Diamond jubilee

GERRY – The Cassadaga Valley Central School District is hosting a three-day celebration of its 75 years of existence this weekend.

On Friday, the district welcomed students, staff, administration, alumni and community members to a 10 a.m. opening ceremony as it reflected on its beginnings in the 1938-39 school year.

The anniversary celebration was coordinated by the Cassadaga Valley 75th anniversary committee along with its chairperson, Sally Lawson. According to Lawson, the celebration will serve as a continuation of a tradition of recognizing important milestones in the history of the district.

“We had a 50th anniversary celebration because we wanted to celebrate that we had a district for that long. So it seemed pretty important to celebrate the 75th, not knowing where we’re going at this point,” Lawson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people, and we have lots of people already here this morning. We’re just a very proud school district. Everybody who went here feels a lot of pride in what they do, and where they came from. Maybe moreso than a larger school.”

Providing insight to the circumstances behind the formation of the district was Carl Perry, current president and 18-year member of the Board of Education, who said it primarily came about through the consolidation of 31 area schools.

“Seventy-five years ago, in September of 1938, a vote was taken that would centralize the surrounding one-room schoolhouses to create one large education system. This was done at the urging of the state Education Department. The vote passed, and Cassadaga Valley Central School was born,” Perry said.

Scott Smith, district superintendent, also underscored the significance of celebrating the district’s past to members of its present student body.

“This is a special time for all of us, and I feel blessed to be your superintendent at this time of our school district’s 75th anniversary,” Smith said as he turned his attention to the students in attendance. “One of the things that I hope you recognize here as students, although you may not recognize at this point in time, is that, long after you graduate from here, you will always have a very special and fond place in your heart for Cassadaga Valley middle/high school. I hope to see all of you here 25 years from now, and perhaps we can extend this out to a 125-year celebration.”

Also in attendance was the Cassadaga American Legion Post 1280, which dedicated a former Cassadaga High School bell – which was in service from 1909-39 – and a plaque honoring former students and faculty who partook in military service. Smith said the plaque will remain temporarily affixed to the school building until the necessary funds are raised to create a permanent flag pole monument behind the school, upon which the plaque will then be mounted.

Celebrations will continue today with tours of the middle/high school building at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. There will be a varsity football game at 1:30 p.m., two dinner services from 4:30-6:30 p.m., a band and choral event at 7 p.m. and prom which will be held in the old gymnasium from 8:30-10:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the committee will host an ecumenical service and brunch at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively.

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