Vienna Township Parent-Teacher Association

Vienna Township PTA: A History Through the Minutes

The following history is based on entries in the book of minutes of the Vienna Township Parent-Teacher Association in the possession of the Ruth P. Hayes.

December 21, 1921:

"Parents and teachers of Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, met informally to discuss suggestions and organization of a society for furtherance of school work and its interests."

Calling the meeting to order was Professor J. E. Guthrie, Vienna School principal. A motion was made and seconded to form a Parent and Teacher Association in the Township. The motion carried. Nominations were then given for temporary officers: Mr. A. F. Gail was elected president, Mrs. Edna Catchpole was elected vice-president, and Mr. Ithel F. Mathews clerk-treasurer. Committees were assigned, including a finance committee and a purchasing committee.

A hot lunch committee was established, and the hot lunch program was sporadically carried out in the years between 1921 and 1929. In some years hot lunches were served to the students only during the coldest months. Women were asked to donate home canned goods towards the lunches. A Mrs. Nowling was hired on December 16, 1925, to prepare and serve the lunches. Her salary was $1.50 a day. Her husband had donated a cook stove to the school in 1922.

January 4, 1922:

During this meeting of the fledgling organization the slate of temporary officers was elected to permanent status for the year 1922.

Most noteworthy of this meeting, a committee was formed to investigate "current and plant light for the school house." If correct, this entry establishes the fact that there may have been no electricity in Vienna before 1922. Further, in September 1922 a special meeting was held to discuss "Vienna PTA paying some money toward electric lights for the school building. General discussion was held. It was moved and seconded that the PTA would donate $200 for bringing a line into Vienna and the school."

January 19, 1922:

The purchase of a first-aid cabinet for the school's use was voted. Subscriptions to the Country Gentlemen Magazine were sold to raise funds. A total of $27.50 was realized.

March 15, 1922:

The following resolution was presented and accepted by the membership:

Whereas it is officially reported that the Trustees of the Trumbull County War chest Fund are seeking to divert the balance of the funds to said war chest mainly to the institutions of the city of Warren and

Whereas said funds were patriotically given for aid and help to the soldier boys, therefore be it resolved that it is our opinion that in justice to all, subscribers of Trumbull County be given a voice as to its final distribution and that any other use of said funds by the Trustees is rank injustice and high-handed use of funds which do not lawfully belong to them.

That a copy of these resolutions be sent to said Trustees and a copy be spread of this association's minutes.

October 17, 1923:

Mr. Fred Stimson was present at this meeting to give an illustration of visual education using one of the stereopticon lantern machines. After the presentation the membership decided to purchase a stereopticon lantern machine at a cost of $364.

December 19, 1923:

Mr. John Morris was speaker at this meeting. His topic was "Dangers of Travel on the Highway."

April 1924:

Mrs. J. N. Morris became president, Mrs. I. F. Mathews became vice-president, and Mrs. John Penn became secretary-treasurer.[1]

October 16, 1924:

The organization had a total of 66 members. A discussion to adopt a slogan for the PTA took place, and the accepted slogan was "Good homes, better schools, make best children."

In an April 8, 1926 Warren-Tribune Chronicle article, the mission and achievements of the PTA were noted:

Meetings are held monthly from August to April inclusive. The aim of the organization is to promote co-operation between parents and teachers, and inspire in both higher ideals and more efficient leadership in the training of our future citizens.

Among the achievements of the organization are, purchasing equipment for the school kitchen, scales for use in the school building, a stereopticon for the promotion of visual education; the installation of electric lights in the school building; paying for the interior decorations of five of the rooms and providing hot lunches for the pupils during the coldest of the winter months. Funds for these purposes are secured by the payment of a membership fee of 50 cents per member and by entertainments held at intervals during the school year. These have resulted in good fellowship among the people of Vienna as well as financial returns, of nearly $1,000, which has been used for the purposes above mentioned.[1]

September 15, 1926:

Discussion of enlarging the schoolhouse began. Mr. John Morris, president of the local school board, announced the intent to place a levy on the ballot in November, 1927.

November 17, 1926:

The music department was featured at this meeting. A student cornet quartet, consisting of students George Gray, Helen Turner, Raymond Force, and Joe Turner, performed.

October 18, 1928:

The Vienna PTA sponsored a lecture for students given by ex-tramp L. L. Livingston. At this time total school enrollment was 311.

During the ensuing years the PTA flourished. In the 1950s and 1960s membership grew into the hundreds. Many projects benefiting many children were credited to the work of this organization. In the 1960s Madeline Jayne served in many capacities and was instrumental in aligning Vienna with the state and the national PTAs.

By the 1970s and 1980s, however, PTAs everywhere were struggling to keep active with the changing times. More and more women were entering the work force and membership declined. Locally, ever-decreasing numbers of members worked to advance the objectives of the PTA, with ever-decreasing support. In May, 1992, at the end of the school year, PTA in Vienna was dissolved. Members voted to reorganize and establish a PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) to serve the school district. PTA had existed proudly for 70 years in serve to the community and its children.

Contributor: Ruth P. Hayes

Updated 2/21/2023
This entry appears as it was originally published: "Vienna Township PTA: A History Through the Minutes," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 210-212.

[1] "A Valiant Aid," Warren-Tribune Chronicle, April 8, 1926, page 14.