HISTORY / The Story of the Building
After buying a property that is more than 100 years old, my interest in the house’s past naturally arose. Fortunately, I got my hands on a compilation prepared by folk schoolteacher Tuulikki Leinonen (later Palomäki) for the 50th anniversary of the Kuorasjärvi folk school on All Saints’ Day 1956. She had used the school’s board of directors’ records as a source. Here is a summary of Leinonen’s presentation.
The Kuoraspiiri school board was established on 30 April 1906. In the beginning, the school did not have its own building, but it operated at Rissa and Ikola. In its third meeting, the board brought up the matter of choosing a teacher. The position was announced to be applied for by “Uusi Suometar” with the following announcement: “The board of the senior national school of Alavus’ Sydänmaa Kuoraspiiri hereby declares the position of teacher to be applied for before July 20th. The position, which must be taken up on August 1, will be followed by the usual, probably granted state aid of 800 FIM, 200 FIM from the municipality, 40 FIM pasture rent, 25 FIM loan money, half of the enrollment fee and a free apartment and heat in the school’s rented mansion.” Teacher Matti Kankaanpää was chosen for this position.
In order to get a school building, the board established a building committee. Special auctions were used to acquire, for example, cobblestones and building logs. The plot was allocated and on-site inspectors from the municipality visited. In the contract auction, Tuomas Saariaho and Elias Kolisto were given the task of building the school. After the board inspected the building, it was handed over to the school on 19 September 1908.
Teacher Kankaanpää brought up the issue of school soup (lunch) in 1915 at an event where about 200 villagers were gathered by asking: “Is school soup considered necessary?” The answer had come as if from one mouth: “It’s not needed. Shouldn’t the one who educates their kids do it”.
The school kitchen was built at the end of the 1940’s.
The school’s boards met diligently, and decision-making was thorough. This is evidenced by, for example, the following excerpts from the records from the early days: 1) “Since the lock on the outer door of the classroom was found to be unusable, it was decided to replace it with a new lock”, 2) “We discussed the drinking vessel, i.e. the water tank, and decided to get a steel bucket with a small scoop for it” 3) “It was taken to discuss the issue of acquiring a class bell and it was decided to buy a good and cheap one.” Regarding the order of the school, the executive board decided, among other things, that going out was voluntary and ventilation was allowed “as much as the temperature gave in”.
Leinonen also noticed from the records that when Soviet Union was the head of Finland, its history and knowledge of the country had an important place in the school. At that time, decisions were made by the senate. The Compulsory Education Act came into force in 1921. Before compulsory education, each member of the school board made sure that school-age children in their area were enrolled in school. Each member also had to send their own children to school, because the power of example was great. On September 3, 1924, an inspection of the list of compulsory school children revealed, amongst other things, the following: One student was shepherding in Seinäjoki, another was staying with relatives in Kuortane, and one had poor reading ability.
There were times when the school had to be closed in the middle of the semester, for example due to epidemics of communicable diseases and during the first World War in 1918. From December 1938 until the following spring, the Pyhäjärvi municipal home was placed here and in 1939 a Helsinki children’s hospital housed the school.
Initially the school had only one teacher, later on two and three teachers. When the school turned 50 years old, there were 92 students. Väinö Kalijärvi was the last head teacher of Kuorasjärvi folk school. In the fall of 1968, Sydänmaankylä’s school activities moved from Kuorasjärvi and the slightly earlier closed Hukkala and Saarijärvi public schools to the newly completed Sääskiniemi school, where the village’s primary school still operates today.