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National Farm School

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“The National Farm School is the result of the birth of a great idea in a great man, the outgrowth of the vision of a man who pierced through the present and into the future needs of this nations.

“The man was Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf of Philadelphia; the idea, that of taking city boys and giving them a thorough, practical and scientific education in agriculture, and thus benefiting the country at large.

“The union of the man and the idea has resulted in an institution which is considered by educators and agricultural leaders the ideal type of educating our youth for the farm.”

The above-quoted paragraphs are an excerpt from the catalogue of the National Farm School, Jewish-supported non-sectarian institution situated one mile west of Doylestown, Pa., which opens its thirty-eighth school year on April 1, 1935.

Between the covers of this catalogue is contained a story which is all the more inspiring because of its cool, factual presentation of an ideal which has grown into a splendid reality.

While Jewry is torn with vexation in many portions of the world, the realization that constructive work of the sort being accomplished with ever-increasing success at the National Farm School acts as a tonic to those who even momentarily doubt the sinewy fibre of their heritage.

“The National Farm School is, and has been, from its inception, on a non-sectarian basis, in the strictest sense of the wo###,” the catalogue states. “No worthy boy has been refused admission on account of religion. Its splendid equipment and opportunities are open to any deserving youth wishing to train for a life as a progressive farmer.

WITH NO REGARD TO CREED

“Though Jewish contributions have largely supported the institution, this has in no measure kept the school from its undeviating standard, which regards creed as irrelevant to its purpose, and which accepts boys from seventeen to twenty-one years of age—whether they be Jew or non-Jew. What matters is that they are deserving and eager to profit by the training offered.”

This, then, is the first admission requirement—that prospective entrants be between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one. Other specifications are simple To become a student a boy must be in good health. He must have completed at least one year in high school.

Above all, he must bear in mind the purpose behind formation of the school, which its charter states as follows:

“The purpose for which it is formed is the training of youth into becoming scientific and practical agriculturists.”

Pointing out that “it is important that we interview only those who have serious intentions of making some branch of agriculture their vocation,” the school administration suggests that the prospective student ask himself the following questions before applying for admission:

“Have you fully considered the importance of your decision to make some branch of agriculture your vocation?

“Have you any doubt as to your intention of remaining for the full three years’ course?

“Are your home conditions such that your earnings are not needed there?

“Do your family or sponsors show any inclination to discourage your desire to train in some branch of this industry?

SUPPORT GIVEN BY CONTRIBUTORS

“Will your health or physical condition make it difficult for you to perform the manual work necessary on our fields for practical training?

“Will you agree to govern yourself according to the rules and regulations of the school?

“Can you meet the financial requirements?”

As to the latter question, the cost of attending the National Farm School is $100 a year, plus an additional matriculation fee of $50 payable only the first year.

“These charges,” the catalogue explains, “but fractionally cover the heavy cost assumed by the school for education and training, board, room, books, laboratory materials and other perquisites.”

How then, is the institution supported?

“The National Farm School is not endowed,” its officials reply. “It depends for sustenance mostly upon contributions from the Jewish public interested in affording agricultural opportunities to deserving boys, irrespective of creed”

After a boy has decided he would like to attend the school, he and his parents or sponsors must arrange for an interview with its president, Herbert D. Allman, at the school’s Philadelphia offices, 1701 Walnut street. If he lives too far from Philadelphia to make such a visit impractical, he may obtain from the school the name of its representative in the section where he resides.

800 GRADUATED FROM SCHOOL

The school is situated in Bucks County, “one of the richest agricultural districts in Pennsylva-

It has a student body of 185 youths at present. In 1933 it graduated fifty-five students. Its total number of graduates, since its inception, approximates 800.

“The plant,” its catalogue states, “has been expanded to 1,300 acres, including many acres devoted to orchards and nursery stock. There are 175 heads of cattle, mostly purebreds; thirty horses, 12,000 square feet of greenhouses, and a poultry plant with a 10,000-egg incubator capacity, 5,000 brooding chick capacity and laying houses for 3,500 hens.”

