Georgia Southern University alumna earns national medal for preservation of one-room school in Bulloch County
Schools and historic preservation are primary interests of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, so it is entirely fitting that Jan Brown Anderson, an alumna of Georgia Southern University’s College of Education, was recently presented with the NSDAR’s National Historic Preservation Medal. Anderson received the medal for her preservation of Oak Grove School, one of Georgia’s few remaining one-room schools.
Anderson, a member of the Archibald Bulloch Chapter, NSDAR, accepted the award from State Regent Laura Reid at the convention of the Georgia State Society, NSDAR, held March 27-29 in Athens.
‘We were notified of Jan’s award by Terry Price Arnold, national vice president of historic preservation, American Heritage Committee, NSDAR,” said Pat Long, Regent of the Archibald Bulloch Chapter. ‘This is an exceptional honor. I am so proud that Jan is a member of DAR, and that since the opening and dedication of the school, she has involved the Archibald Bulloch Chapter in the project.” Long serves on the advisory board for Oak Grove School.
In her letter, Arnold wrote ‘the volunteer efforts of Mrs. Anderson in locating, acquiring, and restoring the school; collecting oral histories of former students of the school; and preserving all for the use and education of youth speak of her indelible contribution in historic preservation and to the field of education.” The State Regent asked that the medal be presented at the state convention’s School Luncheon, an event that focuses on the NSDAR’s involvement with schools and education.
‘In presenting the award, the State Regent gave a synopsis of the school renovation project and a description of Oak Grove School, noting how few of these schools have been preserved,” said Long.
To commemorate Georgia Southern University’s Centennial, Anderson searched for and found the one-room Oak Grove School and brought it to Bulloch County. Working with experts in history, education, and construction, Anderson has overseen the return of the school to its original condition. She regularly conducts tours and programs for teachers and for student groups, sharing her steadily increasing knowledge of what teaching and learning was like in the days of the one-room school.
Examination of the school shows that the lumber used to build it is hand-hewn. A 1916 survey of Georgia schools shows the school had shutters, not windows, so Anderson had the glass windows removed. She has purchased a flag, slates, marbles, lunch buckets, and other historical items to furnish the room.
‘Georgia Southern has a 100-year history of teacher preparation, so it was a good thing to do for last year’s Centennial celebration,” said Anderson. ‘Now, as I work with Georgia Southern’s College of Education faculty to let people know about the one-room school, I am beginning to understand how well it represents the seamless education teachers look for today.”
The College of Education has placed information about Oak Grove School at http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/oneroomschool/. The Web site includes the building’s history, documentation, and a series of oral history videos. For teachers planning a field trip to the school, the site includes lesson plans and information on how the Oak Grove School program meets Georgia Performance Standards.
‘I am thrilled that Jan Anderson has been recognized nationally for her work on Oak Grove School, ‘said Cindi Chance, Dean of the College of Education. ‘She took on a major project, and she has seen it through in a way that benefits regional students and teachers, the College of Education’s pre-service teachers, our faculty, and members of the community. I am very proud to say that she is an alumna of Georgia Southern University’s College of Education.”