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    History of
    Meyersdale Area School District
     


                                                                                                                            

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    The earliest education in Meyersdale, of course, as elsewhere, took place, in the home. However, after acceptance in the area, in 1844, of, the Common School law, passed 1834, a state appropriation of $984.55 to Somerset County was to initiate a subsided school program here.

    Prior to that time, a German school is said to have been taught in an old dwelling on a Harrick farm as early as 1796, followed by other classes in homes.

    First School

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    The first building as a school is believed to have been erected about 1812, near the site of the recently vacated elementary schools. It was a round log house, utilizing furniture of split logs. Pedagogues of this school included Peter Engle and William Shockey.

    As the settlement increased in population, facilities for education, too, required enlargement. About 1822 a larger school was built on the Main Street elementary site, refitted with new furnishings and became known as "Old Red. Instructors included General William H., Koontz, C.G. Stutzman, George Knee and C.C. Musselman.

    About 1861, partly through local subscription and donations, a large brick building replaced Old Red. Erected at a cost of $2,000, contributors to its construction included William Beachley, Peter Meyers, Dr. U. M. Beachley and others.

    Until about 1908 this structure served as a school facility, when it became a community building, housing town council, the borough fire department and the jail. Upon occasion, some classes also were held in the building, with children literally attending "school in the jailhouse!"

    This building was dismantled in 1934. Adjacent to the building, the Grant School was erected in 1896 with eight classrooms and an office for the principal. Teachers about that time and soon thereafter included: A. B. Groff, D. H. Bauman, Nellie Rutter, Mayme McNamara, Maud Stotler, Kate Coulehan, Lucy Anthony, Ida Shumaker, Allie Burkett, helen Shaft and Jesse McKinley. J.C. Speicher was principal at a salary of $75 per month, and C.L. Shaver, his assistant at $45. Teachers were paid $30-$35 per month.

    Serving as early school directors about 1898 were C.W. Truxal, U.M. Housel, L.J. Yoder, S.C. Hartley, G.W. Collins and E.D. Leonard.

    A normal academy to prepare teachers was begun here in 1868, with sessions held following the regular seven month school term.

    The South Side school was erected on Beachley Street in 1872, and continued to serve students in that area of town until 1957.

    In 1908 a high school building was erected next to the Grant Street building. Enrollment in the secondary school reached about 118 at this time. Home economics became part of the curriculum. There were four high school teachers. A commercial course was added in 1917.

    With the state mandate requiring the addition of vocational courses to the high school curriculum in the 1930s, additional space was needed for secondary facilities. A new building was erected (also on Main Street) and ready for occupancy in January 1937.

    By the late '50s the Main Street school complex was no longer adequate for the now Meyersdale Area School District, which also embraced pupils of surrounding townships, and construction was planned for a new junior-senior high school building on Route 219 south of the borough. The sprawling one-story building included and better classroom area, gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium, shops, library and adjoining athletic fields.

    More recently the brick building, which formerly housed the S.J. Miller elementary school, in the vicinity of the junior-senior high school, no longer in use for instructional purposes, was converted into central administrative offices, utilizing former class room areas as offices for the school superintendent, his secretary and the school board secretary.

    Just prior to the close of the 1973-74 school term, a spacious new elementary school of 35 room adjoining junior-senior high school property on Meyersdale R.D. 3, most modern in concept, was opened and put into use, with all other elementary schools of the Meyersdale Area School District to be abandoned.

    During the 1973-74 school term local students also were privileged to participate in a vocational-technical program located in Somerset, 85 local students involved.
     

     First High School

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    The Meyersdale community was the first in Somerset County to have a four-year high school. Its first graduating class, in 1899, consisted of two members, Anna Groff and Ida Shumaker.

    The past years enrollment for the entire school system, grades one through 12, amounted to 981 students. School personnel consists of four administrators, 79 teachers, nine secretaries, nine full-time and six part-time custodians.

