Friday, November 7, 2014

A Rural High School In Upstate New York

November is New York State History Month so thought I would write about some of our local history of Mexico, New York.


This is the Mexico High School Academy at Mexico, New York. The formal name of the school district is Mexico Academy and Central School District otherwise known as MACS.


Front Entrance
Moving to this area in 1974 was interesting for us. One consideration of our move was the school district. Our children were preschoolers at the time so we wanted to move to an area where the school district would support our educational values, and at the same time offer sufficient activities that would nurture their overall growth. We found that the school district of Mexico, New York would meet those needs.

Entrance
The Mexico Academy and Central School District consists of five school buildings: Mexico High School, Mexico Middle School, Mexico Elementary, New Haven Elementary, and Palermo Elementary. The school district has an enrollment of 2,000+ students Pre-K - 12.

Marble staircase at entrance (Mascot- Mexico Tigers)

One of the most outstanding buildings of our Town of Mexico is the Mexico High School. The Mexico Academy was originally established in 1826, as the "Rensselaer Oswego Academy."The name was changed May 19, 1845. It's one of the oldest schools in its class in the state. It was originally a military academy and in 1893 it became a public school.

As per Wikipedia: "Mexico Academy and Central School is a historic school building located at Mexico in Oswego County, New York. It was built originally in 1927, damaged by fire in 1937 and reconstructed in 1938. It is a two story, Georgian Revival style brick building in a "U" shaped plan. It features a distinctive tower that contains an 1828 bell from an earlier building. The entry is distinguished by a two story, five bay portico supported by six Ionic columns and crowned by a Chippendale patterned balustrade.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991."























Looking down from staircase at the front entrance.



LaGuerre D'Independance. Another historic aspect of the Mexico High School was the installation of a 32 strip multicolored hand carved woodblock scene that was first printed in 1852-53. The mural consists of five scenes of the Revolutionary War. What's so unique about this mural is that there are only two sets of the entire mural and the Mexico High School has the complete set on display to the public in one room. The only other set is in the White House, Washington, D.C., but there it is on display in two rooms on separate floors. The artwork originated in France. To restore the panels for display in the school building, $25,000 was needed for this endeavor. The community, alumni, friends, and others raised all the money needed and it was all done without the need of any public school funds.






















































This door is the entrance to the Irene Hungerford Library. 








The Community of Mexico has a lot of pride in their school community and physical buildings. They have a lot to be proud of!

For Additional Information:
Article from CNYCentral.com: Uniquely Central NY: Mexico High School's Murals
History of the Town of Mexico, Rootsweb, ancestry (and school district)
Mexico Village Historic District: Oswego County- Mexico Village
Mexico High School: U.S. News
Wikipedia: Mexico Academy and Central School
Mexico Academy and Central School District Webpage: MACS

Mexico Academy High School (Photo taken January 2014)
























Thanks for visiting the 
Mexico Academy High School! 
Hope you enjoyed your visit. 
Feel free to leave a comment.

101 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, it brought back many good memories. I haven't been inside in many years and it was great to see the stairs and the marble floors and mural again.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sharon. It certainly is an impressive building.

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    2. OMG, the memories!! Brought tears to my eyes!

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    3. Thank you for sharing some beautiful memories.
      Chris (Tassone) Borgfeldt Class of 1971

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    4. Thank you Shari Duval and Chris (Tassone) Borgfeldt for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    5. Well put for my Alma Mater. Love the way the article was written and the pictures used!

      David Chappell Class of 2011

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    6. Very nice, we do have a historically beautiful school! Thanks for sharing! Class of '82 I must get around to getting bricks for myself and my 2 girls.

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    7. Wow! This was great brought back so many memories of running up and down the stairs and halls! Went back a few years ago with my Granddaughter for a music competition and I was sure the walls were so much shorter then when I went there! Never knew all this when I went here! This is great! Still a Tiger at heart !

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    8. Thank you, Janet. I'm glad you found it informative. There really is a lot of historical information associated with this building. Thanks for commenting.

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    9. I haven't been there in 5 years and it's nice to see the inside again, brings back good memories.
      -Joshua Pettit

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    10. Oh the memories of walking up and down those stairs. I went back here in 2011 to sit at our "Bridge" just to find out it was torn down I few months prior.

      Brian Hudson

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  2. I clearly remember the first time I entered this beautiful building. I was 5 years old. I had never seen anything so magnificent as that foyer with its marble staircase, colorful murals, and oak paneling. I went to school there for the next 12 years and am still proud of MACS!

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    1. It certainly is a magnificent building, and I think the students appreciate that as well. We are so lucky to have a building of that historical significance in our community. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Jacqueline MacDonald, Class of '60November 8, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    I lived right across the street from the school for 24 years. It was amazing the number of people who would stop and take pictures of that beautiful building as they were traveling through. When I started there it was the ONLY school in the village, covering K-12 and was definitely a very busy place.

