Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Reva Graves Bradney was Berthoud’s kindergarten teacher

March 30, 2023 | Community News

By Mark French

The Surveyor

Author’s note: Since 1987 the United States has formally recognized March as the month to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture and society. During March 2023 “Tales of the Little Thompson” will feature some of the women teachers who through their strength and determination helped in the development of Berthoud and the Little Thompson Valley.

This series of Women’s History Month articles has featured four Berthoud High School graduates—Anna Johnson Hanna (BHS Class of 1909), Ina Cool Haworth (BHS Class of 1911), Ivy Stockwell (BHS Class of 1912), and Reva Graves Bradney (BHS Class of 1920)—who were linked to the community’s country schools.

Reva Graves graduated in a class of 13 students from Berthoud High School in 1920. That year Berthoud High School commencement exercises were held at the United Brethren church at the northeast corner of Fourth St. and Mountain Ave. in Berthoud.

Reva Graves, the oldest of eight children, was born in Iowa in 1901. Her family moved to Colorado in 1910 and lived in Loveland and Longmont before settling on a farm northwest of Berthoud in 1917. Even though she lived in the country Reva Graves attended Berthoud High School and spent her sophomore, junior, and senior years in the school building that was once located at the center of present-day Fickel Park. She was a member of the last senior class to complete their education in the building.

In a memoir of her life as a teacher Reva Graves Bradney wrote, “In the 1920s one could take a teacher’s examination, and upon passing it obtain a certificate to teach. Before experience only a third grade certificate could be issued. After experience one could be issued a second or first grade certificate depending upon the average grade of the subjects given in the examination. An average in the 90s merited a first grade certificate, one in the 80s a second grade. A third grade certificate was good for one year, a second for two and a first for three. Also an applicant must be at least eighteen years of age and a high school graduate.”

In recalling her entry into teaching, she continued, “By spring of that year [1920] there were two nearby schools available. One was at Red Rock three miles west of Berthoud, the other at Sunnyside five miles northeast of Berthoud … I applied at both schools, and was offered a position at each one. My decision was that it would be best for me to take Sunnyside and avoid teaching my own brothers who attended Red Rock. Thus, I became the lower grade [first through fourth grades] teacher at Sunnyside.”

She taught at the Sunnyside country school for 17 years, taking a break from 1937 to 1952 to marry local farmer Marel Bradney and raise sons Charles (Chuck) and James (Jim).

In 1952 Reva Graves Bradney resumed her teaching career at the school in the town of Berthoud. She wrote, “When I talked to the superintendent about a position in first grade he immediately began talking about kindergarten. Would I be interested? It seems some of the younger mothers had been to see him about the possibility of getting one started. They felt the need of something to help the small child make an easier adjustment from home to school. Years before I had dreamed of teaching Kindergarten. But to be responsible for setting one up would be a huge task. Was I equal to it? Finally after having been approached by one or two others of the school personnel, I decided to give it a try.”

“Mrs. Bradney,” as she was known to Berthoud’s school kids, taught kindergarten for 18 years until her retirement in the spring of 1970. All told she had taught in the community’s schools for 35 years.

In June 1970 approximately 150 people gathered at the United Methodist Church in Berthoud to pay tribute to Reva Graves Bradney. One of her former teachers, Anna Johnson Hanna, was present at the program.

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