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More Historic Chalkboards Found At Emerson High School in Oklahoma City

Construction workers at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City found more 100-year-old chalkboard drawings last month, as they continued to renovate the old school.

The principal, Sherry Kishore, says these aren’t as pretty as the ones that were found about six months ago, but says they’re still historical treasures.

“I love it,” Kishore said. “Its just a glimpse in to people that were in this building before, and the way they taught. And basically they’re the same concepts, we just teach them differently.”

The new drawings, found on the third floor, include an old calendar, a sentence being diagrammed, and what appears to be a map of Oklahoma broken up in to territories.  They are dated Dec. 10, 1917.

The first set of drawings were found in the summer, as construction crews renovated the second floor. News outlets from around the country picked up the story.

Principal Kishore says she had people call her from Harvard and other schools on the east coast, telling her that these had to be preserved.

Some of the drawings found over the summer have been covered in a plexiglass so that they are preserved, but also visible. Others have been concealed by sealed wood.

Chief Financial Officer, Scott Randall, said they had to cover some of them up to maintain space for teaching. 

Math teacher, Sherry Read, said she was sad when they covered up the pictures in her room.

“I miss my girls,” she said.

Years ago, someone had drawn a picture of a girl blowing bubbles and another of a girl with a turkey in what is now Read's classroom. The pictures were drawn right before Thanksgiving in 1917.

She says as they find the new drawings they try to figure out what the teacher was saying or doing.

“It’s almost been like Egyptian hieroglyphics,” she said. “You know, we found a bunch of names on the board, and were trying to guess whether these kids were good or bad.”

The principal, Sherry Kishore, doesn’t think there are any more pictures to be found, becuase most of the old walls have been torn down.

She says this discovery has been the highlight of her career. 

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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