Thursday, February 06, 2020
By June Reynolds
Pamplin Media Group
‘Because of their efforts, a legacy of good education extended for 40 years.’
I have noticed that the J.C. Hopkins School is going to be the new district office. This school building was my alma mater from fifth through eighth grade and at the time was called Sherwood Grade School. I am hoping that the sign on the school remains as a memory of the Hopkins educational legacy in Sherwood.
The driving force for the school I attended was J. C. Hopkins and his wife, Venita. Because of their efforts, a legacy of good education extended for 40 years. J. C. (Clyde) Hopkins was born in Provo, Utah, in 1907. He grew up in The Dalles, Oregon, and was the son of a railroad engineer. He became a brakeman on the railroad until he attended college at Oregon College of Education at Monmouth. He served as principal of Banks School for two years and then landed the Sherwood School job in 1935.
The school he worked in then was the old white schoolhouse that used to be at the “Y” of today’s Sherwood Boulevard and Third Street. He married his college sweetheart, Venita Rains, and they moved to Sherwood. Venita also had two years of teaching experience near Salem. Over the next few years, the family grew with two children, Jo Ann and Keith. The community was growing, too, and the old schoolhouse of 1911 was bursting with students. At the same time, by 1938, the high school across the street was finished, but the eighth grade had already moved from the Old North Church and then to the high school. Even by 1941, the eighth grade was still at the high school and both Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins were teaching this class. Mr. Hopkins was also the principal of the grade school.
By 1949, the old white school developed a major roofing problem. But by then plans were under way to build a new grade school for first through eighth grade. Students moved into that school by the fall of 1952. Ten years later I came to Sherwood Grade School on the bus and Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins and the staff were there to greet us. The Hopkinses are so ingrained in my historical memory. Mrs. Hopkins taught at Sherwood Grade School for 36 years and was a highly respected teacher. Mr. Hopkins died in 1969 and the Redwood Tree in front of the Morback House Museum was planted in his honor. There is a plaque by the tree near the sidewalk.
Coincidentally, as I am planning this article, the Sherwood Historical Society is planning a historical display of the history of education in Sherwood. We have so many pictures and artifacts on this topic, and could also use more, so check it out and help us collect history. We are open Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. I am taking two months off, but my historical co-conspirer, Clyde List, will be filling the void. Happy 2020!