SINCLAIRVILLE - The coming year will mark the Cassadaga Valley Central School district's 75th anniversary.
The school opened in 1938 when a centralized district was adopted to incorporate towns and small school districts in the Cassadaga Valley area. The state Education Department encouraged centralization due to changing enrollments in schools and to provide greater education possibilities to students. The change would be from one-room schools to a building housing many grade levels of students and offer subjects not possible in the smaller schools. Some schools were already bussing high school students to other districts so they students could receive a wider education. In a vote on Sept. 6, 1938, farm work stopped, businesses closed and there was very little happening in the area as voting took place. When the polls closed, the voting was in favor of centralization. The centralization would bring together four towns and 31 school districts to form the Cassadaga Valley School District.
In 1989, a committee met and planned a 50-year celebration of the centralization of the Cassadaga Valley School District. A new committee is building on the foundation of the 50-year committee.
Shown at a recent planning sessions are, standing: Susan Washington Sipos, Carl Perry, Marie Bulger Martin, Walter Waite, Heather Carlson Nocero, Susanna Strong Lawson, Phil Bens, and Alyssa Merrill. Seated are Mary Bernard Holton, Dr. DiDomenico-Sorrento, Viola Schroeder Dorman and Danyal Maloy Dahl.
A committee was created by Sally Weatherford Lawson, a former Cassadaga Valley graduate and retired teacher, to remember the centralization process. With a group of people working together, plans are being formulated for a celebration of events to occur from Oct. 11-13. No specific date is being remembered for this celebration, rather the anniversary will celebrate 75 years of working together in the Cassadaga Valley area. Some of the events include a historical display in one of the rooms, a dance, a memory booklet, a band concert and to remember those people who served in the military.
Walter Waite, a historian and graduate of Cassadaga Valley, gave a detailed listing of dates from the 1938 vote, to placing the large sign with his uncle P. Walter Fredrickson, Elmer Nutt and Clarence Ames, to the placement of the cornerstone, the first graduating class, the first class in the fall and the first yearbook. When Waite began to speak, he said, "I hope all have a sharpened pencil to take notes." With that Mary Bernard Holton, also a Cassadaga graduate, raised her left hand holding a bundle of sharpened pencils.
The committee is composed of many Cassadaga Valley School district graduates, school personnel and interested community members. Participating with Lawson are school graduates Carl Perry, who is also a Cassadaga Valley Central School board member; Peggy Frick Heath, Diane Shaw, Karole Bernard Lawson, Darla Okerlund Frost-Kianos, Vicki Swanson Martin, Marcy Powers Miller, Stephanie Fairbanks Crabtree, Susan Washington Sipos, Heather Carlson Nocero, Marie Bulger Martin, Susanna Strong Lawson, Mary Bernard Holton, Viola Schroeder Dorman, Danyal Maloy Dahl, Phil Bens and Waite.
Other members include Scott Smith, district superintendent; Dr. DiDomenico-Sorrento, high school principal; Deb Ulrich, a school employee; Alyssa Merrill, a junior; and John Sipos, Cassadaga historian.
The committee is long from finalizing details for the 75th year celebration, which meets monthly on the first Thursday of each month at the school at 7 p.m. Anyone interested is welcome to participate.