Frank Van Schaick (1911-2006)
Our organization is dedicated to the memory of Frank Van Schaick, whose book, Home of the Wilson Wildcats, explains the life and death of Wilson public school, encompassing personal stories and the history of the Santa Barbara neighborhood school system.
Read his obituary in the Santa Barbara Independent here.
Excerpts from Home of the Wilson Wildcats, by Frank Van Schaick:
"The building itself was a well-proportioned two-story rectangle. It was identical to Lincoln School on Cota Street. These buildings were constructed at about the same time, around 1925 I think.
Wilson School, when I arrived, and for the 38 years I taught there, was an impressive building. It was the most prominent building on the whole west side of town. It stood out. Later, when Rancheria Street became U.S. 101, it looked down on that highway as it did upon the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. All traffic through Santa Barbara passed right beside Wilson School. It stood grandly four square for education.
Wilson School Main Entrance
The main purpose of education, for me, came to be the development of democratic ideas. A country is not obligated to teach its children so that they can make a living. It is not obligated to develop children's skills and abilities for their own purposes, certainly not in order to get rich, most certainly not to gain power over their fellows. But a democratic country absolutely must see to it that its children are given the means, the knowledge, and the character to govern themselves and to vote wisely. This is the only way freedom can be assured."