Five generations pass into and out of Ninety-One School
Sheila Daniels's grandmother moved to the Canby area when she was 9-years old. She spent her Canby elementary and high school years at the Green Castle, from fourth through twelfth grade. When it first opened it was located near Knight School, but it burned down. She graduated in 1927, the school's first graduating class. Daniels's mother and father both graduated from Canby High in 1949, although they had gone to different elementary schools.
Her mother started at Needy School, basically Ninety-One School's predecessor. That was after all the area's one-room schools combined in 1946-47. These included Needy, Barlow, Whiskey Hill, Meridian, Oak Lawn and later Eliot Prairie. In 1991-92, Needy later was gobbled into Canby District 86 and became Ninety-One School.
Sheila Daniels, her brother Gary Peterson and her sister Karen Peterson all graduated from eighth grade at 91 School and went on to Canby High. Gary Peterson graduated in 1966 from Ninety-One, Daniels in 1967 and Karen in 1968. After graduating from Canby High, Daniels went on to Western Oregon University where she received a degree in elementary education.
Through the years, the generations from her family continue to go to the school. Both of her daughters attended and one had Daniels for a teacher. This year Daniels's grandson started kindergarten at, of course, Ninety-One School.
Her brother Gary also got a degree in education and went on to teach, but later became an administrator and has worked throughout Oregon districts, while sister Karen became a nurse and now teaches nursing.
Daniels, however got lucky and began teaching second grade at Ninety-One.
"I always knew I wanted to teach and I always knew I'd be a teacher. After I'd graduated [from college] there were two openings for second grade teachers at the school and I got one. Most of the time I taught second and third combined. But during my teaching career, I've taught all the grades from kindergarten through grade 8 except for first and sixth grades. After I retired I became a substitute," Daniels told the Herald.
She noted a number of differences between when she was going to school and during her career as a teacher. One is that back in the day there was no kindergarten so no one had that extra year of school. Today's children now don't just attend kindergarten but most now attend pre-kindergarten to get them ready to go to school.
"There's been so many changes between the time I started school and now," Daniels said. "When I was at the school, we all [students and teachers] ate hot lunch, and it was free. Everyone ate free hot lunch, even the teachers. But we all got the same thing, there was no such thing as choices. Today's lunches aren't free and there are plenty of choices, like salads, juices, white or chocolate milk, all different choices."
Another change has been the size of the school. In her fifth grade class, the school added classrooms.
"When I was in sixth grade they added the cafeteria and a classroom. That cafeteria now is part of the library and classrooms," Daniels said. "They removed walls and steps for 1 ½ classrooms and the cafeteria. In the 1970s they added another wing as well as a classroom and bathrooms. Then in 1978, they added a second gym and more classrooms."
All the construction is needed, she added because the school has almost reached its capacity limit with 480 to 500 students making up the eight grades.
"I was still going to school there, I remember when they cut down the big fir trees to build the cafeteria when I was in sixth grade. It was so sad," Daniels said.
Yet another change was in the classrooms. When Daniels was in school there were no phones or intercoms for news or communication with the office. There was a buzzer.
"I remember when President Kennedy was assassinated. The buzzer went off and the teacher left the classroom to find out why she was buzzed. When she walked back into the classroom, she was crying and she told us the President had been shot and killed," Daniels said.
There were even more changes when Ninety-One School became part of the Canby School District. First of all, the school board grew from five to seven members. Ninety-One board members joined and the superintendent went into the district office. The cooks and bus drivers became unified.
"One of my former students also became a teacher," said Daniels. "We taught together as a team for a second and third grade class. We were teaching the students multiplication. The teacher said, 'Mrs. Daniels was my teacher. She taught me multiplication when she was my teacher.' One of the kids looked up and said, 'How could she be your teacher, you're both the same age,'" Daniels giggled.
The other teacher was about age 35, she said.
Throughout her tenure, Daniels claims she loved all her students, even the ones that acted up.
"I love them all," she said. "It's wonderful to think back and know all of them were special."
She even likes it when kids say things like, "I know you, you went to school with my grandpa and you were my dad's teacher." She says it doesn't make her feel old, it just makes her happy.
But Daniels reminds people that the more things change the more they stay the same. The original principal of Whiskey Hill School was a man named Lonny Yoder. His son, Harold Yoder, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren all have been through Ninety-One School.
"I went to school with several of Harold's children. One of Lonny's great grandchildren was in my first second grade class at 91 School and I later had her three sons in my class," said Daniels.
Daniels retired in 2017. The school gave her a nice gift, but her colleagues wanted to give her and the school something that would recall her long gift to the school.
They came up with the Sheila Daniels Legacy award. It's given to the student who has been in the school since kindergarten and has been a good student.
It's been given three times as a plaque in recognition at the graduation ceremony.
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