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    1. It is such a beautiful building, and there's not many like that to compare it too. I recently read where the high school building in Holland Patten, NY, was designed by the same architect. It is certainly a masterpiece and I'm glad the school district and community value it's historic importance and continue to maintain the physical aspects of it. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Cool pictures of the school.
      My mom and dad went to that school.

      Ella

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  4. I graduated from this school in '97 and now I have a daughter here, with more coming up the line. The beauty of it has always amazed me. It really is a great place. Thank you so much for sharing it :-)

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    1. Thank you, Kara. So many families have walked through those doors, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, friends and community members. With amazement and pride that this is THEIR school!

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  5. Absolutely beautiful building. I cannot imagine attending a high school with such history and gorgeous architecture. I would never have guessed Mexico housed such a place. Thanks for sharing. Linda

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    1. Thank you, Lulu. There are other aspects I would have loved to include in this blog post as well- like the library has oak paneling, and a fireplace; and the guidance counselors office was previously a Kindergarten classroom that had a tile floor with an inlaid (very large) picture of a clock which was recently restored. So many fond memories for all those that attended this wonderful school.

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  6. I only attended thirty days my freshman year...but now the beautiful architecture makes sense..

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    1. The architecture reflects the time period in which it was built. So lucky for the community that this building is still standing and has been well preserved and cared for by all.

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  7. I love Mexico High School! Out of all the schools I attended, this one was by far the most beautiful one, not to mention the the history in it!!! So glad I graduated from there.

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    1. I think the students that graduate from there look back on it and can really appreciate and respect the beauty of the building.

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  8. As the parent of children who went to school at Mexico Academy, I loved going to the high school for student events. It is such a beautiful building and they do a good job of retaining the historic feeling. The building is a wonderful asset to the Village and I hope it will always be used for education.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. I know that the school district was always conscientious in hiring excellent architects that would plan and design appropriate modifications and upgrades to the buildings as needed. A remember a few years back when the roof had to be replaced and I think it was replace with slate tiles as the original roof.

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  9. Been several years since walking those halls on a daily basis. Much more visually appealing now. Thanks for the images. Was a refreshing walk down memory lane.

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  10. What a lovely blast from the past! I always thought we had one of the prettiest schools in the state!

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    1. I think you did have one of the prettiest schools in the state, probably one of the prettiest schools in the entire Country!

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  11. My kids attended this school and graduated in 2008

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    1. Many generations have passed through those doors. I'm sure your kids will look back on this school and community with fond memories. Thanks for your commenting.

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  12. I enjoyed going there as well but while I did I got picked on from everyone.. but life goes on and I am a better person than that.. learned a lot since then.. graduated from there in 1998..

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    1. So sorry that happened to you. Unfortunately some children can be very unkind. With maturity comes wisdom and I hope that those children that picked on you also learned a lot as well and now treat other people with consideration and respect.

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  13. Thanks for posting this, it makes me feel a bit proud to have spent many days in that building.

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    1. Thank you. We all have a lot to be proud of! The students, staff, the community! We all work together to support each other whether in the physical buildings or the community.

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  14. Thank you Susan for taking the time to do this. I always thought that the entryway/main staircase was an awe inspiring sight. I don't think as students as we pass through here realize just what an amazing piece of history we are looking at. I hope these halls will remain standing and show the pride that Mexico has for it's future. Class of '88.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate it. Unfortunately, the high school I attended is now a WalMart. So I know firsthand, I think, that no matter what school you attend, you don't appreciate it until after you have walked out the doors for the final time. To me, the Mexico High School has long been the "Center" of our community both historically and educationally, and as a community we all have a great pride in that building.

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  15. I attended this school K-12 in the same bldg. Except for one year that they put the 5th grades up at local churches, I was always in awe of the pictures on the wall. Even though I saw them everyday they kept me looking for something new that I had not seen.

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    1. I vaguely remember hearing the story about the 5th grade classes being held in the local churches, but I can't remember the reason why.

      There is so many fine details in that building that it's amazing. I love the lights and chandliers in the entryway, the marble staircase, the outside front portico with the hanging lamp, the wood trim and oak doors, and the pictures. It's very visual appealing. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  16. Beautiful place to grow up and attend school.

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  17. Wow it's been 30 yrs since I graduated from MACS. I haven't been in the school since so these photo's bring back wonderful memories of walking up and down those beautiful stairs and hallways for 5 yrs of my life. My class was the last to spend 8th grade in the High School so I guess you could say we were Freshmen for 2 years! As a youth I just didn't take notice of all the beauty and history in the building. Thank's for the memories!!.....and the Education!!!!!!!! Sandra Jewell-Class of '84

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    1. I'm learning more history of this wonderful building from comments like yours, Sandra Jewell. Thank you for your comments and I'm glad you liked it.

