Alumni from Geer School plan festival reunion

Sep. 3, 2019  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Julie Brown

Staff Writer

Geer School, on Plymouth-Ann Arbor Road, offers Plymouth-Canton elementary students the chance to learn in a one-room schoolhouse. The children dress in period costumes and experience “Pioneer Days” each year.

The schoolhouse was used to educate area students from 1880-1982, and was for years the center of the community which explains its longevity, said Mary Guregian Jenkins. She and Mary Schroeder Berger are co-chairs of a Sunday, Sept. 8, Geer School reunion.

The school is at Gotfredson and Plymouth-Ann Arbor roads.

The alumni luncheon set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Karl’s Cabin Restaurant is open to Geer alumni, spouses and friends. Tickets are $33, and ticket information is available from Mary Jenkins at

The open house, hosted by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, will take place from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, with free admission to the public.

There will be games for children and alumni available to reminiscence about what it was like to attend a one-room schoolhouse.

The alumni luncheon will feature a slide slow of historical photos from Geer School. Alumni will then drive to the school for the open house.

Jenkins attended Geer from 1960 to 1966.

“Every year, students, their families and other members of the community gathered at the school for potluck dinners, the Halloween parade and the annual Christmas play. It was consolidated with Plymouth Schools in the 1960s. It was restored to its original condition (complete with outhouses) after it closed in 1982 by the Geer School Mother’s Club and is now on the National Register of Historic Places,” she said.

South Lyon residents Janet Millross Renwick and her husband, Jack, look forward to the Geer reunion. Janet Renwick entered Geer School in 1937, attended through eighth grade in 1945 and began ninth grade at the old Plymouth High School, now the Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex. She’s the oldest alumna planning to attend.

“Mrs. Gladys Stacey was my teacher, followed by Florence Rupp then by Marilyn McClumpha. There were three in our eighth grade class, 23-25 most years in the whole school. My two brothers, Leonard Millross and David Millross, followed. We brought water in to drink from a pump outside,” Renwick said.

She recalls putting the flag up each morning in front of the school. The day began with the Pledge of Allegiance, and students learned Parliamentary Procedure as well for their monthly meetings.

Renwick sat on a recitation bench at the front of the room while the others did their studies at Geer School. Students at Geer learned cursive writing in beginners and first grade.

She added, “Our music was from an outside teacher who would come for an hour monthly. We carried a lunch box, hot meal was a baked potato on the shelf of the furnace, put in at recess to be ready at noon.”

Originally, the school had classes for kindergarten through eight grade, But in 1960, a second room was added. After that, the “big room” housed kindergarten through third grade and the “little room” served grades four-six. Students then attended Plymouth Schools for seventh-12th grade classes, said Jenkins.

A Facebook group was formed several years ago and one alumnus suggested such a reunion. Jenkins notes Plymouth Fall Festival weekend was a natural choice because many people return to town.

“The same students were in my class every year and we all knew each other’s older and younger brothers and sisters. It was similar to a Montessori school where one grade would be called to the front of the class for lessons and the kids in the other classes either worked on their homework or listened to the other class’s lesson.

“The only sport that we played at Geer was softball, so I remember it was a big learning curve to go to West (Junior High) in sixth grade and have to learn basketball and volleyball in gym class,” Jenkins recalled of her school years.

Jenkins said organizers appreciate the administration at Plymouth Canton Community Schools for opening the school to them for the reunion.


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