Newburgh Free Academy
Class Of 1960
Welcome to the Newburgh Free Academy Class Of 1960 website. Over the years our class has shown more school spirit and had higher attendance at reunions than most other NFA classes. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we have our own website!
We invite you to register (as 162 of us have done so far) by clicking on "Classmate Profiles," then click on your name and enter as much information about yourself as you wish. It is easy to upload your photos. Write back if you have any trouble doing this.
Once you register you can use the site to send messages to classmates who have joined by clicking on their names. If there are other classmates you wish to contact, let us know.
Please come back to this site often. You may be interested to see the information about and photos of our 50th reunion held in August, 2010.
Mel Lacey firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster
Joanne Affuso Cardillo email@example.com Reunion Chairperson
Last updated March 10, 2014
Listen to the greatest Oldies But Goodies - 50's & early 60's Rock & Roll, Click here:
You might enjoy this short video, "I can't believe we made it." We survived childhood.
HISTORY OF NFA
Located in the Hudson Valley about 90 miles north of New York City, Newburgh Free Academy today is home to over 2700 students in grades 10 - 12. Our school traces its history back to the beginning of our nation. It was in 1790 that the Reverend George H. Spierin proposed to open an "Academy" in Newburgh. Work began on the first Academy in 1796 under the direction of the trustees of the Glebe. (A Glebe was land originally set aside in the early 1700s for a pastor and his church. The Glebe for the Newburgh area was issued in 1719.) A portion of the first Academy was occupied in 1797. The building was 60 feet by 40 feet, two stories high, built of wood, and lined with brick. It was located on Liberty Street and cost around $2,500. The building was not finished until some years later when a court room was included. The building itself saw use as not only a school and court, but was also a site for town meetings and political organizations.
The first record of a teacher employed was in 1799 when Samuel Nicholson was hired. The Academy had only one teacher during its first eight years of existence. In 1807 management of the school passed from the hands of the trustees of the Glebe to a regularly incorporated Board of Trustees. At that time a tuition of $2.50 was charged per quarter for the study of writing and arithmetic. $5.00 was charged per quarter for a scholar studying Greek, Latin or French. In 1807 Richard A. Thompson was employed as principal. He lived in the school rent free and was paid $100 at the end of the year. He also received all money arising from the tuition of scholars attending the Academy. A Female Department was established at the Academy in 1809. Reading, writing, sewing, and drawing were taught. On April 6, 1852 the New York State Legislature authorized the establishment and organization of free schools in Newburgh. Within a month free education was introduced into what was then the village of Newburgh. The Academy then came under the control of the Board of Education as the senior department of the Newburgh Public Schools. In 1871 a three year course of study was arranged, at the completion of which students were required to take a written examination. Those who passed the examination were granted diplomas as graduates. The first Commencement Exercises were held on April 28, 1871, and included the participation of a Salutatorian and Valedictorian.
Ten years after the first official Commencement Exercises the Academy had outgrown itself. A "new" Academy was built on Montgomery Street in 1886 for around $70,000. On September 2, 1886 201 students registered for classes at the "new" Academy, which now housed grammar and academic classes. The Montgomery Street building consisted of twelve school rooms, a large assembly room, a drawing room, a laboratory, an annex, and janitor's quarters. Each school room contained desks for 45 students, and was equipped with countersunk ink wells, black boards, closets, and electric bells. It was also during 1886 that "the free book system" was adopted by the Board. On July 7, 1889 the Board received a certificate of admission of the Academy to the University of the State of New York. Soon afterwards a definitive standard was established for graduation, and the high school course was extended to four years. In September of that year the department plan of teaching, that is assigning teachers to subjects rather than to grades, was adopted. These were the courses of study: English, Scientific, Latin-Scientific, and Classical. In 1886 corporal punishment was abolished. A superintendent's report says that "the unlimited use of the rod is certainly not desirable." Six years after moving into its "new" Montgomery Street building the Academy adopted its school colors: navy blue and gold.
Compulsory education laws such as those of 1894, and increasing population in our city resulted in an enlarged high school enrollment. The need for a larger and more modern building was becoming increasingly evident as our school and country entered the 20th century. In 1926 construction began on a seven acre lot at the corner of Fullerton Avenue and South Street for a million dollar building, which was to accommodate 1,500 students. (All three Academy buildings were built within the original Glebe boundaries.) On January 23, 1928 the first classes were held in the present Newburgh Free Academy building. In 1931 the annex was added to the building, adding dressing rooms, a music room, and an additional place for gym work.
In the first ten years of its occupancy pupil enrollment grew from about 1,100 to more than 2,200. The teaching staff increased from 39 to more than 75. To relieve the overcrowding Columbia University Teachers College recommended that two new junior high schools should be built in order to keep Newburgh up with the times. In spite of the Great Depression, two schools, North Junior High School which still stands and operates on Route 9W and South Junior High School which also still stands and operates on Monument Street, were built with the aid of a 45% grant from the Public Works Administration. In 1937 both buildings were dedicated, and the Academy began to see its enrollment drop back to around 1,500 pupils.
By 1960 building capacity at the Fullerton Avenue location once again was exceeded and in 1964 the North Wing was constructed. The wing includes a lecture room and planetarium.
In 2002 NFA added more classrooms to the rear of the Science Wing. It is referred to as the "West Wing".
Yet throughout its 202 year existence:
". . . Newburgh Free Academy symbolizes the ideals of the many noble men and women who conceived and nurtured it through these many years. Let us hope that the inspiration of their many ideals will light the way for youth for an untold number of years to come. May its future be even more distinguished than its past." ---- Courtesy of the 1940 Newburgh Free Academy Yearbook