The training course requires a full three years, twelve months a year, minus twenty-eight days each year for vacations. The year is divided into two terms of twenty-four weeks each, with the student body separated into two sections, one of which attends classes while the other carries on practical work, during alternate terms.

In physical appearance the school is the equivalent of any good small college, except for its additional extensive fields and equipment. It has an attractive campus, modern dormitories, libraries, laboratories and classrooms.

All the extra-curricular opportunities which are open to college students are available to youths at the National Farm School. These include athletics, student clubs and organizations, a band and orchestra and a bimonthly publication.

PLACEMENT BUREAU MOST SUCCESSFUL

Applications from boys desiring to enter next April are now being received. It is also pointed out that prospective graduates from high school in June, 1935, will be considered for admission on July 1, 1935, provided their applications are filed on or before next February 1.

Perhaps one of the most interesting paragraphs in the catalogue, which may be obtained by request from the school’s Philadelphia offices, refers to placement of students:

“The school operates a placement bureau, at the service of its graduates. Many calls come to the school throughout the year for graduates capable of filling positions in all branches of agriculture. This bureau has been most successful in placing practically every graduate prior to the day of graduation in a promising opening at a good wage; and also in aiding graduates to advance to higher work, as their e perience and capabilities increase.”

A historical review of the background of the school is a tribute to Rabbi Krauskopf and to those who have followed him.

“Dr. Krauskopf,” the catalogue states, “thirty-eight years ago was confronted with a peculiar situation. He observed that because the Jew clung to cities, he was everywhere the butt of unfair attack…. The causes leading to this situation were forgotten; the results, ever-present, were condemned….

TOLSTOY TALK CONVINCED RABBI

“In a special pilgrimage to Russia he visited Count Leo Tolstoy…. Tolstoy {SPAN}###d{/SPAN} Dr. Krauskopf this: ‘Lead the tens of thousands of people of your cities to your idle, fertile lands, and you will bless not only them, but your country, and spread a good name for your people throughout the land, for all the world honors and protects the bread producer and is eager to welcome him. Begin with the young and the old will follow’….

“A decision was made: Dr. Krauskopf decided to help American agricultural science by helping the youth of the cities to secure a training in scientific agriculture…. In addition to the tremendous responsibilities attached to this pioneer undertaking, he had at the same time to convince the skeptics, win over converts, and secure the requisite funds for land and equipment, with which to begin his experiment….

“The charter to the National Farm School was granted on April 10, 1896, and immediately a farm of 122 acres was purchased, one mile west of Doylestown, Pa. The following year the first dormitory was completed, and the school was formally opened with an enrollment of fifteen students. At the first graduation in 1901, seven students, who had completed the then existent four-year course, were granted diplomas….

“Dr. Krauskopf served as president of the school from its inception until his death on June 12, 1923…. Dr. Krauskopf was followed by Harry B. Hirsh as volunteer acting president, who served until 1926, retiring to become chairman of the board of trustees….

“He was then succeeded by Herbert D. Allman, first as acting president and later as president….

JEWISH LEADERS AMONG DIRECTORS

“Mr. Allman, a practical educator and philanthropist, serves the school without salary, and has been responsible for its present splendid educational standing, enlarged plant and modern equipment.”

Adolph Eichholz is at present chairman of the board of trustees. Other officers, besides Mr. Allman, are Joseph H. Hagedorn, vice-president; Isaac H. Silverman, treasurer, and Miss E. M. Bellefield, secretary.

Mrs. Joseph Krauskopf is chairman of the women’s committee, whose other officers are Mrs. Theodore Netter, treasurer, and Mrs. David Frankel, secretary.

The national board of state directors, headed by Louis Schlesinger of Newark, N. J., contains on its roster Jewish leaders from every section of the country.

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