By Brigid Miller, Museum Community Engagement Manager
The end of August is always a bittersweet time, summer is coming to a close but the excitement of a new school year dawns. Today this “back-to-school season” is marked by sales, shopping, and commercials, but looking at Mrs. Fisher’s 1st grade class, I cannot help but wonder what the back-to-school season looked like for these students in 1957. Did the shops have discounts? Did parents take first day of school photos on the front porch? I would like to think that there are some things that remain the same throughout every “back-to-school” season – mixed feelings of nerves and excitement for parents, teachers, and students alike about the uncertainty of what another year will bring.
We do not know the exact date of this photo but based on the summer attire of some of the students, it could be from the beginning of the school year or the end. The year 1957 brought a lot of national and local changes and events that impacted the lives of these students, whether they occurred before or after this photo was taken.
Nationally, throughout 1957 school integration was happening across the south, highlighted by violent scenes from Little Rock’s Central High School in September. In October, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I which marked the start of the “space race” and an increased popularity in space-related toys and education. Locally, the Community Library opened in 1957 offering a place for these students and their families to access books and more. Additionally, in the summer of 1957, students may have spent a few days watching the first annual Wood River Valley Little League Invitational Tournament. As the 2023-24 school year approaches, we know that this year will be similar to the 1957 school year – it will be eventful and full of change.
Note this story was originally published in August of 2023 in the Idaho Mountain Express.