Center School

Note: to see other schools we attended prior to high school, please hover over the "Kindergarten Thru 8th Grade" page at the left and click on the school of interest.

Some of us went to Center School on School Street for first and second grades.  The school day was 9 a.m to 3 p.m. The first and second floors each had four classrooms. During first grade, the second floor had three second grade and one third grade classrooms, the final year for a third grade classroom in the school.

Center School opened in September 1889 and held its final day of classes on Feb. 14, 1969. In November 1971, due to concerns over its fire worthiness, the building was razed.
 
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View from High Street in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore. 
 
 
Center School in 1947 with the hill leading to the lower level. Home on High St. in the background on right. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore.
 
  
 
Left: Miss Eseldra Glynn (1893-1980) in front of Center School in 1947. She began teaching at Center School in 1920, then served as its principal from 1922-1951. In the fall of 1951 she moved to Birchland Park as the assistant principal of the elementary grades and also taught sixth grade, retiring in 1963. Right: Miss Glynn in front of the school in the 1940s. Photos courtesy of Bruce Moore.
 
 
In this 1954 photo, fire department personnel demonstrate their new aerial ladder truck. During the 1950s and 60s, Center School was frequently used to train fire department personnel. Photo by Craig A. Baillieul.
 
 
In this 1954 photo, fire department personnel simulate a rescue of town officials using the new aerial ladder truck. Photo by Craig A. Baillieul.

View from High Street in August 1963. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore.

View from School Street (year unknown). Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore.

The well-worn steps inside Center School, in a photo taken between 1957 and 1959. Classmate Tony Zampiceni is at far left (top) of photo. Photo courtesy of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, 75 Years a Town: History of the Town of East Longmeadow, 1969.

Pupils leaving Center School on Feb. 14, 1969, the final day of classes in the building. These pupils entered the new Meadow Brook School when it opened Feb. 24, 1969 following the mid-winter vacation week. Photo courtesy of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, 75 Years a Town: History of the Town of East Longmeadow, 1969.

Center School in February 1969, likely just after it closed. Photo courtesy of Frank Lacey.

View from the parking lot of St. Michael's Parish in 1971. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore.

View in 2010 looking down the hill on School St. We held recess and May Day celebrations here. Photo courtesy of Laura Moore.

Today, the land on which Center School sat is known as Center Hill Park. This is a view from High St. looking toward St. Michael's Parish community center, in the background. In the foreground is The Quarryman statue, dedicated in 1994, which salutes the quarrying industry in East Longmeadow. To the left is the former little red schoolhouse, which sat on N. Main St. at the corner of Westwood Ave. It was moved here in 1994, courtesy of Forastiere Smith Funeral Home, which built its facility on the land where the schoolhouse resided.

 

Front side of The Quarryman and the little red schoolhouse.
 
Personnel Who Served Us
Name, current location or * year passed away (click on name for In Memory tribute)
Please contact us with updates.
 
Principal
 
School Physician and Nurse
 
Cafeteria Supervisor
 
 Custodian
 
 Teachers
 
 First Grade
Mrs. Barbara B. Feinberg* 2003; replaced in Jan. 1959 by Mrs. Sally L. Spolzino* 2016
 Mrs. Ruth M. Fisher (now Mrs. Ruth M. Washburn), East Longmeadow MA
 
 Second Grade
Miss Gay L. Clough (now Mrs. Gay L. Tatro), Moosup CT; resigned in Dec. 1959; replaced by Miss Anne F. Batchelder* 2005
 
 Art
 
 
 Music
 
 
 
Mrs. Fontaine in 1929 (college graduation photo).
 
First Grade Class Rosters
 
Mrs. Feinberg/Mrs. Spolzino
 
  
 
Mrs. Feinberg in 1953; Mrs. Spolzino in 1955 (college graduation photos).
 
Please contact us if you were in this class. Names we've received so far: Jeanne Donovan, Patricia Donovan, Donald Eddy, Dean Florian, Dale Goddard, Nancy Holland, Nancy Jenne, Lynne Kinney, Richard Mondoux.

Mrs. Fisher

Mrs. Fisher in 1958.

Please contact us if you were in this class. Names we've received so far: Timothy Lynch, Janet McCarthy, Douglas Milroy, Bruce Moore, Gregory Naylor, Kim O'Brien, Bruce Ostrander, Peter Ouellette, Jane Passburg, Richard Pesto, Allan Phillips, Dennis Plante, Stephen Punderson, David Turnberg.

