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Principal of Highland Springs School 1924-1944
By Susan Booth Bonnet Chermside

page 4 of 4

Highland Springs by way of Glen Echo

When Marjorie’s husband returned from his war-connected duties, he decided to settle in Richmond, Virginia, move his wife and child there and take a job with an insurance company.

Mrs. Bonnet had not planned to be a teacher when she graduated from Hollins. She did not have a teaching certificate, but it looked as though she would need to continue working. With a Special Certificate from the Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Virginia, she secured the principalship of Glen Echo School, a school just outside of Richmond, which offered grades one through seven. Our family boarded in Richmond and in Barton Heights and Mrs. Bonnet and Susan rode the interurban streetcar to Glen Echo each day.

In September 1923, Marjorie Bonnet went to Highland Springs High School as Assistant Principal. After that we boarded during the school term each year with a family in Highland Springs.

During the school years 1923-24 and 1924-25, Mrs. Bonnet’s first two years at Highland Springs, Mr. A. C. Cooper was Division Superintendent of Henrico County and Mr. Holmes Turner was the principal at Highland Springs. It was necessary that Mrs. Bonnet spend many summers at summer school in order to keep her State Teacher’s Certificate up to date. She had summer classes at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and at William and Mary. During those summers she studied everything from “Language Arts and Skills” and “International Affairs” to “History of Education” and “Curriculum Development in Secondary Schools.”

After World War II, my mother was studying at William and Mary and found herself in class with young men just home from the war. She said many times that the greatest challenge she had ever faced was keeping up in her studies with those young ex-servicemen, who were so earnest and showed such serious determination.

One summer she was at William and Mary in Williamsburg working in a Laboratory Conference for High School Faculties. I believe it was that group who recommended that the State of Virginia institute an Eighth Grade into its school systems. In Virginia, there had always been only SEVEN grades in elementary school and four years of high school. The recommendation was acted upon and now there would be twelve instead of eleven years of school before college in the Commonwealth.

In the fall of 1925 Highland Springs opened the doors of its new High School, which was connected to the grade school (built in 1909) by a covered walk.

In the Highland Springs graduating class of 1929 there was a studious, lively, and attractive, golden-haired young lady named Mildred Taurman who, during her high school years, belonged to the Page Literary Society, Citizens’ Association, Business Club, and School Chorus. In 1926 she was Historian of her class. In her Senior year she was Secretary of the Class of ’29, Class Poet and on the staff that produced the Highlander annual for that year.

I do not know just when Mildred became my mother’s Secretary, but I do know that she performed her duties in that capacity admirably. Mildred was Mommie Bonnet’s right hand for many years. I know that my mother depended on Mildred for many things. Mother did not drive and a secretary with an automobile was very helpful.

Glen Allen to New York State

In September 1944, Mrs. Bonnet went to Glen Allen High School as Associate Principal to Mr. George H. Moody, Principal. She had an apartment in the legendary old Glen Allen Hotel, which has since been torn down. There, she was within walking distance of the school.

In 1950 Mother retired, moved in with my family in Charlotte Court House, VA, and helped take care of her three grandchildren. In 1956 she moved with us to western NY State.

She broke her hip soon after arriving in New York, but kept her good spirits and managed to get about the house. In warm weather she enjoyed going to a nearby outdoor pool to swim. She was a favorite of the high school friends of her granddaughters who enjoyed visiting her and discussing books and other things.

Marjorie Booth Bonnet died of a stroke in May of 1963 and was buried beside her husband in a family cemetery on South Isle Plantation, which her father had bought in Virginia in 1910.



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Resolution by the Board
In 1943, the Henrico County School Board passed the following resolution:

“WHEREAS; THE County School Board of Henrico County has been informed by its Division Superintendent that, with the consent of Mrs. Marjorie B. Bonnet, he has transferred her, at no reduction in salary, from the Principalship of the Highland Springs High School to the Associate Principalship of the Glen Allen High School

“Be it resolved that:

“The County School Board of Henrico County commends Mrs. Marjorie B. Bonnet most highly for the sterling personal and professional qualities, excellent leadership, efficient administration and most commendable attainments manifested by her during her incumbency as Principal of the Highland Springs High School.
1. In the opinion of the County School Board of Henrico County the Highland Springs High School has shown steady and commendable growth under her leadership.
2. The County School Board of Henrico County recognizes officially her long and uniformly successful service to the County, her steady growth as an educational leader, the sound training given the children under her care and the excellent guidance of her teachers.
3. The County School Board of Henrico County is gratified to know that she will continue to give Henrico County the benefit of her valued services.
4. The county School Board of Henrico County congratulates the Glen Allen High School and its patronage upon the privilege of having in its faculty an educator of her excellent attainments and skill.
5. A copy of these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the Board and an attested copy sent to Mrs. Bonnet.
SEAL July 22, 1943. Signed:
Pearle A. Ridgeway, Clerk”

An attested copy of the resolution was sent to Mrs. Bonnet with the following letter:

July 24, 1943
Mrs. Marjorie B. Bonnet
Highland Springs, Virginia

“Dear Mrs. Bonnet:
On July 22 the School Board passed the
enclosed resolution which both it and I feel feebly expresses the sentiment
and conviction which both it and I feel very keenly.
Very truly yours,
C. K. Holsinger, Superintendent”

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