Conversation tool for West Carrollton Class of 1973.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Harry Russell Turns 40

Russell Elementary turns 40
West Carrollton school seeks information from alumni to honor namesake
By Lou Grieco
Dayton Daily News
WEST CARROLLTON — For nearly 40 years, Harry Russell was a fixture at West Carrollton schools, where he served as teacher, coach and high school principal.
Then the longtime educatior turned into legend the usual way — by having an elementary school named for him.
"There is a handful of people in our district who are legendary and we pretty much have named a building after all of them," schools spokeswoman Sharon Naragon said.
Harry Russell Elementary School, which opened four years after Russell retired in 1961, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. District officials are planning a May 5 open house, and are looking for more information from former students or faculty.
That could include memories, memorabilia or even information about Russell himself, who died in 1985 at age 90.
School officials have Russell's personnel file and some newspaper clippings, but wish to flesh out the facts to find out more about him, including what motivated him to try a teaching career, Naragon said.
Harry Aston Russell was born in Pennington Gap, Va., on Nov. 28, 1894. There was no public high school in Pennington Gap, so Russell attended and graduated from the Lee Baptist Institute, which was in town.
Russell received his bachelor's degree from Richmond College in 1917. Shortly after he graduated, Russell enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve during World War I.
After the war, he returned to southwest Ohio and began working at the Hamilton Machine Tool Co., then taught math and science in Selma, Plattsburg and Franklin before he came to West Carrollton High School in 1923, where he was a teacher and coach.
Russell received his master's degree from Ohio State University in 1927.
He was appointed principal in 1929, but continued to teach part time for several years, according to district records.
District officials are planning to have an information booth at the open house. Anyone with information to share can call Naragon at 859-5121, Ext. 1133, or Principal Rick Yontz at 859-5121, Ext. 5500.
"We're going to celebrate that it's been 40 years, and we want to celebrate him as well," Naragon said. "He was here for a long time."
Contact Lou Grieco at 225-2057.


  • At January 31, 2005 at 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you realize that WE, those in the class of 73 were the first ones in the door at Harry Russell? I remember 5th and 6th grade there. It was actually kind of sad to leave all our friends at Walter Shade but exciting to go to the new school. I remember walking down Gibbons road to school. No more buses. Another thing I remember is a concert we gave - I remember singing My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. And Mr. Trent the Principal.. And Mrs. Disney.
    What do you remember about Harry Russell?

  • At February 1, 2005 at 5:23 PM, Blogger karen said…

    I remember:
    ...Mrs. Mayo's class putting on the Lincoln's Assination and Robin Groner was his wife and her screaming in class.
    ... all the grasshoppers flying on the playground.
    ... the spelling bee in the gym and missing the word scissors.
    ... in gym playing 1/2 court basketball. My daughter can't believe that one.
    ....someone brought in a cow's eye and we cut it apart
    ....6th grade the rice mosics in Miss Dothitt's(spell?)class
    ....can you tell that gym and art were a hit with me. lol
    ....love to read what you remember!

  • At February 5, 2005 at 7:37 PM, Blogger Rita (Justice) Austera said…

    Wow, Mr. Russell was born in Pennington Gap, Virginia, same as me. I had no idea. Pennington Gap is such a tiny place, most people have never heard of it. It is on the map, though. LOL
    Rita (Justice) Austera

  • At July 7, 2005 at 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am stealing away onto your BLOG because the Class of 1974 seems to have disappeared. I was a 4th grader at Harry Russell when it opened. Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Petry, Mrs. Smith, Miss Doughitt (sp?). Mr. Haggerty for band. Mr. Trent's ability to twirl a basketball on his pointer finger for hours. Getting to eat everyone's broccoli and tapioca at lunch because I loved it. I also remember in 6th grade when West Carrollton went from being a village to becoming a city. I remember trying out for the high school's "Sound of Music." I remember the little store at the corner where we could buy pixie stix after school.

  • At February 15, 2006 at 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well - I found your blog by googling Lee Baptist Institute. My mother's older siblings graduated from there, I think my mother attended until it closed in 1930, not sure if she did, that's what I was looking for.

    Anyhow - I happen to have a little commemorative booklet from the LBI Reunion in 1962 (yes, I was there, but a very little kid!) so I checked thru it for Harry Russell. It says he graduated in the class of 1912-13. He was among the FIVE students in the graduating class. The first graduating class was in 1910-11, so he was in the third class to graduate.

    Here is a little info from the booklet: "Lee Baptist Institute, a Christian Academic School was founded in 1903 and opened in 1904. The dedication and far reaching of a former pastor of the First Baptist Church, Rev. Charles E. Stuart, had much to do with the school's beginning....During this period no public High School existed in the county...."

    I know they had boarding houses for some of the students (I suppose not for those from Pennington); my mother's siblings - being from Jonesville - boarded at the school.

    I've been told that my grandparents (and many others of course) were very supportive of this effort, since all the little schools in the area were just elementary schools. I recognize a lot of the surnames of early students as the 'elite' of Lee Co. (so to speak), but I know my 'dirt poor' grandparents were determined to educate their TEN kids no matter what it took.

    It is somewhat surprising to me that so many of the students were girls -- the classes of 1914-15 and 1915-16 were all girls, the class of 1918-19 all girls but one, indeed overall there were more girls than boys who graduated.

    If you want me to send you a copy of a picture of the original school building, you can email me: pgammell at earthlink dot net.

  • At May 25, 2006 at 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm leaving this message a little while after the original post, but I'm new to this "blog". I have such fond memories of Harry Russell, I just had to reminisce. I moved to West Carrollton right after I started 5th grade. I lived on Glenada Court and walked the short distance to Harry Russell. I had Miss Johnson in 5th grade, & Miss Douthitt in 6th. Julia Douthitt was the best teacher I had all through my school days. I learned so much from her - and we had so much fun. She was really strict, though. Who remembers the collection of "paddles" in her closet. The rice mosaics we made (someone else mentioned that). When it rained and we couldn't go out for recess - we either played games or she read to us. I also loved Harry Russell school. Mr Trent was so nice. I loved the pretty courtyard that our room faced. I loved the woods behind the school. And somone else mentioned the "little store". Great memories - suddenly I don't feel so old!! Or should I??
    Jenny Miller

  • At February 13, 2012 at 5:33 PM, Anonymous Karen Saupe said…

    I have great memories of Harry Russell Elementary - I can still picture the classrooms. I had Mrs. Zink in 2nd grade, Mrs. Cogan in 3rd (that year 3rd graders spent most of the year in a wing of the high school to relieve crowding). Fourth grade was at the new "Valley Hills" school, then back to Russell with Mrs. Mayo for 5th and Mrs. Center for 6th. I remember Mr. Trent, who would sometimes answer a question by reciting a big chunk of the phone book as fast as he could speak. I loved music class with Mrs. Hetzer and didn't care so much for gym with Mr. Ferriell, though I liked him fine. I remember my first visit to the library (Mrs. Strahan was the librarian) - I decided I would read ALL the books someday, and I was sure it was possible. (Maybe I will....) I remember feeding carrots to Thumper the Rabbit through the courtyard window after lunch, and I remember Field Day, when the girls were allowed to wear pants instead of skirts.
    My only bad memory, really, is of wandering too far at recess with a couple of friends - we found an open manhole and started to climb down into it when someone spotted us and tattled. I remember standing in the hallway outside the office, awaiting my fate. (I don't remember the punishment, so it must not have been terrible.)


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