School History

Washington School History

written by

Mrs. Alda Kaufman and Mr. John Peraino

The southwestern part of Hawthorne, known as Ashley Heights, had been provided with two of the older schools in the borough, one of which dated back to the pre-civil war days. Washington school located at 152 Mohawk Avenue and North Seventeenth Street is the modern successor to the first school to have been built within the confines of the present borough; although it is some distance away from the original site. In 1928, the borough purchased the plot of ground comprising 2.4 acres at a cost of $1,400.00 in anticipation of a new school. During the following March 1929, the citizens of Hawthorne voted to build the school and approved $190,000 for the building, furniture, and equipment. A contract was made with the firm of Fanning and Shaw who supervised the design and construction of the new Washington School. The cornerstone was laid in 1929 and by June 1931, the school was ready for classes from kindergarten to the fifth grade. Ultimately, the sixth and seventh grades were transferred from Franklin School and the first graduation held in June 1932, eliminating the use of the former Washington school building on Goffle Road. The old building was then sold to Nicholas Feliciano for $5,625.00.

Increased facilities became necessary with the growth of the borough and in 1940; a classroom was constructed in the basement of Washington School for special children, followed by a manual training room, domestic science room, and a gymnasium, to bring the school building up to date. In 1995 another addition was added to the Washington school. A new multipurpose room, a kindergarten room, four classrooms, four special classrooms, six bathrooms, and an elevator were constructed through a referendum for $1,200,000.00. In 1945, there were 165 pupils from kindergarten to the eighth grade; in 1964, 275 were enrolled. Today in 2005-2006, 237 students are enrolled in Washington school in grades K to five, respectively.

At the time that the new school was opened Miss Elizabeth Terhune was the principal and upon her retirement in 1939 Miss Edith Greenough who retired in 1968 succeeded her. Mr.William La Russo served as principal until 1973. Mr. Joseph Vitale served as principal until 1980. Dr. Joan Hall was principal until 1984. Dr. Gerard J. Mc Donnell served as principal until 1988. Mr. Robert Masiello was principal until his retirement in 1993 and Mr. John Peraino III since 1993. From October of 2006 through February of 2010, Mrs. Michelle V. Gadaleta served as principal until Mrs. Gina G. Aliano was appointed as the principal in July of 2010. Mrs. Susan Spinelli is the current principal of Washington School.

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