1964: West Henrietta Gets Its First New School

  • With the opening of Carlton Webster Junior High School on the east side of town, the growing Rush-Henrietta Central School District turned its attention to its next pressing need - creating more room for students on the west side.

    As 1963 dawned, district leaders shared their plans about what would become Rush-Henrietta’s first multi-story school. The new building was proposed to sit on a 44-acre site situated between Erie Station and Telephone roads. Voters had their say February 26, 1963, and the proposal was approved 451 to 238. At the time, some expressed surprise that only 11 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

    The new junior high school was built at a cost of $1.65 million and designed to accommodate 950 students. Arthur Benvenuto, who spent seven years serving as principal of Leary Elementary School, was selected to lead the new Burger Junior High School when it opened its doors in September 1964.

    The school is named after Henry Burger, who was born in Mendon in 1870, but lived most of his 83 years in Henrietta. An 1899 wedding announcement printed in the Democrat and Chronicle described Burger as “one of the sterling young business men in Henrietta.” Long before Rush-Henrietta became a district in 1946, Burger advocated tirelessly to establish a local high school. For 25 years, he was a trustee for Henrietta High School, serving much of that time as board clerk. He died March 13, 1957.

    Burger served the district well for many years. In 1987, the school temporarily closed its doors, the result of declining student enrollment throughout the district. Those attending Burger moved to the newly named Rush-Henrietta Junior High School, located in the Roth building on East Henrietta Road. That school served students in grades 7-8.

    Within a few years, student enrollment was rising again. Discussions began about reopening Burger, which at the time was being leased to Monroe One BOCES. That reopening took place in September 1993. For more than two decades, the building became known as Burger Middle School. It reclaimed its status as a junior high school when the district was reconfigured in 2017.

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