Mrs. Fisher in 1977-1978 at Mountain View School with third graders. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Ruth Fisher Washburn. 

 
 
Mrs. Ruth Fisher Washburn with classmate Bruce Moore in 2013; Mrs. Washburn with ELHS 1978 grads Angela Thorpe and Deborah Heath Rogers in 2016.
 
Miss Royce
 

Please contact us if you were in this class. Names we've received so far: Lisa Italiano, John McLane, Scott Moore, David Radebaugh, Patricia Ryan, Deborah Saabye, Stephen St. Marie, Pamela Sakakeeny, William Scheumann, Gail Taylor, Donald Turnberg, Jeffrey Vanderscoff, Stephen Viger, Teresa Villamaino, Robert Wenning, Steven Wescott, Jarl Weyant.

Miss Royce had her class make a Mother's Day greeting. These three pages are from Scott Moore to his mom.

Miss Royce's first grade class from the 1957-1958 school year. This photo was likely taken in May 1958, when we were finishing up kindergarten. These kids were in the class of 1969 and include four classmates, David Radebaugh, Tom Sullivan, Chuck Taylor, and Tony Zampiceni, who stayed back and joined our class in September 1958, when we began first grade. Top Row: David Weferling, unknown, unknown, Raymond Adams. Row 2: Unknown, Jeffrey Teden, Miss Royce, unknown, Karen Wenning, unknown. Row 3: Unknown, Cheryl Reed, Chuck Taylor, unknown, David Radebaugh, unknown. Row 4: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Tony Zampiceni, unknown. Row 5: Tom Sullivan, Thomas Stewart, Gerald Sawyer, Kenneth Roy, unknown, unknown, Kenneth Hall. Photo courtesy of Mary Darling Studio.

Mrs. Smith

Please contact us if you were in this class. Names we've received so far: Donna Anderson, Janet Betterley, Christine Bortle, Kendra Bowker, Arlene Breau, Nancy Burritt, Robert Clark, Lawrence Cooper, Todd Cormier, David Crane, William Croken, Wendelyn Crosby, Andrew Farquharson, Thomas Murray, Diane Tower.

Center School first grade teacher Mrs. Margaret Smith and students with East Longmeadow Fire Chief Mark Bourgeoise in 1964 or 1965 as he shows off one of the town's fire trucks during Fire Prevention Week. The students, from left to right: Christine Cormier (Todd Cormier's sister), John Douglas, Gary Yeomans, and Sarah Scheumann (Bill Scheumann's sister).

A chair from Mrs. Smith's class, owned by classmate Bruce Moore. The chairs in Mrs. Smith's classroom were the only ones in Center School which were bolted to the floor.

This photo was taken in March or April 1959 at Center School while we were in first grade, possibly during recess. Note the jungle gym in the background. In front: Don Turnberg. Standing: Unknown (hand raised), Jeff Vanderscoff, Scott Moore, John McLane, unknown, Jarl Weyant. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore.
 
 Second Grade Class Rosters
Miss Brown
 
 
Miss Brown in 1963.

Donna Anderson, Mark Anderson, William Anderson, Leslie Bergeron, Christine Bortle, Robert Bradley, Nancy Burritt, Arthur Cook, Wendelyn Crosby, Patricia Donovan, Andrew Farquharson, Janet Gorrod, John Haetinger, Susan Jasinski, Douglas Kenyon, Kenneth Lambert, Nancy Lavertue, Catherine Maurer, Deborah Markham, Richard Mondoux, Gregory Naylor, John Ouellette, Donald Page, Patchen Pedersen, Stephen Punderson, Deborah Saabye, Gary Serwatka, Karen Somers, Charles Taylor, Gail Taylor, Arthur Valonen, Robert Wenning, Susan Wolcott, Gerald Worthington.

Miss Clough/Miss Batchelder

 
 
Miss Clough in 1957 (college graduation photo); Miss Batchelder in 1956 .

