A visit to a one-room school

In March, I was fortunate to visit Elyria Public School, one of the few remaining one-room schools in the region. One teacher, Deb O’Neal, instructs eight students spanning four grades. At the conclusion of this school year, the school will close due to budgetary constraints.

The students play as a group in a made-up game as one person sits at the top of a slide and tries to catch discs from those below.


I was impressed with the students’ ability to work together throughout the day, helping each other with lessons.


From left, Deb O'Neal assists fourth-graders T.J. Kittle, 10, and Aaron White, 10, with a geography lesson.


The intimate setting seemed to allow for a nurturing social environment in which students of all ages were comfortable asking questions, solving problems and playing together. The students managed their time by finishing work between lessons or reading a book when all was complete.


Sixth-grader Shelby Kittle, 12, reads the novel "Lassie Come Home" between lessons.

Eight students in four grades work on lessons at their desks.


Before lining up for dismissal at the end of the day, O’Neal helped two students take down the flags.


From left, Deb O'Neal helps T.J. Kittle, 10, and Gage Racek, 8, retire the American flag and Nebraska flag at the end of the school day.


To see a photo showcase of images from the school day, click here.

Rebecca Gratz

About Rebecca Gratz

Originally from Ohio and a graduate of Ball State University, I moved to Nebraska to join the World-Herald staff in 2004. As a photojournalist, I'm privileged to meet interesting people, learn new things and travel around the country. Whether I'm walking knee-deep in floodwater, kneeling on the sideline of a Husker football game or flying with the Nebraska Air Guard to Germany, my goal is always to tell the story with photos.
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