Mission to Learn – 1958
New Haven Community Schools celebrates 100 years.
By Jen DeGregorio
Every school year has its own story, that when woven together creates a book of the rich history of a town like New Haven. This year 2022 marks 100 years since New Haven Community Schools became a district and while so much has changed, the Village of New Haven remains a small, tight-knit community that instills the value of education into every student.
The first official school building, the New Haven School, located at 30375 Clark St. opened on February 12, 1922, educating New Haven children from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school district saw its first graduating class in 1924, with 10 students in the class.
At this point in time, electricity was beginning to fill many of the homes in town. Every Saturday night, students and families came out to watch the latest silent film, projected onto a large portable screen from a booth in the school auditorium, while the band or orchestra played along.
The iron works foundry, located off Main Street near the railroad tracks, was one of the first businesses in the area to hire African Americans, many of whom traveled with their families from other parts of the U.S. for work. This lent strong roots to the rich diversity that still makes up New Haven schools today.
In the photo above you see four band students, members of the percussion section, marching on the sidewalk in front of the New Haven High School probably practicing for an upcoming parade. The year is 1958. You can see the original school logo on the side of the bass drum; the famed rocket is still used today. They are all dressed conservatively, with the girls in below-the-knee-length skirts, saddle shoes or penny loafers. Their long sleeves lend us to believe it must be a chilly, yet sunny, spring day.
Today, that first school building on Clark St. serves as the district administration offices and early childhood programs and the district now includes students across 55 square miles, encompassing the Village of New Haven and portions of Macomb, Lenox, Chesterfield and Ray townships. There are roughly 1,400 students in grades Pre K-12, with nearly 100 students in this year’s graduating class.
In the 100 years since the first school building was erected, New Haven Community Schools has continued to grow and hold true to its student mission – to be “Our personal best. Every day. No exceptions. No Excuses.”
Jen DeGregorio manages PR/marketing for several nonprofits and local organizations. Photo courtesy of New Haven Community Schools.