Ella Canavan

On October 9th, 1960, the citizens of Medina gathered in celebration of the beloved Miss Ella Canavan, and the brand new school building that was about to be named after her. She already received a congratulatory letter from President Eisenhower in recognition of her 45 years of teaching, so this great honor was the icing on the cake for Miss Ella. She was a friendly face to every student who walked the halls of the Lincoln Building and eventually of Garfield Elementary School. The echo of her ringing bell rang merrily across the playground to signal the start of class. Miss Ella was unconditionally loved and respected in Medina, and remains to this day, long after her death, an integral part of education in Medina.

Ella Canavan was born in 1878, presumably in Medina. She attended school until 1899, and then began teaching in 1900. Her first "school" was at Ben Waters' house in Medina, and it was this school that established the private kindergarten system in the area. In 1905, kindergarten became part of the Medina City School District, and Miss Ella was moved to the Lincoln building just off the square. This was eventually demolished to become the location of Garfield Elementary School, where Miss Ella would remain for the rest of her career. She resigned in 1945 after 45 years of distinguished service in Medina. Ella Canavan Elementary was dedicated in her honor, and she passed away shortly after in 1964.

Miss Ella was the definition of passionate about teaching. She even taught for five years without pay before kindergarten was a part of the school district. Her dedication to teaching and encouraging literacy is a legacy that lives on in Medina today.

Images

Miss Ella

Miss Ella

Miss Ella was greatly loved by every student she encountered. As former student Leithea Obermeier remembers, "she was quite thin and dressed very modestly" and upon seeing this photo, Mrs. Obermeier immediately remembered the photographs on the wall. Image courtesy of Medina City Schools. View File Details Page

Beginning of Kindergarten in Medina

Beginning of Kindergarten in Medina

In 1896, Ella Canavan was a teacher helper to Mrs. McIntire. This is the first kindergarten class in Medina, located on the corner of S. Elmwood and W. Liberty in a store building. In the years that followed, Miss Ella completed her education and opened her own private kindergarten in the home of Ben Waters. This helped to establish a private kindergarten system in Medina. Image courtesy of Medina County Historical Society. View File Details Page

Garfield Elementary

Garfield Elementary

Miss Ella moved from Ben Waters' house to the Lincoln Building in 1905, officially becoming a part of the school district. She was moved for construction purposes, and was returned to Garfield Elementary School right before WWI. Garfield Elementary is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary (1912-2012). Image courtesy of Caroline Obermeier. View File Details Page

Medina Public Square

Medina Public Square

Many of Miss Ella's schools were located just off the square, such as the Lincoln building which eventually became Garfield Elementary. The square is a beautiful place for classes to walk to on a sunny day and enjoy lessons outside. Image courtesy of city-data.com View File Details Page

Ella Canavan Elementary

Ella Canavan Elementary

In 1945, Miss Ella resigned after 45 distinguished years as an educator in Medina. In recognition of this great achievement, the new elementary school in 1960 was to be named Ella Canavan Elementary. One of her former students led the dedication ceremony: Vernon Stouffer, president of the Stouffer's company and owner of the Cleveland Indians (1966-72). Image courtesy of Caroline Obermeier. View File Details Page

The Legacy of Miss Ella

The Legacy of Miss Ella

The education legacy that Miss Ella left behind is truly inspiring. In 1966, just two years after her death, the Ella Canavan Memorial Library was established in her honor. The theme of Ella Canavan Elementary for the 2012-2013 school year is "You are the author of your own life story". This is accompanied by a photograph of none other than Miss Ella herself. She is an inspiration to all who are touched by her influence. Image courtesy of Caroline Obermeier View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Caroline Obermeier , “Ella Canavan,” Discover Medina, accessed April 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/41.

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