On Sept. 16, six members of the class of 1957, and their spouses, returned to Cornwall-on-Hudson School for the first time since graduation. The building housed Grades 1-12 until after their senior year.
A year ago, elementary school principal Darren Corsetti was approached by Joyce Gibbons, the mother of one of his classmates. She mentioned having graduated from the village school and Corsetti invited her on a guided tour anytime she wanted. The 60th class reunion seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The group of 10 met the principal outside the main entrance. The first stop was the main office and principal’s office. The space had once been a classroom, but after the Sandy Hook shooting, security was improved at the school. The offices were moved from the second to the first floor.
As the tour continued, Gibbons recalled that she had 15 students in a class and there were just 26 students who graduated with her.
Passing by the first classroom, someone recalled the teacher they had in that room. The space which houses the elevator was once the janitor’s office. On the left side, the first kindergarten classroom was once used for home economics.
When passing the nurse’s office, some people wondered if the school even had a nurse 60 years ago. When the group reached the cafeteria, the graduates remembered the space being dedicated to shop class. One corner had looms for textiles while another had machinery for learning mechanics.
The gymnasium remains relatively unchanged, except that some of the seating was converted into storage space. The same wooden seats remain. The graduates recalled dance classes, which were a big deal back then. The boys were on one side and girls on the other, all dressed in nice clothes and shoes.
The auditorium has remained relatively unchanged. The seats have been upgraded, although original seating can still be found in the balcony. Gibbons remembered being in the senior play and Rocco Randazzo recalled singing on stage.
On the second floor, Corsetti took his tour group into what was once the main office, but is now a teachers lounge. When someone went to sit down, another said, “Don’t sit there. That’s Rocky’s seat.”
Other observations from the morning: some of the classrooms still contain the same wood closets. An integrated classroom was once a study hall with a library behind it. The current library used to be the science room. As they walked through the halls, the graduates admired the students’ work, as well as how the fourth graders decorated their lockers.
The class of 1957 was the last to graduate from Cornwall-on-Hudson High School. While the spaces inside may have changed, the exterior is still the same. The front of the school even identifies itself as a high school – a constant reminder of the past.