The outside learning environment in the center of Roby Elementary School has a new name.
The Mattie L. Owens Courtyard was dedicated in May with members of the Owens family in attendance.
Mattie was a Bullitt County native, born March 12, 1906 to Henry and Susie Simmons Owens, Sr.
Bowman’s Valley School Committee member Gwinn Hahn said the courtyard now bearing her name is a fitting tribute.
“As people who valued education, Miss Owens and three of her siblings, Henry Jr., Margaret (Maggie), and Mary Ann all became teachers,” she said.
Miss Owens attended grades 1-3 in Bullitt County, then lived with relatives to complete grades 4-8 in Indianapolis and 9-12 at Central High School in Louisville, having graduated in 1926.
She attended Kentucky State College 1926-28 which qualified her to obtain the State Life Certificate to teach. In later years, she attended the University of Louisville, then Nazareth College where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in January 1964.
According to her biography, Miss Owens was highly regarded by both students and colleagues who praise her strong work ethic and love of learning. Character building was taught alongside spelling and arithmetic.
The numerous successful individuals whom she taught attest to her influence on their lives. Having taught in several one room schools for African-Americans, Miss Owens began teaching in 1949 at Bowman’s Valley, a two room school for African-American students in Bullitt County. She remained there until 1957 when schools were integrated.
In 1962, with 32 years teaching experience, she began her tenure at Roby Elementary from which she retired in 1970.
Former Roby Principal Woodrow Masden said, “Miss Owens was well prepared for her students. She had a definite interest and love of children, a wonderful sense of humor, recognition of individual differences, and an all-around outstanding attitude. She was always early to start the day, being extremely organized with her lesson plans and materials. She is a credit to the teaching profession."
Miss Owens died July 3, 1985, in Jefferson County KY.