Students at Jacksonwald stepped back in time today as they visited Exeter's one-room schoolhouse at the corner of Oley Valley Turnpike and Route 562, located just steps away from where they currently learn and play. The school, which opened to Exeter Township students in 1st through 8th grade in 1870 (closing in 1937), still features wooden desks with spaces for ink wells, pot-belly stoves and other artifacts from the era, all of which modern-day Exeter students ogled over as they discovered just how different school was more than 150 years ago. As principal Matt Hathaway led the discussion, he asked students what they thought was missing from the schoolhouse besides computers and smartboards. "Lights!" responded one third grader. "A bathroom!" responded another, as students throughout the room made grossed-out sounds of disgust.
Although select grades and classes from Jacksonwald have visited the one-room schoolhouse throughout the years, this was the first time in recent memory that all students from the school were given the opportunity to visit and learn more about the history of the school during a single day. Principal Matt Hathaway said that many students never knew what the building was until today, and he doesn't think they'll soon forget the experience of walking into the one-room schoolhouse or envisioning what it was like to learn in the late 1800s and early 1900s. "Hours after they visited, students were still talking about the experience in their classrooms and wondering what it was like to learn as an Exeter student back then," he said. "It was truly a great experience for them and a wonderful way to expose them to our rich history right here in Exeter."