1966: Amidst Housing Boom, R-H Opens Sherman Elementary

  • Are you tired yet of hearing how the Rush-Henrietta Central School District grew so quickly in the 1960s? Just imagine how students, staff, district leaders, and residents felt at the time!

    Another school was inevitable after the town approved 345 more single-family homes in this part of Henrietta. Recognizing the need for a new building, Rush-Henrietta bought a 15-acre plot of land in 1965. It was located in the Wedgewood South subdivision between East Henrietta and Middle roads, south of Lehigh Station Road. The property was purchased from Julian Kheel and David Quigley for $32,000.

    Sherman Elementary School, tucked away on Authors Avenue, opened its doors in September 1966 and a dedication ceremony followed two months later on November 10, 1966. Featuring 28 classrooms, the splendid new school was designed to meet the needs of 800 students. The building cost $1.4 million, which was $200,000 more than the then-identical Fyle Elementary School that opened just one year earlier. The difference was created by rising costs during that 12-month period, newspaper accounts say.

    It was a challenging time for Rush-Henrietta. That year, spending was slated to rise 27 percent, increasing from $5.5 million to $7 million. The significant change was attributed, at least to some degree, to the need to hire as many as 50 additional teachers to work with 900 new students expected to join the district that year.

    Rush-Henrietta’s newest elementary school was named for Emma E. Sherman. She dedicated her professional life to teaching children at the West Henrietta School District prior to centralization. The image accompanying this story is from her 1906-1907 Register of Attendance that she kept in her classroom 115 years ago. It also shows her signature inside the book.

    Sherman taught at the red brick school that is better known today as the West Henrietta Post Office. The teacher’s family was well-known in the community. In fact, her great uncle, Jarvis Sherman, briefly served as Henrietta town supervisor in the 1850s.

    A native of Henrietta, Emma Sherman’s love for children endeared her to many. She taught until she no longer was physically able to do so; she eventually became blind. Born November 1, 1863, she was the daughter of Elijah and Rebecca Martin Sherman was 72 when she died in 1935 and is buried in Maplewood Cemetery on Middle Road in Henrietta.

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