    Administrators over the years, changing in title from principals, supervising principals to the present superintendent, have included: 1870 - Middlekauff, Replogle Eichnor; 1899 - Fred Grof, Leroy McClintock; 1890-91 - N.S. Replogle; 1891-1900 - J.C. Speicher; 1900-1903 - G.W. Gilmore; 1903-1920 - William Kretchman; 1920-1932 - Daniel H. Bauman; 1932-44 - Charles F. Saylor; 1944-59; Ernest H. Stuempfle; 1959-66 - Harry O. Wolfe; 1966-71; Ray Bright; 1971-89 - David D. Duppstadt; 1989-present Dr. Curtis R. Kerns.

    Kerns continues in the role of superintendent of local schools. The Curriculum Coordinator is Mr. Tracey Karlie, the high school principal is Mr. John Wiltrout and the elementary school principal is Mrs. Jackie Baer.

    From a program of the original readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic, the curriculum grew to include the varied languages, at different times, art, music and vocational studies. Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the athletic program has played an important role. During the '20s through the '40s athletes here excelled in football and basketball and frequently were named champions of Somerset County, as well as of the District. In 1942 the team boasted an undefeated season.

    Baseball and track have since been a part of the program followed by wrestling. Girls athletics were added in the 70's. These included basketball, softball and volleyball. Track was added in 1991 and Soccer and Cross Country were added in the late 90's. Most recently, a Rifle team was added in 2004.

    In 1921 a vocal music program was begun in the schools and 15 years later instrumental music became part of the program. The school has a fine marching band, as well as a concert group. There are various choral organizations and in the elementary school, music plays an important role.

    Special education classes have been developed and there are guidance counselors on both the secondary and elementary levels.

    In 1910 a yearbook appeared s the "Comet" (that was the year of Haley's comet). Another was published, "Red and Black", in 1926, and since the mid '30s a yearbook has been produced regularly as the Hi-Point.

    The Chatterbox made its appearance as the school newspaper in the late '20s and early '30s, followed by the Scholastic Sun. In recent years it has been as the Raider Review.

    From the humblest of beginnings, through an ever expanded curriculum and building development, the Meyersdale school system is now second to none in the area.
     

    Graduating Seniors

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    Year

    StudentsYearStudentsYearStudents

    1889

    2

    1890

    2

    1891

    0

    1892

    8

    1893

    0

    1894

    0

    1895

    8

    1896

    13

    1897

    0

    1898

    10

    1899

    3

    1900

    5

    1901

    7

    1902

    12

    1903

    7

    1904

    15

    1905

    12

    1906

    10

    1907

    16

    1908

    16

    1909

    14

    1910

    11

    1911

    18

    1912

    16

    1913

    14

    1914

    11

    1915

    14

    1916

    27

    1917

    23

    1918

    24

    1919

    22

    1920

    35

    1921

    42

    1922

    40

    1923

    38

    1924

    59

    1925

    53

    1926

    77

    1927

    74

    1928

    52

    1929

    64

    1930

    51

    1931

    67

    1932

    56

    1933

    69

    1934

    72

    1935

    86

    1936

    78

    1937

    79

    1938

    89

    1939

    88

    1940

    82

    1941

    82

    1942

    66

    1943

    80

    1944

    66

    1945

    54

    1946

    61

    1947

    56

    1948

    56

    1949

    55

    1950

    67

    1951

    69

    1952

    69

    1953

    78

    1954

    73

    1955

    72

    1956

    83

    1957

    74

    1958

    85

    1959

    81

    1960

    90

    1961

    95

    1962

    79

    1963

    80

    1964

    117

    1965

    131

    1966

    114

    1967

    92

    1968

    112

    1969

    118

    1970

    106

    1971

    110

    1972

    91

    1973

    128

    1974

    121

    1975

    108

    1976

    105

    1977

    124

    1978

    115

    1979

    114

    1980

    102

    1981

    97

    1982

    90

    1983

    100

    1984

    95

    1985

    84

    1986

    83

    1987

    114

    1988

    100

    1989

    109

    1990

    108 

    1991

     102

    1992

     101

    1993

    83

    1994

    108

    1995

    95

    1996

    90

    1997

    107

    1998

    116

    1999

    92

    2000

     100

    2001

     100

    2002

    93

    2003

    110

    2004

    101

    2005

    75

    2006

     110

    2007

     85

     2008

    82

    2009

    62

     2010

     70

    2011

    70

    2012

    64

     2013

     64

    2014

    79

    201552
    2016
    67
    2017
    65 

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Last Modified on June 1, 2017