Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Malesso' seen from above

The transition from the small, limited Spanish schools on Guam to almost as small, limited American schools on Guam was not overnight.  The Americans took over in 1898, but it wasn't until Governor Dyer's time around 1904 that the government took more interest in organizing the public schools on a surer footing.

Take Malesso', for example.

When the American teacher went there in 1905 to relieve Pedro Cruz, the Chamorro teacher, he found a small building furnished with a desk and a stool.  Students had to sit right on the floor.  Under Cruz, the school basically taught the Catholic catechism.

Only two residents of Malesso' spoke some English, acquired when these two men spent some time sailing the seas and living in the U.S.   They were Felix Roberto, the gobernadorcillo (mayor) and Vicente D. Torres.

Even the American teachers weren't always professionals.  They were often recruited from the Navy and Marine units, or recently discharged servicemen and/or the wives of such.

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