1950s: Curious Visitors Flock to New R-H School

  • When the Rush-Henrietta Central School District was still new 70 years ago, it drew wide-eyed attention from admirers near and far. The Rush-Henrietta Central School, known today as Roth Junior High School, was considered the state’s most modern when it welcomed its first students.

    Word of the innovative new school spread around the state and the world. In November 1951, three school architects and a vice superintendent of schools from Japan visited Rush-Henrietta. They were on a three-month tour to study schools throughout the United States. According to a Democrat and Chronicle story, “the foursome was sure Rush-Henrietta school was the latest word in the breathtaking, super-modern structures they have found in America.”

    Our new K-12 school, located on East Henrietta Road, was filled with modern features making it the envy of other communities. Eijiro Nishimura, affiliated with the Board of Education in Otsu, Japan, said the most remarkable feature of the new schools was its radiant heating. The school was believed to be the only one of its size in New York to feature that type of heating system.

    The following year, in 1952, guests from Thailand visited the Rush-Henrietta Central School. B. Attagara, the nation’s secretary-general of Foreign Relations in the Ministry of Education, and Abhai Chandavimol, director general of elementary and adult education, were our guests. They took part in a luncheon with Dr. John Parker and toured the new building. They wanted to study the education system in place in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District.

    Closer to home, three-dozen residents of the Susquehanna School District, near Binghamton, N.Y., visited Rush-Henrietta in 1952. At the time, that district was deciding how to deal with overcrowding in its school and planned a trip here for inspiration.

    In addition, R-H was featured in a full-page advertisement in the March 16, 1953, issue of Time magazine. “The Rush-Henrietta Central School was built at a cost of 62 cents per cubic foot which is low compared to other recent public schools in this area,” the ad said. “Yet the building has radiant heat, ventilation, glazed tile wainscot, terrazzo floors, metal acoustic ceilings in corridors, and Thermopane insulating glass.”

    What more could a new school district want?

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