By Barb Johnson
From the very beginning of our town of Hope, education has been an important issue. Martin Hauser and those early settlers were determined to educate their children. The first log church also served as the town school. For a while it operated as a subscription school, which meant that children had to pay the teacher for his/her services. Sometimes that pay was in goods or services rather than in money.
In 1841 the Moravian Church decided it was time to develop a day school for the children of the church and town. The land east of the Chapel across Main Street was cleared of trees in order that a school might be built. Before the building could be started, members became discouraged and the idea of a day school was dropped.
Students continued to use the log cabin on the square until about 1850 when a new log cabin was built on Mill Street. As the town began to grow, the log schools became too small. And other arrangements were made.
In 1859, the Moravian Church finally built a day school on the land that had been cleared eighteen years earlier. This school was not a financial success and was closed in 1865.
Classes for children continued to be held wherever room could be found. In 1861 some classes were taught on the second floor of the town hall on Jackson Street just east of the square. In 1867, classes were moved to the Methodist Church, which was leased for school purposes for a fee of $100. It was then that the town decided it was necessary to build a sufficient school for its children. In that year a two story brick building with an outside stairway was placed on the grounds that would later hold the old Hope School. In just a few years a second brick schoolhouse was built on Market Street because of overcrowding.
In 1906 a fine brick structure took the place of the two- story building. That new City School was the building that was just torn down a few weeks ago. During the time the first building was demolished and the second one was completed, children attended classes in the old Moravian Female Seminary Building which we will learn about in another article.
The gymnasium was added in 1938 as a WPA project. In 1953 the east wing, which is still standing, was added giving the school six more classrooms for elementary students. That building was used for educational purposes until 1988.
Our community was served by three schools, Cross Cliff for students in grades K-2, Hope Intermediate School for students in grades 3-6, and Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School, all three serving students in both Hawcreek and Flatrock Townships of Bartholomew County. Cross Cliff was closed in 2010 and the students were relocated to Hope's new addition on their school. Hope Intermediate and Hauser are now a connecting school and all the students in the Flatrock-Hawcreek School Corporation are in one conjoinning building. Hope Intermediate is home to the Hope Jets and serves grades K-6. Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School is home to the Hauser Jets and serves grades 7-12.
Education has always been an important aspect of life in Hope, and continues to be as the schools strive to better the education they provide their students.