GREAT NECK SCHOOL

April 25, 1957 - HELEN BARNISH NAMED GREAT NECK PRINCIPAL: Mrs. Helen Barnish, presently a grade five teacher in the Lordship School has been appointed as teaching principal of the Great Neck School effective Sept. 1, Superintendent of Schools Edwin Cox has announced. Names of her teaching staff will be announced shortly, Mr. Cox said.

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Great Neck School

May 29, 1957 - GREAT NECK SCHOOL LACKS ROOM TO HANDLE 6TH GRADE STUDENTS: There will be no sixth grade classes in the new Great Neck School in September with all sixth grade students of the area attending Lordship school under a plan proposed by Supt. Edwin Cox. Mr. Cox said that shift of the sixth grade classes to the Lordship School is made necessary because of the number of third grade students in the Great Neck area requiring the use of two classrooms. Under the system as devised presently there will be no double sessions in the Lordship area, he said, with children in both schools attending full day sessions. There will be three sixth grade classes in the Lordship school, the superintendent said, one of which would normally attend Great Neck School. By combining the classes in the fourth grade with 34 in each room and shifting the one grade to Lordship School the present double sessions will be cancelled. The Great Neck boundaries will be: for kindergarten, from Airway along Stratford Road including Chestnut Avenue to Curtis Avenue including Short Beach Road and adjacent streets; from Curtis Avenue, to Laurel street, both sides, to Park boulevard including all streets east of the boundaries to Lighthouse point. Grade one: Airport to and not including Curtis avenue on both sides of Stratford Road east to Short Beach Road and Curtis Avenue below Spruce Street to Park Boulevard and east to Lighthouse Point. Grade two: same as for grade one; grade three; Airport along Stratford Road to, but not including Maple Street to Park Boulevard and all area cast to Lighthouse. Grade four: Park Boulevard along Spruce Street across to Short Beach Road all east to Lighthouse Point; grade five: Airport along Stratford Road to Ash Street, across to and including Laurel Street to Park Boulevard, all area's east to Lighthouse Point.

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Great Neck School

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Great Neck 1956

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GN School 1965

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Great Neck 1966

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Great Neck 1968

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Great Neck 1970

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Great Neck 1970

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Great Neck 1970

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Great Neck 1971

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Great Neck PTO 1971

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Great Neck 1972

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Great Neck 1973

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Great Neck 1972

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Great Necking

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Great Neck 1982

Great Neck School by Carol Bruno Hyatt

The school opened in the fall of 1957. The principal was Mrs. Barnish. A few years later she was replaced by Mrs. Brewster. The school was brand new with all new toys in the Kindergarten. The friendly janitor was Mr. Reap, who I believe lived in Lordship for many years. In those days we all walked home for lunch. Some of the highlights of those years that I remember are walking to and from school with the neighborhood kids, the square dancing we were taught by Mr. Needham the gym teacher, the Christmas Pageants, where we all took our chairs down the little hall into the gym and of course the summer playground where we played kickball and made key chains out of gimp.

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First Kindergarten

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2nd Grade 1959

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3rd Grade 1960

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4th Grade 1961

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5th Grade 1962

The above photos are courtesy of Carol Bruno Hyatt. Please contact Lordshiphistory.com if you recognize some of the kids we didn't.

December 19, 1959 - PARENTS BATTLE SCHOOL DECISION: Stratford Folk Cite Hazards, Ask Seats in Great Neck Building: Parents of approximately 57 children now attending Lordship School have asked aid of the State Board of Education because of refusal of the Stratford school authorities to reassign their children to the Great Neck School in the Lordship area, which is nearer to their homes. Albert Zocco, 58 Hartland Street, Lordship, spokesman for the group, told the state board in a letter which he released today, that the children, many of them attending kindergarten, are required to pass the Great Neck School to reach the Lordship School, "traveling along hazardous highways, with no sidewalks. The Stratford board turned over the problem to Supt. Of Schools Edwin A. Cox several months ago, and in a recent report, he said the transfer would not be practical at this time. The changeover would crowd the kindergarten and lower grades in Great Neck and leave small classes in the Lordship School, he said. Another teacher, not now available, also would be required, he said. The parents say the children get only 10 minutes for lunch because of the three quarters of a mile many of them must walk from their homes to the Lordship School. They also contend that there is room for them in the Great Neck School. Although, declaring the matter definitely an administrative responsibility, a majority of the board indicated in an unofficial vote that they support the superintendent of schools. Mr. Cox had said that the transfer would be impractical from an educational standpoint.

