News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 1, 2013

Historical Treasure: Topics of Collett newsletters still relevant today

Barbara Carney
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With another academic year beginning in Terre Haute, it seems appropriate to direct this Historical Treasure to a project that was done in one of  Vigo County’s schools in the early 1970s and see how topics of concern and interest in that era are just as pertinent now, more than 40 years later.

Between 1970 and 1975, fifth-grade students in Dan Brock’s class at Collett Elementary School wrote a newsletter which they printed using a gelatin process and ditto machine. The students sold the publication for 4 cents, and after expenses, split the profit among themselves, if there was one.

Student Tom Greenburg interviewed Mayor William Brighton. When asked why he would like to be re-elected, the mayor replied that he would like to finish projects, mainly “the remodeling of the Fort Harrison Road into four lanes, and the Thompson Ditch project that, when done, will eliminate flooding in that area.”

In an article about Pollution, Mark Lenyo wrote, “Twenty-five years from now, water will all be polluted if we don’t do something about it now.”

Writing a story entitled “Drugs,” Mike Gibbs said, “I think that drugs are something that are bad for you. They can cause you to hurt yourself as well as others. They can even make you have accidents. If you see someone taking drugs or smoking pot, try to stop them or, at least talk to them about it.”

Patricia Augburn gave this advice about “Fifth Grade Problems,” which could be given in any classroom or life situation today. She wrote, “Many people are always complaining that the work is too hard for them to do. Others like to sit back and then pick fights with those students who are trying to get their work done. Let me give you a hint to a good time in fifth grade. Keep those fights out of the school. Try settling for talking it over instead.”

This collection of newsletters is filed, along with extensive information about Vigo County schools, in the Vigo County Historical Museum archives and is available for research.