Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: SNGF: Your Junior High School (or Middle School) Memories

I’m baackk! I took a bit of a blogging vacation for a week or so while my state pages to digitized county histories have been posting.

Today, it’s time for the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge with Randy Seaver.

This week’s topic takes us back to those awkward junior high school years:

1)  Do you have memories of your Junior High School (or Middle School) years?  Please share several o them.

I attended Anthony Wayne Junior High School in Wayne, New Jersey. The school, and town, were named for Mad Anthony Wayne, the Revolutionary War hero.

My family had just moved from Passaic to Wayne a few months earlier when I was in the middle of 6th grade. After having gone to the same elementary school as my dad, from kindergarten upwards, having lots of friends and knowing most of the upper grade students in Passaic, I was not happy about being the new kid on the block in Wayne.

Therefore, I was more than happy to begin junior high school where there were lots of kids who were new to each other.

I don’t remember much about 7th grade, except that I hated the “new math” and base systems taught in 7th grade math. The staff did decide that one Friday afternoon (maybe per month?) after lunch, we had club class periods instead of academic classes. I have no memory of what clubs I was in and mostly remember it as a time for fooling around in a non-graded elective-type class. My last 7th grade memory was of the home economics teacher, whose name is forgotten. We spent part of the year cooking and part sewing, both of which I liked. However, I also remember that when she handed out the scissors for sewing, she ran out of right handed scissors. Since I am left handed, I was given leftie scissors in spite of the fact I have cut right handed my whole life. I told the teacher I couldn’t cut with those scissors, but she said she didn’t have any more right handed ones. Mom actually went and bought me sewing scissors!

I enjoyed my classes more in 8th grade. One decision the school made, though, that I still don’t understand, is that the staff looked at reading scores to decide who was to enroll in the accelerated math and science programs.

Since I was an excellent reader, I ended up taking Algebra I and Biology in 8th grade, with the school’s intention that by the time I finished high school, I would have taken Calculus and Physics. Not me! I was thrilled to finish my math and science requirements early because I didn’t like either subject and filled my extra class periods taking 4 years of Spanish and two of French.

Although my school included grades 7, 8, and 9 when I started there, life changed dramatically at the end of 8th grade.

Wayne was in a period of rapid growth and a new high school was needed. With the timing, it so happened that when my class finished 8th grade, we excitedly looked forward to our freshman year in the brand new Wayne Hills High School on the other side of town.

Therefore, my class was the first freshman class in modern Wayne history to attend high school rather than junior high. Everyone was really excited about that.

Anthony Wayne was an old school building when I attended it. I’m not sure how many more years went by – I might have been in college – when the school district closed the school and sold it to the Nestle Company, which used it for corporate offices.

Yearbook Cover in 1965

Then, a number of years later, Nestle left town and likely sold the land to a developer who built the Edward Sisco Retirement Village, which stands on the old school property today.

From Google Maps

It’s nice to see that the school wasn’t torn down, but incorporated into the retirement homes behind it. I imagine, since I’m retired, that there well may be residents who attended Anthony Wayne Junior High School.

A new, more modern Anthony Wayne Middle School now exists on another street.


4 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: SNGF: Your Junior High School (or Middle School) Memories”

  1. It sounds as though middle school wasn’t too hard on you. You have lots of good memories. And you make me look good because I could remember at least a couple of my teachers’ names!

  2. Your junior high years didn’t sound any worse than ours. It must have been cool to be the first freshman class at a high school. Were you the only class there, or did they transfer upper classes, too? I think it cool that the school was incorporated into the retirement community. I love that old buildings are saved.

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