Page 16 - Wallingford Magazine Holiday 2019
P. 16

  South Main Street School
The Schools
an Historic Perspective
Joe Pajor grew up in Wallingford and has a life- long passion for the stories, people, and places of our town. He has contributed several stories to this publi- cation over the past three years and here is another one to enjoy and learn from.
Tarn Granucci, Editor
by Joe Pajor
At age 72, as I reflect on my life’s journey, I now appreciate my Wallingford public school education. I did not give it much thought back then in the 50s and 60s. Attending school was not an option given to me by my parents, therefore I simply walked or took a bus to whatever school I was told to attend. I did not question why I went to different schools. All I focused on was getting good grades to avoid my father’s wrath. [Never doubt that fear is a big motivator]
I have come to appreciate my Wallingford edu- cation in so many ways. This includes the opportu- nity to experience so many schools.
I now realize I was part of a tsunami enrollment spurt caused by the post-World War II baby boomer generation. This must have been a huge unantici- pated challenge for the Wallingford Board of Edu- cation. It helps explain why I went to 6 different schools while only moving once within Wallingford during my 13 years enrollment.
Looking back just 10 years from my 1965 Lyman Hall High School [LHHS] graduating class, you see the significant sudden growth spurt in senior gradu- ation class size.
These numbers are based on 1955-1965 LHHS se-
 nior yearbook photos. During this 10-year window, the senior class size spiked 321 percent. The Class of ’65 size spiked alone 29 percent over the Class of ‘64 .
This spurt did not start in 1965. It first appeared in the1950s when my classmates at age five first en- tered Wallingford kindergartens. The Wallingford Board of Education must have been blindsided when wave after wave of kindergarteners suddenly registered for school.
The Wallingford Board of Education must have faced unprecedented pressures during the 1950s. Challenges included rapid planning for new schools, property location and acquisition, classroom sizing, double sessions, securing teachers and supplies. These challenges continued into the 1960s.
Wallingford certainly was not alone dealing with this spurt. The baby boomers were affecting all Connecticut and other highly populated states. It must have been a good time to obtain a degree in education, since teaching positions exponentiality increased as well during this relatively short period.
Wallingford Magazine – Holiday, 2019

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