Jackman School

The Jackman School was located on School St.

The Jackman School
The Jackman School

Please add your Jackman School memories…

6 Responses to Jackman School

  1. The Jackman School is synonymous with the South End. It was located so as have a ground level entrance on Atwood St. and an entrance reached by a set of granite stairs on School St.. The parcel of land sloped noticeably toward the river. This was obvious when standing on the Atwood St. side and walking north toward School St. A concrete retaining wall about 2 to 3 feet high ran across your path from the school’s foundation to the edge of the “playground”. A pinky ball, rolling in that direction and following the same path, would continue to roll on its own until stopping at the far curb on School St.. This gives an idea to the sloping landscape. The Playground, (girl’s side) on Atwood St. was smaller than the on on the opposite side. It ran from a very tall chain link fence, to the left corner of the school building as you would be facing it. The yard extended to the right and another tall, (“neighbor friendly”) fence on that side. One could pass on this side of the structure along a paved section of the yard that ran beside, ( east side toward Lime St. ) and was about 50-60 feet wide. As mentioned before, this section had the concrete retaining wall running across it. The School St. side was considered the “back” of the building. The yard here was at least three times the area as the other. It ran from the afore mentioned fence to the east, ( on one’s left if facing the building from School St. ) past the school and quite a distance toward Federal St. About four houses on the other side of the street, faced the school yard on this side. A fenced in basket ball court or courts was located at the far end. The entire yard area was covered by pavement. The building itself was of brick construction. The Atwood St. side showed some attractive architectural detail around the “main” entrance. Though it was tall compared to most of the surrounding houses, the school was two stories high with a flattened pyramid shaped roof that had four dormers on each of the four sides. The School St. side, due to the lay of the land, was taller. This was because the basement level on this side was at eye level. During the time I attended the Jackman, this particular geographic location was one neighborhood most of us avoided. The reasons were for safety and “self preservation”… It was generally regarded as a “no-man’s-land” due to the concentration of “toughs” that lived around that collection of streets. In the late 1960’s, the South End, “Joppa”, wasn’t the “homogenized” collection of “investment” properties it is today… What it was, was a district of the city in which the population consisted of “working class” and lower income families. Some were first, second, third, and beyond, generation families that had settled in the South End and worked in any number of local factory or other industrial jobs in town. Some even had a car… A “party line” telephone, out-door clothes lines, fruit trees and family gardens were common attributes in the bulk of homes. There was nothing “Quaint” or “Charming” about the very real streets and the people who lived in the duplex, ramshackle dwellings on them. Some of the less fortunate kids I was a classmate of had no winter coat, no boots, or a hat and mittens. The choice of “smoke” for a eleven year old was Marlboros. No smoking was allowed by students at the Jackman, but you could light one up off school grounds with a note from a parent that said it was okay… The upper two floors at the school were the regular classrooms. The basement level on the School St side housed Mr. Welch’s “special class”. He was was “bull” of a man with the temperament to match. It was rumored at the time that he had been a “Jesuit”, one of the Catholic Church’s Special orders of “Navy Seal” like order of brothers who had the reputation of being able to arm wrestle with satan, and win… Supposedly, he was even too tough for the Jesuits and got “let go”… No one messed with Mr. Welch’s special class students, without exception… I always envied the kids in his charge. They were the same students year after year. They got to build birdhouses and mailboxes for the entire year. Meanwhile, we “regular” students got to make the rounds of the upper two floors. This in itself was no “treat”. I believe that most of the “teachers”, ( “tormentors”) from the Jackman, are gone now or in their late sixties and early seventies. One instructor who was a fixture at the school for years, was Miss Haley, also known as “Emma”… She was as true to life a dedicated teacher as I have ever known. The woman looked to be in her eighties in the mid to late sixties when I was there. Picture “Granny” from the T.V. show, “the Beverly Hillbillies”… That’s who she looked like… Miss Haley was the matriarch of the Jackman. She was even given her own private lounge complete with a toilet in one corner. Her classroom was on the top floor of the School St. side on the north-east corner of the building. I remember her old fashioned approach to education and to this day can still recite the poetry that was drilled into our heads by her. One had been Whittier’s “Snowbound”, “Within our beds awhile we heard, The wind that round the gables roared, With now and then a ruder shock , That made our very bedsteads rock, We heard the loosened clapboards tossed, The board-nails snapping in the frost, And on us though the unplastered wall, Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall… Etc. etc. etc”. Poem after poem was taught to us and we stood at our desks to show her that we had in deed learned them. The other teachers were more conventional for the time. Mr Murray was my sixth grade home room teacher. Mr. Dicepolo taught math, Mr Spinny was the science guy. Miss or Mrs. Encarnacio was one instructor who would have been better suited to a carreer in a medieval torture chamber instead of in a classroom… She had a routine of grinding the sharp heal of her shoe into your foot while looping a lock of your hair with her hand and pulling “painfully” hard when attempting to extricate the correct answer to from the male students… The tribulations at the school were inflicted to a greater or lessor degree by all mebers of the teaching staff at the Jackman. Gum chewers were punished by having to apply the gum to their nose. A sign ridiculing the offener was written and stuck to the gum. And the perpetrator was then forced to visit each classroom and endure the ridicule and jeers of the other students and teachers. The best though, had to have been being forced to stand in one of the clasroom’s adjoining “cloak-rooms” with arms out straight to one’s sides, holding a very heavy dictionary or encyclopedia in each raised hand for however long the “teacher” thought was enough. I recall witnessing some of the “tougher” kids brought to tears from the teacher’s ridiculing them. Ah, the wonderfull days at the old Jackman School. Where the shy and the meek as well as the tough and incoragable, were treated with equal “cruelty”… Kind of glad to see a playground as a “tombstone” at the site now.

