Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leonia's Beacon of Education

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leonia's Beacon of Education

Article excerpt

The naming or renaming of a school or other public landmark to pay homage to someone associated with it usually comes after the honoree's death.

Here's a story that defied the usual as it played out in Leonia six decades ago.

In June 1955, around the time that Anna C. Scott retired after a 47-year career as teacher, and then principal, of the Leonia Elementary School, the Board of Education voted to rename the old school in her honor while she was still alive. She was that admired.

Specifically, the board noted that the renaming to the Anna C. Scott Elementary School was "in recognition of Miss Scott's service to the children."

This was in June, and the board's action touched the hearts of any number of people who had been taught by Miss Scott or had worked with her.

Four months later she died at home, in the house in Englewood she shared with her younger sister, Lillian Warnock. She was 69. Her obituary in The Bergen Evening Record reported that her death came after a long illness.

All this occurred 61 years ago, but Leonia has never forgotten Anna C. Scott. To this day, the plaque at the entrance to the school on Highland Street remains dedicated to her, and a painting of her hangs in the lobby of the school. "Old-timers who had her as a teacher or as a boss refer to her as 'Miss Scott,' " said David Braun, the Leonia borough historian.

Anna Creighton Scott was born in New York in 1886. Later, around 1895, the family moved to Englewood, according to The Bergen Evening Record. After she graduated from Englewood High School, Miss Scott enrolled at Trenton State Normal School, where she concentrated in English and history.

Miss Scott graduated and obtained her teaching certificate in 1908 and was hired to teach in Leonia.

She never left. In writing about Miss Scott, Harriet Burdock, the archivist of the Leonia Public Library, waggishly noted: "It was a big year, the year she came to Leonia. The school got a telephone, a desk, a chair and Miss Scott. It was 1908 and she started teaching first grade."

Miss Scott taught through 1919, when she was appointed principal of the Leonia Elementary School. …

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