Below are the commemorative cards created by the Golda Meir staff to share its rich history with those involved with the school.
Golda Meir School was built in 1890 as Fourth Street School. It was renamed and rededicated on May 4, 1979 in honor of Golda Meir who attended grade school here from 1906 to 1912. As Prime Minister of Israel, she visited the school in 1969 and share these words with the children:
“It isn’t really important to decide when you are very young just exactly what want to become when you grow up. It is much more important to decide on the way you want to live. If you are going to be honest with yourself and honest with your friends, if you are going to get involved with cause which are good for others, not only for yourselves, then it seems to me that that is sufficient, and maybe what you will be is only a matter of chance.”
This plaque hangs outside the front door of Golda Meir School. The school was built in 1890 as Fourth Street School. It was renamed and rededicated on May 4, 1979 in honor of Golda Meir who attended grade school here from 1906 to 1912.
As the plaque states, referring to the school, “It is here that [Golda] learned the values she carried with her the rest of her life.” In her book, “My Life,” Golda explains that she learned what was truly important to her from her school day lessons: “I learned a lot more than fractions or how to spell at Fourth Street School…”
Although Golda Meir School is widely known for the academic excellence and fine arts experiences of its Gifted and Talented Program, the longtime tradition of teaching students important life values remains strong. The difference we can make in others’ lives is demonstrated to students through the example of a dedicated staff who work to instill a love and respect for learning and life, parents who support their efforts, and the generosity of volunteers and donors. Visitors to the school will surely see, as the plaque states, “the teachers and the students of this school [are] an honor to Golda’s memory.”
Eighteen tiles comprise the Peace Mosaic. This project is the result of a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant that funded a collaboration between Milwaukee Public School’s Golda Meir School and Express Yourself Milwaukee. Students from each class applied and grouted objects onto their class’ individual tiles, which were mosaics within themselves.
Tiles were then arranged to create a larger multi-tile platform that will function as a patio surrounding two outdoor water fountains. These water fountains had been vandalized and removed and stored for decades. They were recently reinstalled with the new patio.
The Peace Mosaic process illustrated that although each of us, and our object, may be unique, what we all create when we work cooperatively can be truly inspiring.
Golda Meir School was built in 1890 as Fourth Street School. It was renamed and rededicated on May 4, 1979 in honor of Golda Meir who attended grade school here from 1906 to 1912. As the former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir recounted one of her early experiences at the school in her book, “My Life”
“One important event (to me) took place when I was in the fourth grade. I got involved in my first ‘public work.’ Although school in Milwaukee was free, a nominal sum was charged for text books, which many of the children in my class could not affourd. Obviously, someone had to do something to solve the problem, so I decided to launch a fund. It was to be my first experience as a fund raiser, but hardly the last!
I collected a group of girls from the school, explained the purpose of the fund, and we all painted posters announcing that the American Young Sisters Society (we were particularly proud of the name we had made up for our nonexistent organization) was to hold a public meeting on the subject of textbook. Then, having appointed myself chairman of the society, I hired a hall and sent invitations out to the district. Today it seems incredible to me that anyone would agree to rent a hall to a child of eleven but the meeting took place as scheduled on Saturday evening, and dozens of people came. The program was very simple: I spoke about the need for our children to have textbooks whether they had money or not. The result of the meeting: A considerable amount of money (by our standards) was raised.”
It is at this school that Golda Meir learned the values she carried with her the rest of her life. She modeled the importance of having a vision of what our lives can be. Like Golda Meir, our students still learn the value of doing “public work” at a young age thanks to a committed staff, caring parents, and a concerned community.
Golda Meir spoke of the importance of public works. Martin Luther King Jr.said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
Our children are exposed to their first experiences of civic acts and fund raisers, and we’re confident that such involvement will not be their last!
Golda Meir School was built in 1890 as Fourth Street School. It was renamed and rededicated on May 4, 1979 in honor of Golda Meir who attended grade school here from 1906 to 1912. As Prime Minister of Israel, she visited the school again in 1969 and writes of her experience in her book “My Life.”
“I started school in a huge, fortresslike building on Fourth Street near Milwaukee’s famous Schlitz beer factory, and I loved it. I can’t remember how long it took me to learn English but I have no recollection of the language ever being a real problem for me, so I must have picked it up quickly. I made friends quickly, too. I learned a lot at that school.
