OKLAHOMA CITY – Contractors recently discovered something amazing hidden behind the walls of a local high school.
Emerson High School is undergoing renovations as part of the MAPS for Kids plan, according to officials with Oklahoma City Public Schools.
During those renovations, contractors were removing green chalkboards from the walls and discovered something incredible.
Several blackboards with writings and student drawings from 1917 were hidden behind the walls.
The work assignments of teachers from nearly 100 years ago are still intact.
School officials say the images were found in four classrooms.
When educators first saw the old lessons underneath their walls, they could not believe their eyes.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and then I got goosebumps and then I had tears in my eyes,” Principal Sherry Kishore said.
“Wow. How did it stay up there?” Sherry Read, a teacher at the school, asked.
Written on one of the boards is a once-said pledge that goes “I give my head, my heart, and my life to my God, and one nation, indivisible, with justice for all.”
There are also drawings of Thanksgiving and a little girl blowing bubbles.
“The time that teachers must have spent preparing for their lessons is amazing to me,” Kishore said.
“We can read about it all we want to, but this is like being able to touch history in the past,” Read said.
The discovery has taught teachers at Emerson that teaching is different, but also the same.
“They taught the pilgrims and it was pilgrim stuff in every single room, and it’s so cool that they were doing cross curriculum teaching back in 1917 and now we’re trying to do it again,” Cinthea Comer, an English teacher, said.
Another remarkable finding, old report cards and newspaper clippings found stuck inside the walls.
“See women’s $2.56 and $3 shoes,” Comer read from one of the newspaper clippings.
No one may ever know who the papers belonged to or who drew the pictures on the board, but one thing is clear.
The people who used to fill the classrooms understood the importance of the past just as teachers do now.
“I feel very blessed” Kishore said. “To be able to see what’s here and what’s been here all along, hiding behind a board. It just makes you feel more of a part of history.”
The Oklahoma City Public School District is now working with MAPS for Kids Trust so they can find a way to preserve the chalk work of the teachers that has been captured in time.
School officials are also looking for the family of a man named R.J. Scott. He was a custodian and his name was written on a couple of the boards.
More history could be uncovered soon when they start work on the third floor.