Pine Grove Schools Then VS Now

A picture of The Pine Grove Area High School, built in 1956.

Shyla Brown, Opinion Editor

Before our current High School was opened on April 3, 1956, there were two other schools before its time that had occupied students. 

After the 1834 Common School System Act had passed, it was adopted in Pine Grove in 1837. Residents were in favor of building a school and in 1858 the first brick school was built on Mill Street. The School continued to grow and  occupy  more students and the number of studies increased, which made the need for more teachers apparent. Many courses and clubs were added to the curriculum such as, Public Speaking, Glee Club, Stamp Club, and a school Newspaper titled The Pine Cone. 

Prior to the election in 1926, talk of a new site for a school became apparent. On October 1, 1928, the Pine Grove Borough School opened on High Street. The two story school consisted of 10 rooms, an auditorium, etc. During the next few years, High School Sports teams would be created. The first Girls basketball team was introduced in 1930, and football had begun three years prior in 1927. The Glee Club and Orchestra participated in many school functions and in 1946 the Orchestra members began to train on band instruments. The first Band spring concert was held on April 26, 1950. 

Robert Becker is a member of the 1950 graduating class. There were only 51 people in his class. During his time in high school, students would take 1 of the 4 types of classes available; FFA, Academic, Industrial, and Home Economics. “All the boys took Industrial and the girls took Home Economics,” said Becker. Students would walk to school every day because there were no school buses. Becker said that during high school his favorite teacher was John Musherman. Although there weren’t many sports teams during and after WW2 due to the male students leaving to fight, Becker enjoyed playing two sports. “I played both baseball and basketball,” said Becker.  

The school’s newspaper, The Pine Cone, had something new to cover, the new Pine Grove Area High School. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school was held on August 7, 1954 and on April 3, 1956 the school opened its doors. This is now the current High School. 

When students moved from the first school on Mill Street, to the one on High Street, the first school became the Elementary School and the one on High Street became the High School. When our current school was completed in 1956, the school on High Street then became the Elementary School, which was in use until 1994 when the current Elementary School was opened. The school on High Street then was turned into a Nursing Home known as SchoolYard Square. The Pine Grove Area Middle School did not open until the mid 1960s. 

The first school on Mill Street was the first of three schools and was the beginning of a new era. Before these schools, kids would attend small room schoolhouses,within  walking distances from their homes. This school led us to where we are today. 

Information from the book titled Pine Grove Area Borough Schools And Related Data written by Pearl Rhein Kreichbaum.