Monica Barry, Nancy Birtwell, Kendra Bowker, Peter Blyth, Nancy Cauley, Robert Clark, David Crane, Donald Eddy, Christine Flore, Dale Goddard, Debra Gordon, Deborah Hanson, Heidi Hiller, Suzanne Johnston, Paul LaBroad, Mary Jo Lynch, Janet McCarthy, Paul McNamara, Scott Moore, Kim O'Brien, Thomas Ouellette, Richard Pesto, David Radebaugh, Cynthia Richards, Paula Seligman, Raymond Sheldon, JoAnna Sturtevant, David Turnberg, Regina Truitt, Gail Vagts, David Vennell, Jarl Weyant, Kurt Whitney, Nancy Yacovone.

Miss Muir

Miss Muir in 1959 (college graduation photo).

Deborah Andwood, Leonard Beaulieu, Janet Betterley, Deborah Bouchard, Daniel Brenton, Debra Butler, Cathy Chapman, Lawrence Cooper, Henry Dickinson, Dorothy Edwards, Dean Florian, Janet Mae Grenon, Kenneth Hall, Vivian Haskell, Nancy Jenne, Allison Lipp, Pamela Lutts, Patricia May, Bruce McClure, Bruce Moore, Ralph Nooney, Peter Ouellette, John Quinn, Joann Resta, Pamela Sakakeeny, Peter Shapras, Christine Stewart, David Taylor, Diane Tower, Jeffrey Vanderscoff, Steven Wescott, Mark Whitney, Janice Worthington, Nancy Wrinkle.

Miss Robbins
 
 
Miss Robbins in 1930, during her senior year at the High School of Commerce.

Susan Belden, Judith Bliss, Lawrence Bradley, Arlene Breau, Bruce Cohen, Alison Cox, Jeanne Donovan, Brian Falk, Frank Gibney, Julia Gorman, John Illig, Lisa Italiano, Lynne Kinney, John Lambert, Karen Martin, Douglas Milroy, Thomas Murray, Bruce Ostrander, Ross Overlock, Donald Page, Jane Passburg, Dennis Plante, Joseph Roy, Patricia Ryan, William Scheumann, Debra Simons, Stephen St. Marie, Jeanne Symmes, Donald Turnberg, Teresa Villamaino, Stephen Viger, Alan Warner, David Wieland.

Article in Springfield Union newspaper, Oct. 10, 1959. This is the High St. side of Center School. The fire escapes were installed in May 1959, near the end of our time in first grade. 

Linda Breau (ELHS 1972), Arlene Breau Wolfe's sister, in a second grade classroom during the 1961/1962 school year. A house on High St. is in the background. Photo courtesy of Arlene Breau Wolfe.
 
Memories

Scott Moore remembers, "We ate lunch in the cafeteria in the basement, turning right at the bottom of the stairs to enter the cafeteria. We had to eat all our food. I remember hiding food I didn't like, such as spinach, by putting it in a small cup and covering it with a napkin. The playground featured a jungle gym. In first grade we were only allowed to climb to the first level. In second grade, we could go to the top. I also remembers the long set of steps in the back of the school that we walked down to reach another play area. In May, we celebrated May Day there. One of my happiest memories was being selected to take the chalkboard erasers outside onto the fire escape and clap them together, removing the chalk. One of the worst experiences was being sent to the principal's office for fighting, and expecting a ruler to come down across my knuckles. Because it was my first time in his office, the principal let me off with a scolding."

Donna Anderson remembers the half-pint bottles of milk from Forest Park Dairy. She got in trouble one time when she stuffed two napkins into a glass milk bottle, thereby incurring the wrath of the school janitor, Mr. Carrington, who had to remove them prior to the bottle being cleaned and recycled.

Arlene Breau Wolfe remembers the metal fire escapes with open slats on the back of the school that we walked down during fire drills. Bruce Moore remembers playing on them during recess.

Steve Viger remembers when the metal fire escapes were installed during first grade. During recess we were instructed to turn our heads away when the acetylene torch was lit to weld the steel. He also remembers the smell of the melting metal and fumes of the gases as there was no double glazing on the windows. But we were not allowed to complain. And he remembers the gurgling sound of the water in the heating pipes in the winter.

Gail Taylor Skrip remembers Mrs. Smith in the cafeteria, with that little clicker if we were being too noisy.

Steve Wescott remembers first grade teacher Miss Royce serving as the cafeteria monitor. Her rule was, "Eat everything on your plate or you don't go to recess after lunch." Steve hated beets and wouldn't eat them, so he ended up missing recess whenever they were served.

