Eleanor loved school growing up. She went to Farmingdale School for kindergarten through third grade. Eleanor was a great student and enjoyed learning and also teaching others. In the first grade, she started tutoring other students in reading. In the third grade, she was the point person in charge of answering the principal’s phone if it rang during the school day. She had a lot of responsibilities at a young age. Eleanor also knew how to have fun in elementary school; she absolutely loved physical education class because she was the fastest runner and could outrun all of the boys.
Eleanor attended Greenwood School for fourth through eighth grade. She remembers her favorite classes from sixth grade which were Medieval History and Irish Dances.
Eleanor attended Steinert High School and had a great time. Some of her favorite memories come from the Friday night dances at school. The Jitterbug was the primary dance that the students would do. Her high school years had a profound influence on who she is as a person. The personalities and character traits of both students and teachers impacted her life. One thing in particular she took away from Steinert High School is the ability to just have a good time. There was a great spirit of cooperation, supporting each other, and there was a real sense of community. The lessons that Eleanor learned at Steinhert High School has influenced her life and who she is as a person.
Eleanor enjoyed her classes and became close to two teachers in particular – Mrs. Duffy and Mr. Frank. Mrs. Duffy was one of the most influential teachers for Eleanor; Mrs. Duffy was her history teacher and yearbook advisor. Please listen to the link below to hear a story about Mrs. Duffy.
Mr. Frank was the choir director and he instilled a love of music at Steinert. Eleanor did not enjoy choir until Mr. Frank became the music teacher. When he first arrived at Steinert, there was only one boy in the class and he was trying to drop out of it. Mr. Frank told him to wait two weeks and there would be plenty of other boys. Well, Mr. Frank came through with that promise and by the end of Eleanor’s time at Steinert, there were over 200 students in the choir. The way Mr. Frank got boys to join was to have all of the girls hoot and holler every time the boys sang their songs. It clearly worked! After 40 years, Eleanor helped plan a choir reunion with Mr. Frank and many students that used to sing with the choir. Some of them ended up singing together for ten more years at different nursing homes.
Eleanor attended Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. She was very interested in philosophy classes because they taught her how to think and analyze things. She was originally a psychology major but ended up changing to a music major as a junior. Eleanor was very involved with the Gettysburg College Choir and it was the most valuable experience during her time in college. The Gettysburg College Choir toured in Europe in 1963 and Eleanor was able to see many historic sites. One day on a choir tour, Eleanor was chatting with another student, Sherry, about using music to work with handicapped children. Eleanor has a passion for working with music and seeing the impacts on children with disabilities. After Sherry saw how interested Eleanor was with using music to help others, she asked the choir director if a student could become a music major as a junior. That is how Eleanor switched from a psychology major to a music major. The choir director, Parker B. Wagnild, had a profound impact on her life.
All photos courtesy of Eleanor Adams.