December 22, 1959: DECISION ON PUPIL SWITCH IN COX HANDS: The question of whether 57 Lordship students all enrolled in the lower six grades including kindergarten, will be transferred back to Great Neck School from Lordship School is directly in the hands of Superintendent of Schools Edwin Cox according to Alton Torgan, Chairman of the Board of Education. The protesting parents have written to William Horowitz, chairman of the State Board of Education asking the boards intervention in the problem. Torgan said the Board has voted 4-3 that the situation is an administrative prerogative. The question was brought to us and the majority of members thought the Superintendents reasoning was sound and there was no need to take the matter out of his hands. Cox, according to Torgan has the authority to reassign the youngsters back to the new Great Neck School if he sees fit. The Board of Education probably will take no direct action in the matter he indicated. The parents are challenging the transfer of the youngsters after the 1958-59 school year to Lordship School. Many of the children including those five and six years of age in the lower grades must walk past Great Neck to attend classes at Lordship. In most areas the children are walking along highways with no sidewalks according to Al Zocco, Hartland Avenue, spokesman for the group. The group has held conferences with school administrators on the problem but was unsuccessful in their bids to have the reassignment authorized. In a letter from Cox to the parents involved, Supt. Cox pointed out that a change in assignment would result in: 1) Pupils would be transferred from one building to another resulting in a change of teachers. 2) The classes at Lordship are now evenly divided as possible by grades. A change as requested will overload some classes and leave others very small. 3) Making a change at this time may split families where children presently are all assigned to one building. A survey sheet to the group asking whether they favored the reassignment resulted in a heavy reply that the transfer back to Great Neck was favored. Torgan said the biggest obstacle to the transfer of students particularly the kindergarten class was the hiring of a teacher on a half-year basis. It was estimated that the teacher, if available would cost the Board about $2,000. The request for aid from the State Board pointed out that children are now forced to walk 3-4 miles (including trips home for lunch) along a dangerous highway, have little time for lunch due to the time consumed in travel and that a study made by the parents group indicated class space at Great Neck was available. The plan to transfer students back was offered by Dr. George Gunther and supported by Mrs. Irene Geer and T. Emmett Murray.

July 7, 1966 - GREAT NECK PTA SALUTES ARMED FORCES IN VIETNAM: Governor John Dempsey has recognized the efforts of three Stratford housewives and has joined in the July 10, 1966 Salute to Armed Forces in Viet Nam Day. In an attempt to recognize the sacrifices being made by the nations soldiers, sailors, marines and flyers in the Viet Nam War, Mrs. Patrick Parrella, Mrs. Edward Stockman and Mrs. Robert Schaeffer all of Lordship have gone all out to get this day proclaimed. Just a little over a week ago, the idea of the day was just a germ in the minds of these women. Mrs. Parrella said that it seemed that this big controversy whether we are right or wrong in Viet Nam was taking away from the fact that we are there and boys are getting wounded and dying there. She added if there was one American boy fighting for my family and myself we should go to any effort to show him we support him. As mothers and citizens we are interested. We felt that Connecticut could set an example for the other states by having this salute. Mrs. Parrella who is the President of the Great Neck School PTA in Lordship said the whole thing started when the PTA had Marine Captain Stephen Caster from Hartford down to show a film about Viet Nam. Following this the youngsters at Great Neck School had a drive to send candy, peanuts, gum, etc to the fighting men in Viet Nam. A lot of the children wrote letters added Mrs. Parrella.

