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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/515

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THE STORY OF A SCHOOL.

direction of Prof. Staler, of Harvard. In years long gone by Prof. Cheney had been a pupil of mine; later we had worked together, so that I knew well his peculiar worth and fitness for the place.

Next came Prof. and Mrs. Straight, representatives of the most advanced thought of the time in educational philosophy. They brought original and fruitful contribution to the work now in progress, and henceforth were to me as my right and left hand. At the close of his stay in Missouri, Prof. Straight was called to the charge of a department in the Oswego Normal School. Later he went with Colonel Parker to the Cook County Normal School, Illinois. He gave all the energy of an intense nature to his profession, but died in middle life, his mind a storehouse of educational material, ripe for use. Mrs. Straight's refined intelligence and professional skill found equally ready appreciation, and she took a high position in each of these normal schools. Since her husband's death, she has been called to a responsible position in one of the state schools of Japan. The remaining members of the faculty were chosen for their fitness in special directions. The plans of each had their recognized place in a co-ordinate work. One of the chief defects in colleges and academies to-day is this lack of co-ordination. Without it the scientific method in its integrity is impossible, and instruction proceeds as though each science were independent. Time and strength are laboriously frittered away, with the result of chronic discouragement on the part of both professor and students.

"I declare," said one of our most observant pupils, as he came out from recitation one day, "the teaching in all the classes is somehow alike! It makes no difference whether we are in natural science, mathematics, or language, we are going the same road, and each lesson throws a new light upon all the others."

When the summer school at Penikese was organized, we made prompt application for a share in the rare opportunities offered. Only fifty students could be accommodated. Three of our teachers received the appointment, and accompanied me across Buzzard's Bay on that eventful summer morning in 1873. Agassiz "the master" was there, his face hopeful and inspiring. The last and noblest experiment of his life was about to be tried, and everything promised success. The promise was fulfilled. The many summer schools of science, springing up all over the land, are the direct offspring of Agassiz's realized dream; and the increasing recognition of the fundamental value of science by numerous prominent schools is also largely a result of his Penikese experiment. Our teachers again, the second summer, made haste to profit by the advantages of the Penikese school, and returned to their work in Missouri with added skill and devotion.

Our pupils represented every class of society. We opened