Schooling was as important as it was in Europe--maybe more important. The kids needed to learn English here in America. Luckily, the nuns were bi-lingual and 'took on any comers'. The kids themselves had to live with the situation ☺.
Larry found a wonderful school photo taken on the front steps of St Joseph's Church in Pierz. The caption suggests it was 1881, but the church wasn't finished till 1888, so maybe this was 1890 or so? Anyway, I'll show you the whole photo, but wanted to highlight some kids' faces first. Don't you recognize something familiar in these kids?
(BTW, we were originally drawn by the third pic, above. His face breaks my heart. What was wrong? Or, hmm, was there a reason he was placed in front of Father?)
Next night: We were talking about a kids' concept of his or her own face in those years. Were they even aware that they weren't smiling?
Our kids are told to "Smile" from little on cuz every adult has a camera, but photography itself was new to the kids pictured here. (Meeting a new adult, they were expected to greet them, and be quiet). No one exhorted them to "SMILE", not even for a photograph we'd be examining 120 years later ☺
Here's the original photo--be sure to zoom in. S'tr is watching YOU!