1961: Rush-Henrietta Gets a Junior High School

  • The fifth new Rush-Henrietta school building was named not for a nearby town, but for a highly respected teacher.

    In December 1959, voters approved the construction of a new junior high school that would be located near the northeast corner of Lehigh Station and Pinnacle roads. Projected to cost more than $1.7 million, the final expense was $300,000 less than anticipated.

    The school was named for Carlton O. Webster, a respected English and social studies teacher. He also was an advisor for drama-related activities and served as head of the Rush-Henrietta English department. He was employed by the district for 14 years before his untimely death.

    Webster, who dealt with cancer for several years, was just 43 when he died May 9, 1961. The following week, the Rush-Henrietta Board of Education voted to name its new junior high school in his honor. Carlton O. Webster Junior High School opened in September 1961, prepared to serve 800 students.
    Webster, a native of Canandaigua, Ontario County, graduated from the Rochester City School District and SUNY Brockport. He spent more than two decades teaching students, both in our schools and as part of Sunday School at Asbury-First Methodist Church in Rochester. Webster also was employed as a vinery supervisor at a pea vinery in Scottsville. In fact, his work there was featured in a July 15, 1951, story in the Democrat and Chronicle.

    The building bearing Webster’s name has served our district well in different capacities during the past six decades. From 1999 to 2018, it was home to the Rush-Henrietta Ninth Grade Academy. Those who paid close attention at that time know his name was never removed from the building. For the past few years, the building has been known as Webster Learning Center. Half of the building is used as the district’s Alternative High School and the remainder is rented by Monroe One BOCES.

    Despite Webster Junior High School opening in 1961, the district continued to bust at the seams. Less than 100 days after the school opened, residents once again were asked to head to the polls. This time, they voted to authorize the purchase of land that would become home to yet another new school. 

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