Elsie Hill Roland, 1897-1973
Elsie Hill Roland, 1897-1973
In 1928 the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program was established in Kansas City, Missouri. Just three years later, in 1931, Elsie Hill Roland initiated the Allegany County FFA program at Flintstone School. She was the first woman in the nation to be certified by the Federal Government to teach Vocational Agriculture under the 1917 Smith-Hughes Act and would oversee the FFA program at Flintstone until 1964.
Roland had graduated from Frostburg State College and the University of Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture. She first taught at the Rush School which was four miles away from Flintstone. She began teaching vocational agriculture in the two-room school at Flintstone in 1918 and would later serve as the Principal of Flintstone School (grades 1-12) for 36 years beginning in 1926 (some sources say 1928.) Elsie would serve as either the principal or a teacher at the Flintstone School for 45 years. In a recent poll among Flintstone graduates, she is felt to be the most well-known and to have had the most impact upon the students over the years.
It is interesting to note Roland became principal because she had filled out and signed the application as "E. Hill." They thought they were hiring a man.
Elsie Hill Roland had been a leader in the 4-H program, a member of the Maryland 4-H All-Stars, Delta Kappa Gamma sorority, the National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi and the Central United Methodist Church in Cumberland.
As the Principal she would start each school year with an assembly and state "Work is our Motto! Work!, Work! Work!" She never forgot a face or a name and actively promoted farm life and family life. Roland also wrote the words to the school song sung to the tune of "Danny Boy."
Among the lofty mountains of our Maryland;
There stands a school to all of us so dear.
And there the light of knowledge burning in the halls
Is always shining for us bright and clear.
And if we heed thy teachings to us given
And form ideals from the guidance true,
We'll live a life that is a worthy tribute
To Flintstone School, Our teachers, Friends and Loved Ones Too
When other scenes and other cares their impress leave,
We'll let thy pleasant memories appear;
And then we'll think of friends and comrades loved so well
In Flintstone School, to all of us so dear.
In 2000 the last class graduated from Flintstone High School. The Flintstone Elementary School remains.
Text - Albert Feldstein
Photograph from the 1958 Flintstone High School "Flint Chips" Yearbook and provided by Judy Mallow Footen
Historical Information provided by Judy Mallow Footen, Randall Haines, Beverly Wagoner, Flintstone Aggies Facebook and an undated article from the Cumberland News. Information provided by Footen includes material from Roland's obituary which appeared in the May 16, 1973 edition of the Cumberland Times-News, the U.S. Social Security Death Index 1935-2014 Provo, Utah, and the 1930 United States Census on Ancestry.com.
The 1917 Smith-Hughes Act promoted and provided Federal funds for vocational training and employment in agriculture.
Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.
Allegany County, (Md.)