Giving proper credit

Dear Editor,

Recent articles regarding Great Western School and the renovations made possible by Ohio University and the Belmont Tourism Council were interesting to read. However, as a former student of that school, I noticed that they failed to mention Ann Rattine, who has been a driving force for years to keep the school repaired and to remain a teaching source in our county for the benefit of local schools and for surrounding states. Students from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other county areas in Ohio have visited the school.

The Questers were responsible for the initial restoration of the school, and afterward various members continued as teachers to welcome students to experience the life of a one-room school. Ann retired from teaching the multi-age Class at St. Clairsville schools and in 2007 took over the role of teacher in the school. As a member of the National Trail 348 of the International Questers, Ann has continued to write grants for money to further renovation of the school building. When her requests are granted, the money is deposited with Ohio University and that office writes the checks when needed. As a result of her diligent hunt for grant monies, these have helped to replace the windows; install a new door; replace the slate roof with slate; build a new cupola and install the donated original bell; and add heating and air conditioning.

Writing grant requests is a time-consuming and precise job but Ann’s passion for the school continues to inspire her to keep searching for monies. This is only one of her tasks. She plans the teaching sessions; books them; teaches the classes; and she is also the prime cleaner/janitor of the school. She has washed filthy windows, scrubbed filthy floors and polished desks in preparation for classes and public events. She has done this for years as an unpaid volunteer.

I believe that without Ann’s devotion to Great Western, it would not be in the renewed condition that it is today. Well done, Ann!

Helen Niemiec