    p. j. nichypor September 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm Reply
  2. j.p. … we had to be there at the same time … I had Salvatore Discipulo for sixth grade and Mr. Spinny and Ms. Haley and Mrs. Gorsuch and Mrs. Encarnacion and Mr. Murray. Mr. Murray never taught much, he just told stories about himself and his brothers beating people up. I recall a Bob something or other who also taught math; and that one of Mr. Welch’s special class students was named David and would eat gum off the ground … but there was this terrible guy named Mr. Nepwrath … he would make everyone put their heads down, and he would walk around the classroom clicking his shoes on the wooden floor and finally make a loud noise and scare the devil out of everyone … I recall the French teacher and ? Mr. Joyce ? and have forgotten a couple of other teachers, but you were correct about Mrs. Encarnacion … I had a crew cut and she could not pull the hair, so she said she liked to rub it like velvet … if she did that in this day and age, she’d be out for some sort of sexual misconduct I suppose.

    Bob January 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm Reply
  3. “Kneppie” I hadn’t thought of that tyrannical dope of a supposed educator since the mid or late sixties… I recall that Mr. Knepwrath, ( not too sure of the correct spelling) enjoyed the attention of some of the more flirtatious female students,( Speaking of overt sexual innuendo)… Mrs. Gorsuch was supposedly the sister of another teacher at the Jackman, Mr. McGlaughlin. Mr. Spinny will always be one of my all time favorite people from the “Jackman Experience”, in that he wheeled a tiny black and white TV into the classroom and tuned in the 1967 World series for all of us to enjoy… Oh yeah, the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox. In a lot of ways, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,( sorry Mr. Dickens, I couldn’t resist…). In reality I do very much miss those days of growing up in Newburyport in what I consider to be a time period that was to close out an era. A time of turmoil and change in the old Yankee City. My school days were easier to remember than that of others , in that each school year I attendended, coincided with the year in the decades of the 60″s and the 70’s, ( I started grade 1 in 1961, grade 12 in 1972… ). I don’t know, maybe that isn’t all that significant to some, but it seemed all too cool to me. What was even better, was that the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, came to an end in 1973 at the Paris Peace Talks. We had sweated it out, growing up in such a turbulent time in our country’s history. We had seen an American launched into space and survive three orbits of the planet, ( John Glenn). We witnessed the murder of our President. Got to see the Red Sox in a World Series. Watched Civil Rights become a reality for all our brethren. And realized a terrible price in the process. We sat in front of our television sets and heard the “Body Counts” from S.E. Asia each night and tried to forget our troubles, laughing at Gilligan’s Island or the Munsters. We lost ourselves in Lost in Space and Star Trek. We worried if we had scraped by with enough “Good Marks” on our report cards to avoid summer school. Some of our older friends and neighbors went off to war and never returned home. Bobby Orr was #4 and we all wished we were a Bruin. Each September, we rode our bikes to the various auto dealerships in the city to admire and compare the new cars each manufacturer had offered up. At the Jackman School, we were introduced to a new program called APACE, ( Action Program for the Advancement of Civic Education). We saw our city’s downtown nearly vanish under the wrecking ball named “Urban Renewal”. Woodstock, The Chicago Seven, Charles Manson, changes in our families. All the dynamics seemed to come at us at lightening speed long before the advent of the Internet. We coped, we adapted, we worried… We survived. And we will have a wealth of memories, good and bad to share. That is the absolute beauty and perfection of this website. We have a beacon, a broadcast station of sorts, to tell our stories. Please, please, keep the stories and memories coming. I’m going to look for some Coke bottles to redeem for some “Penny Candy” money…