July 2, 1970 - EDUCATORS MOVE LINE FOR LORDSHIP SCHOOLS: To keep up their penny pinching methods so that they will eventually be able to live within the budget that had been granted them by the Town Council, the Board of Education Monday night moved a district line in Lordship and saved the cost of two teachers. What they did was to move the boundary line between Lordship and Great Neck Schools so that it would include all of the Margherita Lawn and Walnut Street. By making this change, four children in grade one, seven children in grade two and three children in grade three would be moved to Great Neck School thus reducing the class population at Lordship to 33 for first grade, 30 for second and 33 for third. At the same time the Great Neck population would rise to 22 for first, 23 for second and 16 for third. The savings would occur in the second and third grade where the cost of two teachers would be eliminated. Kindergarten and grades four, five and six are not effected by the boundary change. The approval of this proposal came during a general presentation of the elementary enrollment and room use by Assistant Superintendent of Schools Oliver Carson. Carson also presented to the board an additional space problem which although they do not solve at least took a definite direction.

March 1, 1973 - GREAT NECK TO BE CLOSED: Unless a fiscal miracle occurs, the School Board is planning to close down Great Neck School by the opening day of school in September at the latest and perhaps earlier. A total of six and one-half teachers are to be eliminated in the shutdown, most of who will hopefully be adsorbed into the school system at other schools through attrition and teacher retirement the board said. The School Board will meet Monday to discuss its budget following the February 26 Town Council action in cutting $763,000 from the boards funding request. School Board Chairman Charles Taylor said in an interview Wednesday that the board would try to find a way to keep Great Neck School open particularly in light of the traffic hazards presented to children now attending that school who would have to walk to Lordship School. The Town Councils controlling Democrats have criticized the threatened closing of Great Neck School as a political move designed to engender pressure on the council from angry parents to restore the budget cuts so that the school can be left open. Taylor said Wednesday that the cutbacks in services including the closing of the school will be required if the School Board is to stay within its budget and are not mere threats.

March 23, 1972 - PROPOSED SCHOOL CLOSINGS CAUSES PARENTAL FUROR: A proposal circulated to all Board of Education members by Deputy Superintendent Oliver Carson has created an outbreak of indignation and dissatisfaction among the residents of both the Lordship and Great Neck school districts. Under the proposal Great Neck, the smaller of the two public elementary schools in Lordship would be either completely or partially eliminated as an elementary facility. The complete elimination would involve transferring all the students at the school to Lordship School. The partial plan would involve transferring the kindergarten through third grade classes to Lordship School while the upper three grades (fourth through sixth) would remain at Great Neck. The classrooms vacated at Great Neck would be used to house special education classes for the entire school system. From an administrative point of view the plan would save money, probably between $35,000 and $100,000 annually by eliminating some of all of the teaching, administrative and secretarial positions at Great Neck in favor of larger classes at Lordship. The necessity to save money is dictated by budget cuts which were imposed on the school system by the Town Council for fiscal 1972-73. The new fiscal year begins on April 1. If classes were eliminated at Great Neck, the additional pupils would attend Lordship or perhaps some would be bused to Center School another facility which has vacant classroom seats. Parents and students at both Lordship and Great Neck Schools object vehemently to the proposal. At Lordship the feeling is that there is simply not enough physical space to house the additional students. Parents also object to any increase in class size there, an event which they feel would lead to a decrease in the amount of individual attention given to each student. At Great Neck parents and students also object to the increase in class size which would be necessitated. In addition they feel that the distance which their children would be forced to walk to Lordship School would be excessive, particularly for smaller children. They point to the fact that Prospect Drive, the street along which the children would have to walk to Lordship School does not have sidewalks and is a busy and dangerous street. From a strict educational efficiency point of view the administrations argument that Great Neck is an inefficient operation is hard to refute. In the first, second and fifth grades the enrollment is in the low to middle teens and enrollment figures have tended to decline in recent years. This is partially due to the general tendency today to have fewer children, but two other factors have contributed to the Great Neck decline. The poor economic condition of such large employers as Avco Lycoming has often made it difficult for families to have additional children. At the same time, housing prices in Lordship have skyrocketed in recent years. Thus a house which used to be considered a starter home for young families is now in the price range of people whose children have either grown up or who are too old for elementary school. Whatever the cause, there is now a proposal being considered to eliminate the regular classes at Great Neck School. If the people of Lordship have their way, that proposal will be defeated despite monetary efficiency arguments to the contrary.

