Mercer Island public schools celebrate 70 years
October 20, 2011 · 11:33 AM
Mercer Island School District celebrates 70 years
The Mercer Island School District #400 was officially established on September 1, 1941, 62 years after the first students started attending East Seattle School at what is now the old Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club. Thanks to a special supplement of the Mercer Island Reporter in February 1998, the district’s history is presented in a timeline from 1879 to 1996, the year that work began on the renovation of Mercer Island High School. The supplement includes thoughts from community members and teachers like this one by Island resident Marian Poirier, one of many school children that traveled by ferry boat to get to high school in Seattle in the 1940’s, years before Mercer Island built a high school. “It was fun,” she said. “How many kids get to take a boat to high school?” A special commemoration of the district’s 70 years of outstanding service to young people will be held on November 10, 2011, where former school board members are invited to share in the memories of an island institution that has become one of the top public schools in the country. The recognition will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the Administration Center.
More district history, courtesy of the Mercer Island Reporter:
In 1891, the average monthly teachers’ salary was $50. Eleven pupils were enrolled; school was taught only 78 days per year.
When Sharry Broman was teaching at Island Park Elementary in the late ‘50’s and early 60’s, going to school was more like visiting a bucolic farm than attending class. “We had a peacock, a rooster and a wounded fawn,” she said. “People even came to school on their horses. It was very rural and charming.”
Before Mercer Island High School was built in 1955, Island students went to high school in Bellevue, or commuted to Garfield High School via the steamer “Dawn.”