School merger about the children

Hurrah! Finally, the Old Fort-Bettsville merger has gone through – a dream I hoped for even 51 years ago.

I have been a part of both schools. After graduating from Bettsville in 1960 (41 years after my dad, Harold Klopp Sr., graduated in 1919), I entered Heidelberg College. During my senior year at ‘Berg, I was approached by Dr. Ferris Ohl, head of the music conservatory, who recommended me to Old Fort School to teach elementary music, afternoons only. That was a real challenge because I was married the summer before my senior year, took morning classes, worked up a required graduation piano recital and remained in the active concert choir.

This job got my foot in the door for three more years before our three daughters entered the world. I opted to stay at home until the last girl entered kindergarten in 1982, the year I became practically a full-time substitute teacher and tutor at Bettsville. I had K-12 grades, any and all subjects, and had many long-term jobs until 2006, when I retired. How I loved those kids!

In 2012, I applied at Old Fort to serve as piano accompanist for the high school and middle school choirs, a job I also loved. Due to a health problem, I could not return, but I did see Old Fort and Bettsville in my visionary hope finally becoming one unit, and here we are!

Because I have worked with both schools, I have found two communities of wonderful, caring parents who have supported their students and put them first. With the current economic and technical era in which we live, there is no other possibility for small schools to survive on their own. It will take time for some folks to adjust to this new, much needed merger, but soon, as the problems get worked out, it should be a smooth road for all.

There was always a lingering “hang-up” of some sort going all these years between there two schools and hopefully these will be “hung up.” The power of positive thinking needs to shift into first gear to bring success to this venture. It’s like a marriage: forget the me and honor the we.

I thought up a name for the merger, “Old Bettsy,” with a cannon to serve as its mascot, alluding to Old Fort native Bob Gillmor, genius cannon builder, but we better forget that. Names don’t matter, kids do. Let’s do it.

Margaret Klopp Pope,

rural Tiffin