November 18, 1976: BOARD OF ED PLANNING COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS GREAT NECK CLOSING: The Stratford Board of Education Planning Committee has recommended the closing of Great Neck School effective next year. In its recommendation to the Board, the Committee also suggested that Great Neck students be sent to nearby Lordship Elementary School. The decision supported by Committee members Beryl Lombardi and Anthony Caseria and opposed by Committee member Gail Stockhan was also endorsed by Superintendent of Schools John Olha. Olha said the schools closing is necessary to provide a good sound instructional program. Currently Great Neck School has an enrollment of 99 students while Lordship has 210. The average elementary school enrollment in Stratford is approximately 325. Projected enrollment figures for 1977-78 shows 198 students at Lordship and 103 at Great Neck. Consolidation of the schools would mean 301 students would attend Lordship next fall. According to Henry Fagan, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Lordship School can accommodate up to 325 students. While primarily based on enrollment projections, the decision to close Great Neck did touch on the question of learning efficiency in the school. At Lordship School the average class size is 23 students and at Great Neck it is 17. In light of the recent budget cuts, Ohla asked if the committee thought the Town would support that class size situation in one school. By combining the schools, Joseph Sworin predicted that about $70,000 could be saved in the first year of Great Necks closing. Teachers currently employed at the school would be transferred to other areas in the system while some positions such as custodian, secretary and lunchroom supervisor could be eliminated.

September 22, 1977 - UNIT DELAYS CONSIDERATION OF GREAT NECK SCHOOL LEASE: The Stratford Town Council last night delayed consideration of an offer by the Lordship Christian center to lease the vacant Great Neck elementary school on Lighthouse Avenue, Lordship, until a meeting between the Council and the Stratford Board of Education could be arranged to discuss the entire Lordship-Great Neck school situation, including the possibility of reopening Great Neck as a school. A date for the joint meeting will be set by the Board of Education at its meeting Monday night. The Rev. Roy Buckley, head of the Lordship Christian center, now based in his home at 707 Stratford road, told the councilmen of his plan to use Great Neck for Sunday worship services, fellowship meetings, Bible classes, and offices. Two offers from the center one for a lease, and another for a rental with the option to purchase the school were presented in executive session, along with the value Tax Assessor T. Emmett Murray has placed on the property. Councilman Robert Frankel, Democrat of the First district said it would be, "inappropriate to enter into a lease with anybody without resolving the original question," of the consolidation of Lordship and Great Neck schools. Great Neck was closed by the Board of Education in June and its 99 pupils sent to Lordship School, a short distance away on Crown Street. The board when returning the school to the Town Council, asked that the school not be sold for about 10 years in case population trends shift and Great Neck would again be needed for a school. The Council's School Building Needs committee authorized a feasibility study for renovations to Lordship school, which was delivered by Antinozzi Associates architects last week with a $937,250 value for demolition of one part of the building and construction of a new addition. Some board members this week criticized the undertaking of the study for Lordship School, saying that it was not the top priority on the boards capital improvement plan. Councilman Frankel noted that the consolidation of the two schools was prompted by a decline in population and a desire to save money for the Town. Now, he said, the Town is faced with the cost of renovating Lordship School, and there was a question of whether a consolidation should continue or if Great Neck should be reopened. Councilman August Palmer, Republican of the Seventh district, agreed that the Council should meet with the board before any commitment was made. Councilman Palmer said the school administrators and board representatives to the School Building Needs committee had sat through the meetings, and nobody said anything about the feasibility study. It seems they don't have their act together," he said. Town Manager Bern Ewert suggested that a lease arrangement be worked out with the Christian center until August, which would allow the school to be reopened if necessary, as well as giving the Town rental income and removing the burden of maintenance through the winter months. The Reverend Mr. Bulkley said no renovations would be made to the school should it be leased by the Christian center and there would be no residential use of the building. He said the parking area would accommodate the center's current "fellowship" without harming the neighborhood. About half of the church members are from Stratford, and the other half from surrounding towns, he said.

