy rains and the large, low area at the corner of Pacific and Normal was filled with several feet of water. It looked inviting to me and somehow it seemed a fine idea to jump in. So I did. It might have been the last day of Miss Gross’ life–or mine–as my hijinks nearly caused her heart failure, but I swam out. Don’t know to this day why I thought that was wise. Wonder of wonders, Miss Gross did not insist on my expulsion–till after 5-year-old kindergarten. I made lifetime friends at the school, all whose names are in the post by jtl and remain close to many today. The Training School remains a fond memory.

  12. Grades 6–12 after coming out of Juden #1 when it a one room structure. The Training School or College High as I knew it was a wonderful experience. I’ll never forget the English classes that required a written composition one week and a short oral presentation the following. Great preparation for my college rhetoric that mandated a B in the second semester or take remedial classes until a B was achieved. The administrators Strunk and Keller plus the academic supervisors like Jones and Owenby were great.

  13. I graduated from college high in 1971. Only went there my senior year and wish I had attended all the way thru. Great school!

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