Janet Betterley Tysse remembers, "bringing my 25 cents in once a week to put in the E.L. Five Cent Savings Bank - complete with my own bank card. I think I still have that card! I remember the cafeteria in the basement and May Day and the May Pole. I remember walking there from Hanward Hill, quite a distance for a first grader!"

Bruce Moore remembers, "My brother, Scott, and I lived near Center School so we walked to and from there. I also was able to walk home for lunch. Upon returning from lunch one afternoon there was a commotion in my first grade class (Mrs. Fisher was the teacher). Seems the Standard Electric wall clock had fallen off the wall and onto Steve Punderson's desk. Luckily, Steve was absent that day, or the clock may have injured him had it fallen when we were in class.

Nancy Yacovone remembers, "I used to get in trouble in the coat room all the time with Nancy Cauley. In Miss Royce's class, Nancy and I would stay in there for the longest time putting our coats on and off, delaying us for school. Early age for playing hooky, or shall we say very advanced for our age, ha ha....."

Lenny Beaulieu remembers another incident involving the coat room during second grade. He and Hank Dickinson were being mean or picking on Dean Florian. Mr. Sheldon, the principal was informed and hung Lenny and Hank on the coatrack by their belts!

Bruce Moore has quite a few additional memories of Center School:

"In second grade, the day Kurt Whitney first came to school we got into a fight during lunch recess. We were sent to Mrs. Smith's first grade class and made to sit in the middle of the room to teach us some kind of lesson.

"Miss Muir was my second grade teacher. Our room was on the second floor with a great western view. Class began by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. One morning while doing this, Judi Bliss looked out the window and saw a silver colored blimp going by. Trying her best to be respectful, but also trying to make the teacher aware of such a rare sight (at that time), she caught my attention with her motions. I think most of the class witnessed it. That was the only blimp I can ever recall seeing till many years later.

"One day during recess I lost a tooth. Thinking about the five cents the tooth fairy would be leaving prompted me to push out another tooth that may or may not have been loose. I was advised by another teacher not to try that again. The ten cents that I got was a huge amount of money. We also routinely brought our pennies, nickels, etc. to school to put into our bankbook kept at the school, where we could watch our money earn interest.

"My third grade bus stop was within a couple hundred feet of Center School, on High St., along the St. Michael's Church parish hall sidewalk. One morning while walking to the bus stop, Mr. Wilson, our mailman, dropped his unfiltered cigarette in the road. There was about an inch left and it was still lit. I picked it up and kept it going. Something in my mind told me to go to the Center School lot where everyone was still outside playing waiting to go in to start school. I guess my intention was to show what a big shot third graders were, so I proceeded to smoke in front of anyone looking. I then went to my bus stop and off to school. My thought process never got as far as consequences. That night I was informed by my father that several people had reported my smoking on school grounds, and were not happy. I learned my lesson the hard way, as my rear end got a few stripes from the belt."

Mrs. Ruth Fisher Washburn, one of our first grade teachers, has these memories:

"Center School sat on a hill on School St., near the center of town, surrounded by homes. When I first saw it, while being in town to be interviewed for a first grade teaching contract for the 1958-59 school year, I thought it was an unimpressive square, two story building, painted white, that looked tired. I was assigned the classroom on the right, back side of the first floor. Of course, it had its disadvantages with the lunchroom in the cellar and high open iron fire escapes on the back side of the building. How I dreaded hearing that fire alarm for a drill! I did not like going down what seemed like an endless journey with my 20 plus class of first graders who had mixed thoughts about going down. Some, especially the boys, thought it was an adventure and a great escape from the classroom, while the girls seemed to express apprehension that I fully understood! In any event, we all always managed to reach the ground in the allotted time, much to my relief, as I had no desire to do it again to meet the time limit.

"Memories of Mr. Carrington, the janitor; Mrs. Thomas, the cook; and Mr. Edward Sheldon, the principal, who went to Mountain View with those of us who were transferred there, are still very vivid in my mind. By the time Mountain View School was built, I felt like I was leaving a wonderful, vibrant educational spot, Center School, when I transferred to continue teaching first grade until a third grade classroom became available. I was fortunate to have bright, curious children who responded positively to their first year in public education. It was so easy to love them!" 

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We love adding memorabilia to this page. Please contact us if you have a photo or item of interest from Center School you'd enjoy sharing.