More than fifty years later — when I was seventy-one and a prime minister — I went back to that school for a few hours. It had not changed very much in all those years.They welcomed me as though I were a queen. They serenaded me with Yiddish and Hebrew songs and raised their voices to peal out the Israeli anthem “Hatikvah” which made my eyes fill with tears. Each one of the classrooms had been beautifully decorated with posters about Israel and signs reading SHALOM.”
At Golda Meir School, where once children came from other countries and learned English, children now learn foreign languages and visit other countries.
What hasn’t changed is that students still love Golda Meir School. While offering a strong academic program, the school has a long tradition of teaching students the value of friendship and the appreciation of others, starting with a warm welcome to new students and visitors. Our hope is that, in turn, our students and friends will strive to warmly welcome and understand others, and wherever they should travel, become ambassadors of PEACE.
To commemorate September 11, 2001, each year students at Golda Meir School now walk a “Labyrinth of Peace.” A figure of a labyrinth has been drawn on the school’s playground. The labyrinth consists of a single winding pathway used as a tool to encourage personal reflection. Every student takes a turn walking through the labyrinth and contemplates, “What peace means to me.” This year, upon completion of the walk each child tied a colored ribbon on the schoolyard fence.
One each ribbon, each child had written a simple message…
For Me, Peaceful Means…
I listen. I assist my elders. I make new friends. I pay attention to someone. I help out with my brother. I share my school supplies. I hold the door for someone. I compliment people’s work. I set an example everywhere I go.
From messages like these, the staff and parents of Golda Meir School recognize not simply what they teach their children, but also what their children can simply teach all of us.
The staff at Golda Meir School teach what some great leaders have said about peace:
- “The only alternative to war is peace. The only road to peace is negotiation.” – Golda Meir
- “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- To all who help make Golda Meir School located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive a place of “Peaceful Means,” a very special thanks.
When this picture was taken in 1969, Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel, had come back to visit the grade school she had attended as a child. Both women pictured, Golda Meir and Vel Phillips, have since had Milwaukee institutions named in their honor because of their important humanitarian contributions.
The Vel Phillips Center, a YWCA Community Center, was built in 1969 as the Northside Center. In 1974 it was renamed in honor of Vel Phillips, the first African-American Milwaukee Alderwoman. Vel Phillips is also recognized for her role in Milwaukee’s civil rights movement.
Golda Meir School was built in 1980 as Fourth Street School. It was renamed and rededicated on May 4, 1979, in honor of Golda Meir., who attended this grade school from 1906 – 1912. Golda Meir was known for her attempts to build coalitions between Israel and neighboring Arab countries.
The Gifted and Talented Program at Golda Meir School was developed in 1976 as part of Milwaukee’s efforts to integrate its public schools. Today, Golda Meir School’s students and staff, who represent a range of ethnic backgrounds, races and religions, gather each school day to create a stimulating, diverse learning environment. To instill in students a respect and appreciation for their elders, classes participate in an intergenerational program that includes regular visits with senior citizens, including a group from the Vel Phillips Center.
“The Remembrance Tree: A Project for Peace” is the result of a three-month collaboration between Milwaukee Public Schools’ Golda Meir School, Express Yourself Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Department of Forestry. The project focused on transforming a diseased playground tree into a community art piece and defining a meditation area to memorialize the lives of children who have been lost to violence in Milwaukee. Each silver or copper leaf, created by a Golda Meir School student, represents a child’s life. The Department of Forestry also planted a live tree in this quiet area to remind us of how we must grow from the lesson learned with the loss of these children’s lives.
“A teacher is one who has a program—arithmetic, reading, writing, and so on—fulfills it conscientiously and feels that [s]he has done [her] his job. An educator tries to give children something else in addition: spirit.”
– Golda Meir
With programs like The Remembrance Tree, the staff at Golda Meir School are educators who go beyond the daily curriculum to give students spirit.
Why were almost two hundred students from Golda Meir School on stage “reaching for the stars” at Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for the Performing Arts? This talented tap dance ensemble was the “kick off” act for Milwaukee’s Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Connection- a local expression of the inspiring dance program featured in the 2005 movie, Mad Hot Ballroom.
After tap dancing became so popular as a noontime extra-curricular activity, the tap dance program was expanded to weekly classes that include every child in the school. With donation from parents and community members to purchase tap shoes for less privileged students, all students now attend invigorating tap dance lessons as part of their physical education and performing arts program.
Through the tap classes, students learn and practice coordination, cooperation, discipline, patience and attentive listening. This “extra-curricular” activity is just an example of the teacher’ “extra-ordinary curricular” lessons, both active and academic, that consistently engage students in the learning process, and results in state and national award-winning academic achievement.