I can remember going into the red brick school house for the first time. My 1st grade classroom was on the bottom floor to the left of the front door. I was glad to be in the same room where my sister and our father had learned to read and write.
However, I was a “disadvantaged student” as I spent most of the first year learning from the room where we hung our coats, kept our lunches and spent time for not behaving in class.
Fortunately, this special room opened directly into the class where I could hear and learn while being disciplined.
As I progressed and moved up in grades, the discipline became a little more severe and my most memorable moment in this building was my first meeting with the “board of correction” used at that time.
I was told to “grab my ankles”, which seemed to be a strange way of punishment to my inexperienced mind, but already being in trouble I obeyed and sat down in a chair and grabbed my ankles.
It turns out that the Principal thought I was trying to be “smart” for sitting down and grabbing my ankles as this was not the position he had in mind and got a couple of extra licks for that.
I could write a book of the memories and lifetime friendships made in that building.
Memories that have lasted a lifetime were not made by that building, but the building was where they were created. My age group remembers Francis Shiplett as a friend to all of us.
He was especially a friend when he was leaning on the second floor rail with the bell line in his hand and we could talk him into giving us a few extra minutes of recess by delaying ringing the old bell to call us back inside, the sound of which will never be forgotten.
Therefore, the old building has a very special place in my heart and why I am so proud of the people who have sacrificed their time and money to preserve the building when there was so much pressure to have it torn down.
Because of the dedication of a few folks the Bartlett Activities Center, Inc. (BAC) was formed in attempt to save the building. Their efforts have not been in vain, as the building is still standing and being restored as a very important part of Bartlett’s history. I am glad that because of the efforts of the BAC I could show my children the building that was such an important part of my early life.
However, as I visited each room I was amazed at how much smaller they all had become over the years, especially the office where I learned what “grab your ankles” really meant. My concern now is that there will not be the support (people and funds) necessary in the future for BAC to continue their efforts to keep our beloved building in a state of good repair.
Hopefully, the citizens of Bartlett will take it upon themselves to recognize the contribution BAC is making to the community and to provide support to the BAC as well as helping out in ground maintenance, etc.To not do so would be a real loss to the City of Bartlett that so many of us love because of what we have been given during our youth and beyond.
The bell mentioned in the Mastrovich story no longer hangs above the second floor balcony, but has its own stand to the right of the front entrance to the building. 
John Mastrovich