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  18. how the time flies by. I have alot of good memoreis from that school. I graduated from there in 1983. The building still looks the same as it did when we were there still as beautiful as ever.

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    1. Yes, it hasn't changed much and that's a good thing. Well taken care of by the staff and supported by the community. Thanks for your comments.

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  19. I graduated in 1974: Cindy Vincelette. Thanks for posting this great piece on MACS! I still dream of walking the halls at school. Many great memories, indeed!

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  20. Thank you for such a memorable write up. A couple years ago my son was studying the Revolutionary War, and I tried to find information on the murals from my high school. Unfortunately my search only produced a poor quality copy of a newspaper arcticle from the 80's. Thanks to your work I can show both of my children a bit of my history as I remember it. - Mark Hinckley Class of '91

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    1. You're very welcome, Mark Hinckley. I'm glad you liked it. I hope your children find it interesting.
      I had a hard time researching the mural online as well. I know there is more information out there on it somewhere. The principal of the high school at the time that headed the restoration project was Dr. Paul Seversky.
      Thanks for commenting.

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  21. Wonderful architecture and beautiful building. I love those murals and to share the honor of them with the White House is pretty remarkable. You really have a lot of readers that went to this school.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. That's what always impressed me about the mural was the fact that there is only one other one like it and the fact that it's in Washington, DC. Also, the architecture evokes such strong memories for those that attended school there.
      This post was very popular because I have several teachers that are friends and they shared it.

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  22. I've had many dreams of walking up those stairs since high school. I've never seen another school like it. Very impressive.

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    1. It is a very impressive school. We are so that it's part of our community.

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  23. Beautiful pictures. I have never seen the inside of the school as I wasn't raised in Mexico. So glad this was posted.

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  24. I AM PROUD TO CALL THIS MY ALMA MATER I graduated in 1971 with the greatest class ever and we are all proud to call this our home..

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  25. Our high school is a beautiful piece of history. Thank you for sharing it with others. One photo you need for this collection is a winter scene of it with the candles in each of the windows. The candles are used as a fundraiser for Dollars for Scholars. Soooo beautiful.

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    1. Thank you! I have posted the high school with the candles in each of the window in a past blog post. Check out my December 22, 2013 issue "Winter Wonderland" and you will find a photo of the high school in winter there. That picture didn't come out as nice as I would have liked it to, so I might have to try to get a better shot of it. You can find it in the right hand column under the Blog Archives for 2013.

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  26. Class of '79! Beautiful pictures, nice memories. Should include library pictures. Glad it is retaining its beauty!

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    1. Thank you. I was hoping to get some photos of the library, but when I was there to take these photos it was the end of June and the teachers were grading exams in there. This post was very popular and I really appreciate all the comments on it so I'm considering at some point of doing a follow-up issue and include photos of the library and the floor with the clock on it (previously the Kindergarden room and now the teachers' lounge) that was recently restored.

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  27. When I worked up there Sue I always enjoyed my visits to the high school...such a stunning building with so much history people just don't know about. Glad you posted this. Well done!

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I remember the first time I entered the building and I was just awestruck: the chandeliers, marble staircase, oak panels and trim, etc. It has such beautiful architecture, and like you said, an important history, too. And I think it's great that the people in this community have a lot of pride in that building and their community as well.

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  28. I graduated from this fabulous High School in 1974!!! So many fond memories of walking the halls for many years!! The pictures of the stairway took me back to when everyone use to meet at the railing across from the library in between classes to shoot the breeze and probably raise a little hell!!

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    1. I am very happy that this blog post brought back many fine memories for several people. Thanks for commenting.

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  29. Brought back many memories, My gram ( Marion Martin) was a custodian and I use to go with her all the time. Looking at these pics brought many happy tears . Thank You for the Beautiful memories

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    1. I'm glad you liked it Jennifer. That building has a lot of great memories and stories. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. I graduated in 79.I definitely love MACS.I haven't left and love being a part of the past.Everytime I go past the school I always laugh to myself about something.So glad I am a alumni

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  31. Wow. A blast from the past. I haven't walked those halls since I graduated. Would love to go in it now. So many memories were made there. I feel like it's a part of me.
    Class of 1985

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    1. Thanks, Chris Smotherman. I hope you are able to visit it, because the building is so well maintained and the mural is open to the public for viewing.

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  32. Chris Campney --- Wow. A blast from the past. I haven't walked those halls since I graduated. Would love to go in it now. Its such a beautiful place. And that foyer..it speaks for itself. So many memories were made there...it feel like it's a part of me. Class of 1985

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    1. This building and community is so much a part of all that attended Mexico High School. It brings back fond memories for just about everyone that attended it. Thank you for your comments.