    p. j. nichypor January 12, 2010 at 9:47 pm Reply
  4. For the benefit of some of the contributors to this site and to this sub-heading in particular who may have been my classmates at the Jackman, I offer this: I attended the school starting 6th grade with Mr. Murray for home room in 1966. I left there for high school after completing 8th grade with Miss Haley for home room in June 1969. For further remembrance, I wanted to recall the insanity of art class at the Jackman. For whatever reason, an art teacher was not permanently assigned to the teaching staff there in the mid to late sixties. Nor was a gym teacher, which made all the sense in the world as the school had no gym, ( Although, it was said that a gym of sorts did in fact exist in the attic space of the old school. Further rumor was that it could not be used due to questionable structural integrity issues with the ancient building…). So we students walked to the nearby and gymnasium equipped Brown School and were taught things like Cage-ball and dancing, by Mr. Dan Hogan and Ms. Hollaway. ( Mr. Hogan ran a Play it Again Sports store in Plaistow, NH up until about a year ago. He looked pretty much the same as he did in the sixties…). As for art class, we went to our assigned classroom on site at the Jackman and had an art teacher “Imported” to us. Ours was the very lively Mrs. Laganas. She took charge of we hooligans from the very moment she breezed into the room. I remember her having a “Bee’s Nest” hairdo and that she was about five feet tall, wore a “Smock”, and moved about and spoke both loudly as well as quickly. In order to keep our attention, she would blow a police whistle. That usually had the desired shock value to us and we would momentarily settle down. I have no recollection of any of the art projects we had indulged in under the charge of this dynamic teacher. I do remember being thrilled at discovering she was the regular art teacher at the High School when I walked into my first Freshman year art class in the Fall of 1969. A little more about our gym class back at the Jackman was that in the seventh grade, the kids from the Kelly School, used to walk all the way to the Brown School and join we Jackmanites for gym. I got to meet hang out with some of those kids when we would skate at the Mall. They supposedly had outdoor gym in warmer weather on the adjacent school playground at the west end of the Bartlett Mall Promenade on the corner of Auburn and High Street. So we only saw them when the weather turned cold. I don’t remember too much about music class other than Mr. Spinneli, ( Also an import…) playing an accordian while we sang those insipid songs… Anybody out there got any more material for a trip down memory lane?

    p. j. nichypor January 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm Reply
  5. Wow – looking back and remembering the names. 6th grade home room with Mrs. Gorsuch (1966). I remember she loved the movie Dr. Zhivago. Mrs. Encarnacio full of energy (she would squeeze my cheek ..ouch). I was in her class when we found out that Robert Kennedy was shot. Miss Haley – my mother also had her for a teacher. Miss those days so long ago – moved from Newburyport in 1970.

    Steve Sgourakes December 21, 2022 at 11:52 pm Reply
  6. Thanks for the memory Steve, especially where you were when Robert Kennedy was shot. My earliest memory similar to that was remembering where I was when Elvis died. Thanks for adding your history!

    Shawn Gearin - Moderator December 22, 2022 at 12:01 am Reply

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