Northwestern Normal School...
[written back when Northwestern Normal School had it's beginnings as the infamous "Castle On the Hill" of the Prairies.] --
Northwestern Normal School, of Alva, was the second normal to be established in Oklahoma. The Law establishing it was enacted by the legislative assembly of 1897, and the purpose of its founding was for the instruction of persons in the art of teaching and in all the various branches pertaining to the public schools of Oklahoma Territory.
The sanitary history of the school and the city has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that no more healthful place can be found than Alva and its immediate surroundings. The purest of spring water is furnished the school and city, which largely assists in maintaining a high degree of healthfulness.
The city has a population of about 3,500 people, made up of people from all parts of the Union. Many fine homes have been built during the past year, and there is an effort on the part of all residents to make Alva a beautiful and refined town, one that by its outward appearance would indicate culture and refinement to the most casual observer upon first visitation. The school is the pride of all citizens, and to it they give most loyal support.
During the past year many permanent improvements have been made which add largely to the better equipment of the building. The cost of these improvements amount to $8,515.51. Besides these improvements, $2,800 of past indebtedness has been cancelled. The seventh legislative assembly appropriated $2,200 and the literary societies paid the balance. The commercial department that was organized one year ago, and thoroughly equipped with all modern conveniences, has proven to be one of the popular departments, having enrolled between 40 and 50 pupils during the past year. A biological workshop with all modern tools and museum of more than 100 specimens, in a fine cabinet, have been a part of the improvements along scientific lines. New steel cases for the library and about $1,200 worth of books have been added to this part of the institution. The interior of the building has been much improved by the addition of an electric light system throughout.
The seventh legislative assembly made it mandatory upon the normal schools of Oklahoma Territory to establish kindergarten departments within one year after the passage of the bill. The Northwestern Normal School has established such a department to carry out the provisions of the act.
The course of study has been much extended and improved and is now equal to the best normal school in the West.
One of the contemplated improvements for the coming year is to enlarge the seating capacity of the assembly hall. The hall is now seated with desks, and it is the purpose to have the hall seated with 600 opera chairs, thus improving the seating accommodations.
There are now six courses maintained in the institution - English-scientific, Latin, modern language, commercial, kindergarten, and music, Graduates of the first three courses receive diplomas, which are equal to five-year certificates, and may be renewed at the end of each five years by the Territorial superintendent.
Teachers of Oklahoma holding first grade certificates are admitted to the freshman year of the normal department without examination. Students from accredited high schools, other normal schools, university, agriculture college, and the preparatory university are admitted to the normal department without examination and are given credits commensurate with the progress made in the other schools. Owing to the very satisfactory work done in all the departments during the past year, but little change was made in the membership of the faculty for the coming year.
The Northwestern Normal School is taking a very creditable rank with the very best institutions in the Territory. With its magnificent building, thoroughly equipped, and with a faculty of 23 able and experienced teachers, and a student body of six or seven hundred pupils, this institution is bound to have a very excellent influence on Oklahoma and her institutions.
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