December 6, 1978 - GREAT NECK CENTER POPULAR WITH YOUTH: The new Great Neck Community Center is making a big hit with youths who live in the Lordship section of Town. The Center is located at the Great Neck School which had been closed for almost two years. The building in Lordship provides community residents including youths aged eight and up with a place to go. There are currently no public transportation facilities serving Lordship which increases complaints by young people that there is noting to do in that part of Town. Lordship resident Alan Kelley, 15, told The Bard the new Center is a good way to stay out of trouble. Alan said he has been coming to the Center a lot since it opened primarily to shoot pool with his friends. He readily conceded that in Lordship there is nothing to do. Carl Iacomacci, 15, said he plans to come to the Center often. Before it opened he said, he and his friends just walked around doing nothing. Carl said past winters in Lordship left him and his friends with virtually nothing to do. Other youths who were found at the Center on a recent evening said the typical winter in Lordship consists of sleigh riding, ice skating and hitting cars with snowballs. The Center has a game room which includes ping pong, pool and other games, a gymnasium where basketball and other sports may be played, a lounge, a handicrafts room, slimnastics, silk screening and movies among other things. Recreation Superintendent Thomas Knowles said the Center has registered 164 persons so far. Basically they are working with volunteers he said. The Center which offers free use to Town citizens is open Wednesday through Saturday and has varying hours for youths of different ages. When The Bard visited the Community Center there were lots of young people hanging out outside the Center enthusiastically waiting for it to open its doors to their age groups. Lordship residents had discussed the possibilities of a community center at the Great Neck since the school closed almost two years ago. First District Councilman Edward Fennell (R) who represents Lordship has been leading the fight to open the school as a community center, especially for youths. In April at a meeting held at the school to gain input from Town residents about what could be done with the vacant school, Town Manager Michael Brown outlined four options the Town had. The school he said could be uses as a youth center, a general community center, a specialized school or it could be sold. Most of the residents who spoke at the meeting supported some type of community center. Since that time, the Town has discovered the school could be opened as a center for relatively little money as it costs about $8,800 annually to keep the building closed due to janitorial and maintenance costs. The other $2,000 to $3,000 that is needed to keep the Center open comes from the Recreation Department budget.

Great Neck School by Greg Noyes

I would like to comment on Great Neck School. I could tell the story pretty well from where you left off, because I actually went to that school for the final 3 years that it was in existence, and I do remember it very clearly. Sadly I do not have any pictures of the school, other than my old class pictures, as I was only 7 years old at the time. In 1977, an announcement was made that they were going to close the school, mainly due to lack of enrollment and as a cost saving measure, and I can remember the big protest that went on. I remember my mother, who at the time was very active on the PTA and she led a huge fight to try to keep the school open, along with parents of many other kids that went to school there. Unfortunately it was a battle that they did not win and in the summer of 1977, the school was closed for good, and all of the students were transferred over to Lordship School. Then in 1979, it was made into a recreation center, where they had things such as dance recitals, basketball games, after school activities, pinball machines, pool tables and even a weekly worship service, which lasted for another 5 years. In 1984, due to the high growing demand for housing, the land was sold and the recreation center was closed. Less than a year later, in the spring of 1985, the school was demolished to make room for houses.

Anyone wishing to contribute photos or articals is asked to contact Tom Halverson. If anyone wants to write the history of Great Neck School, it will be added to this website.

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