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  33. What a great posting. 4 generations in my family attended MACS. Although my high school experiences were not my fondest memories, I always thought the school was beautiful. My children were very active and developed some life-long friendships. Even now, one still works for the school system. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Vivian Ladd Ludwigsen

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Vivian. I'm glad you liked it. So often we take our local "gems" in our community for granted. And the fact that there is so much history with a unique and beautiful building only enhances our remembrances of it.

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  34. Wow! This was great brought back so many memories. Very nicely written. Dolores

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    1. Thank you, Delores. I'm glad you liked it and thanks for your comments.

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  35. Wow! Thank you for the stroll down memory lane. Although I took so much for granted back then, I recall being very impressed with the entry, the staircase, the banister, the murals, the grounds, etc, etc. The building always fascinated me!

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    1. You're very welcome, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  36. In reference to bucky smith comment about fifth grades being up in the churches I think it was probably due to the fire at the Palermo school in 1959.they had to make room for the students from Palermo while it was being rebuilt. I also have fond memories of our beautiful school

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    1. I'm not sure of the exact history of the building with reference to classes being held in the local churches, but there are a couple of recent books on the history of Mexico written by local authors from Mexico- Sandra Scott, Bonnie Shumway, Allie Proud, and Elsie Farrell.
      Thanks for that information, and I appreciate your commenting.

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  37. Beautiful photos! I am one of the districts maintenance persons and district painter, kept these floors shining throughout the 2014-2015 school year! We are very proud of this building, as well as all of the other buildings in the district! We are also continuing to maintain and add to the beauty of the buildings throughout the summer, for a clean, fresh start this upcoming school year! Thank you for taking the time to share this, 3 years with the district and I honestly had no idea how rare these murals actually were! ~ Matthew McLean, Class of 2001.

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your commenting on this blog post. All the staff and community have a wonderful sense of pride for our all our school buildings. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication that the staff continues to provide on a daily basis to care for our students and buildings.

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  38. My husband's family lived in Mexico...when he retired we returned there so our children could attend MACS..A great town and a good heritage for all who have attended there.Your article has brought many wonderful memories.

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    1. Mexico certainly is a great town with friendly and caring people. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for commenting.

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  39. I graduated from this very High School in 1982. The memories of this school are wonderful. I loved this school.

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    1. Great school and community! Thanks for sharing, Jill Yoder.

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    2. I shared this blog post with my Humanities class just now. I am taking online classes at SNHU. I'm very proud of this school.

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    3. Thank you for sharing my blog post, Jill Yoder. I really appreciate it.

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  40. I feel like it was an amazing place to call home at one time.

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    1. I sure was and still is, Brittany. Caring neighbors and friendly people. It hasn't changed much.

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  41. 6 out of 7 of us Washers (Bob, Walt, Cheryl, Dexter, Annette, and I) went to Mexico School and our dad Robert Washer was the Industrial Arts teacher. He also taught Driver Education. The Washer Family has many years of memories of Mexico Academy and Central Schools.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Elouise Washer. Mexico is a wonderful, caring community and the staff and employees contributed so much to the students in addition to their education. Wonderful memories for all that passed through those doors.

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  42. Mexico High School is one of the most beautiful schools that I have ever seen. I am so proud to have been apart of it. I love sharing its history and beautiful pictures with as many people as I can. As kids we really did not understand what a unique and wonderful school this was/is. I hope the traditions are still rolling on strong for the Mexico Tigers. I know many friendships still are!! Raquel (Ondike) Linderman '86

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    1. It certainly is a beautiful school building with amazing architecture and history. I agree with you that kids just don't realize the importance or beauty of this historical building. But eventually after graduation they come to recognize and appreciate its cultural significance in their life.
      And yes, the traditions are still going strong as well as the friendships.
      Thanks for commenting, Raquel.

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  43. Melody Vosseller HabeebOctober 24, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    I started kindergarten & first grade at MACS, but then around 1952/53, the New Haven Elementary was almost finished, so we attended school at the New Haven Congregational Church until midwinter, when we were able to move into the New Haven Classrooms. My dad was a bus driver for many years (Cliff Vosseller) then he was able to work as a janitor at MACS. My brother and I attended MACS for middle school and high school. I graduated in '64, and was delighted to hook up with classmates again at our 50th. And there still are Vossellers driving MACS buses!

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  44. Marty (Sturtz) OwenOctober 25, 2016 at 5:15 AM

    Class of 71. Glad to see they finally covered those murals. And as a Yorker, I remember being in the attic with all the old uniforms and other items. My brothers and I graduated and moved on to many things - but will always remember MACS

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