Letters to the Editor

Help save the old schoolhouse

For the past eight months 11th grade students from Coupeville High School planned and carried out a re-enactment of the typical student day in 1932 at San de Fuca’s restored one-room school house. Community member Martha Ellis guided the 11th grade students who acted as “teachers” for all fourth grade students from Coupeville Elementary. All were in period costume and went through a typical 1932 curriculum. Martha put in endless hours mentoring the 11th graders and fitting and sewing period costumes for the 25 fourth-graders.

Students and staff wish to thank Joe Keeva for allowing the use of the schoolhouse. He allowed us to use the facility at no cost even though he is in the midst of selling the property. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students.

Joe and his late wife, Sally Hayton-Keeva, bought the rundown property and restored the schoolhouse at their own considerable expense. Joe has tried multiple times to work with local historical agencies to donate the schoolhouse for preservation. He even offered a large sum of cash, at one point, for the upkeep of the schoolhouse. Joe has already given much to preserve this unique schoolhouse and its history. He has been willing to reduce the price to any party willing to preserve it and willing to establish and easement on the property. Someone who buys it could use it as a residence but not tear it down. So we are not in danger of losing this historic building, but we could lose public access to the San de Fuca schoolhouse.

I know from personal experience with the fourth grade reenactments that schoolhouse should be saved for public use. What Coupeville High School and elementary students have done illustrates one possible, creative, valuable, educational use of the schoolhouse. I am hopeful for a last minute miracle to save the schoolhouse for public use. Is there an agency or person out that that has the ability and vision to save the San de Fuca Schoolhouse for public use?

Mark Gale


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