Remember When …

A family standing in front of a Genesee County schoolhouse more than 100 years ago. Photo provided

A family standing in front of a Genesee County schoolhouse more than 100 years ago. Photo provided

Wow! What a year the graduates of 2020 have had! I thought this was the coolest year ever to graduate from, I have family members graduating this year, and it’s such a special time. Who would have ever imaged this quarantine would have happened? And put every student around the world, to on-line classes and not be able to walk with their friends to receive their diploma.

The first school in the colonies was in 1635 in Boston and seeing that we needed free education for all Horace Mann in 1796 invented school for all in Massachusetts. By 1918 all children had to go to elementary school.

Education went through many changes through the civils rights movements and other wars and by 2001 there was the “No Child Left behind Act.” Teachers have always been a vital part of American History. Where would we be without the Educators that taught the Lawyers, the Presidents, the Judges and most importantly all the Teachers? Thank you for making America great!

Disasters happen but how do you handle it? What did they do before in history, the reason it is so big is we are 100 years older so, extreme magnitude, always stay calm, during this type of global disaster?



In the spring of 1918- 1919 World War I was going on the people were at their limits in resources, and the Spanish flu broke out, it lasted about 12 months. The world was in a war and people were dying for more than one reason.

Scientist have learned a lot from that historical outbreak 100 years ago. To stop the spread of any disease don’t cough, be together and sneeze on each other to spread germs, so we are doing that now by social distancing.

The schools were closed because people were all needed for the war efforts, which helped in some communities, then people got sick from the flu. The last few wars the USA did not close schools or have as much involvement with them, so when this new pandemic hit it was like we did not see it coming.

So, we have not seen this kind of patriotism or world crisis in a while and we are working together now as Americans more than ever. With the coronavirus, society has better means of keeping us healthy and safe. With the school year being brought to an early end, thankfully we have the Internet so kids can continue learning from home…100 years ago, they didn’t have that option.

We are so proud of our teachers and students for not giving up! So, to all the graduates of 2020, congrats!

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email