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With the appropriation for manual training high schools in the District of Columbia came a new era in the matter of secondary education and also a new question as to which is the more advantageous, manual training combined with practical science teaching or the old dry bones system of academic instruction.

When Congress made the appropriation there was in the M St. High School a technical class composed of eleven boys. This class with the Business School formed the nucleus from which the Armstrong Manual Training School has grown. That we held to the technical idea while in the High School was largely due to the encouragement of Judge Terrell, then our principal. In September, 1901 we entered upon our school duties at the Douglass building with only four rooms available for academic work. Freehand drawing, sewing, chemistry and laboratory work were carried on in the M St. High School, cooking at the Cook School on O Street, and mechanical drawing, shop work and engineering in an old shack on H Street, called the Miller building. In spite of the territory to be covered in going to classes we succeeded fairly well in cutting lessons, playing base ball to and from recitations, doing business with banana and peanut carts, and ending up by a trip to the office where we always promised our young but venerable looking principal to do better, all of which saved us from being "chucked." In class there was fun as well as work. At chemistry a pleasant diversion was making and running from explosions and recording our observations in what was left of our note books. From the "chemical lab," we filed to the English teacher. She was little, but "Oh my!" Do you remember how often we used to drop back after school to make up on days when skating was good? And then the "buzzer" that started us on a hike to mathematics when we "grasped the idea," "saw the point" and dealt so much with lines and angles that we looked like a Pythagorean theorem. And the New York Stock Exchange with its capital stock on one pie, fourteen cents and a nerve that would stop an express train. 

Again, we hear the buzzer which announces vacation. Quickly the summer days pass and we are back to shaking hands in our new building. What a great re-union it was and with the shops not equipped how we planned to have a great time during off periods. The Doctor attended to that, however, and we all remember the little stunts in the stockroom. Soon the old cow-bell whose clang announced the change of classes, gave way to the Frick clock system remarkable chiefly for not working, the savory odors from the cooking school reach us, the song of the shirt issues from the sewing room and the whirl, bang, slam in the shops announces that we're really off.

Dedication day, Oct. 24, was the most auspicious event in the colored public schools. Hon. H. B. Macfarland, President Board of Commissioners, and Booker T. Washington being the principal speakers.


Our hands and minds are now well-trained;
The senior year we have attained,
And ever happy we shall be
The famous class of nineteen three.

The years have given lessons new,
A greater work for hands to do.
Soon in life's work we shall prolong
The lessons taught at old Armstrong.

Amidst the toils and cares of life.
Amidst the thickest of the strife.
Sweet memory turns and sings the lays
In thoughts of dear old Armstrong days.
- Capt. Norris A. Dodson, C4.

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[[image: photograph of a number of men and women, likely a class photograph]]
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