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Gainesville High School

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The following article is transcribed from the Letchworth Starduster, March 20 -1951.
It is interesting to note that this was during the time that the village "High Schools" were being improved under the Letchworth organization, but before a new centralized high school was approved.

Gainesville Public Education
     The first two story building in the Town of Gainesville, under the Free School System, was built in the Village of Gainesville in 1879. The University of the State of New York made Gainesville unit a Union School in December, 1892.
     The Union School was registered as a Junior School on February 16, 1899. It received Senior status on February 20, 1907.
     The Gainesville Union School was registered as "Gainesville High School" on April 18, 1909.
     Among the early instructors were Orlin Cotton, Edson Quigley, William Cornwell and Hannah Blake. The first primary teacher was Helen Smith. Miss Eva Graves was a primary teacher for many years.
     Former principals of the Gainesville schools include a number of men who have been prominent in the field of secondary and college education. The principal who offered the longest period of service and is now retired at his Gainesville home is Charles M. Smith.  
     For fifteen years Mr. Smith capably guided the destinies of Gainesville High.
     Dr. R. Clifton Gibbs, who served three years s principal, later headed the physics department at Cornell University, and Dr. Joseph Behm, who was at Gainesville one year, went on to prominence at Syracuse University.
     Mr. Walter A. Ward, who spent 3 years at Gainesville, and also served as Pike principal, was a long time head of the Industrial Arts Department in the Rochester public schools.
     Mr. George A. Barber, who promoted some of Gainesville High's fine baseball teams between 1912 and 1916 and himself took a post in the outfield (teachers and principals often did that in those days) is a District Superintendent of Schools with offices in Batavia; another former Gainesville principal, James D. Sproul, is a District Superintendent in Cattaraugus county. He was four years at Gainesville.
     The proprietor of Pierce Brothers Mill at Delevan is Mr. George Pierce who served as principal at Gainesville for five years.
     The complete list of Gainesville principals is as follows:
  Silas L. Strivings
Arthur Wadsworth
- Cuddeback
R. Clifton Gibbs
Glenn Hoag
Joseph Behm
Silas L Strivings
William D. Robertson
Jesse R. Foster
Walter A. Ward
Herbert Conifort
Earl Bennett
Charles Gibbs
George A. Barber
Isaac A. Chappel
Vernon M. Brown
Raphael McNulty
Charles M. Smith
James D. Sproul
George Pierce
Helena Bannister



1944-Date (published Mar. 1951)
     The present Gainesville unit was completed in 1904 when Theodore Roosevelt was president, and directing his energies, among other things, to the construction of the Panama Canal.
     Attendance figures for 1933-34 school year showed 89 pupils enrolled; this figure rose in 1938-39 to 114 with a high attendance in 1949-50 of 131. There were 121 enrolled during the 1950-51 year.
     On the 1898-1904 Regents reports, we find the following subjects were offered in the curriculum; American Literature, Caesar's Commentaries, Physical Geography; Physiology and Hygiene, English History, Greek History, Roman History, Economics, Advanced Drawings. (Mr. John Hickey, present president of the Letchworth Central Board of Education is reported as taking a course in American Selections back in 1906. He was then 18 years of age.) Other courses were: Latin Grammar, Ancient History (5 hr. course), German and Physics.
     Henry Dilgard, present mayor of Gainesville, passed Intermediate Algerbra, Bookkeeping and Drawing in June 1908.
     In 1910, courses entitled Vergil's Aeneid and Biology were offered. In 1911, a course in History of Great Britain and Ireland (5 hr.) appears on the record.
     By 1915, probably because of the war, German had been dropped from the curriculum. Elementary Representation (2 counts) was given from 1913 to 1927.
     At the present time, it is possible for pupils to major (3 year sequence) in Mathematics, Science, Music, French, Latin, Business. The constant subjects include English (4 years), Social Studies (3 or 4 years), General Science and Health. During the 1950-51 school year a course in Agriculture 1 has been added.
      Recent improvements consist of 6 new typewriters, a 16 mm projector for the use of sound film, a liquid process Ditto machine, a new oil stove in one basement room, and a large steel storage cabinet.
      Upon centralization in 1946, an extra grade teacher was employed so at present there are three teachers for Grades 1-6. Also, a half time teacher (with Castile) was employed in the high school department for Math and Science. Pupils have also been given the advantage of a part-time physical education teacher. Gainesville boys have represented Letchworth Central in every Varsity sport; football, cross country, basketball, wrestling, baseball and track. Gainesville's outstanding contribution during the 1950-51 school year was to the wrestling team, first undefeated squad to represent Letchworth.
     Vocal and instrumental teachers also serve the Gainesville School; also the School Nurse-Attendance Officer, Audiometer specialist and Dental Hygienist.
     Assemblies are held at Gainesville at least once a month. Films are frequently shown. The Senior Play is produced annually at the Community Hall, an old frame church converted to a gymnasium-auditorium. The class engages in many activities such as sales of magazines, candy, and school supplies; dinners and dances are sponsored. For the past two years the Senior Class has taken the Washington, D.C. trip at Easter Time.
     The largest graduating class was in 1950 when thirteen Gainesville students received Letchworth Central Diplomas with the valedictorian winning a State Scholarship, and the salutatorian another scholarship to Rochester Business Institute.
     "Historical Wyoming", in a recent issue, emphasized the story of one of America's greatest leaders in education, Dr. David Starr Jordan, who once attended the public schools in Gainesville. Dr. Jordon later taught school at South Warsaw before he embarked on his botanical studies at Cornell University. He was president of Leland Stanford University in California for many years, and died after retirement in 1931. There are several books in the school library which were donated by this eminent educator.
     For data on the Gainesville School I am indebted to Mrs. Charles M. Smith, Mrs. Helena Bannister, Miss Madeline Mannella, Mr. And Mrs. John Hickey, Mr. Henry Dilgard, Mr. H.J. Harrison and Mr. Loren Duggan.
News Articles:
May 28, 1953

  At a special meeting of Letchworth Central School Board of Education, May 26, 1953.  The action was from parental requests for a number of pupils to have the facilities of a complete agriculture program, rather than one year.  While the plan is advantageous to Gainesville students, and may tend to lessen the over all cost for the district.  Some objections to the merger stems from the fact, Castile area was given no opportunity, to discuss the influx of students at either of the two villages, thus combined could cause considerable concern, from the stand point of over-crowding,

Feb. 3, 1955
  At a special meeting of the voters, of the former Gainesville Union Free School District No. 9, now a part of Letchworth Central School District, held at Gainesville, Wed. evening, Jan. 26, 1955, action was taken to close the operating school, or the district, effective June 30, 1955.  Following a discussion period, the resolution was brought to a vote, with 33 in favor to close the school, and 6 to continue the operation. 

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