The fifty year history of Hermon School Department below was written by Superintendent Patricia Duran for Hermon’s Bicentennial and historical record in 2014. This recapitulation specifically covered from 1964-2014.
Hermon School system is an integral part of our community with many talented and dedicated teachers exhibiting leadership for Hermon students to emulate. The Town of Hermon enjoys a connected community spirit because of its ability to deliver excellence in education and extracurricular programming simultaneously. This connected community effort is part of what separates Hermon from its competition when it comes to growing and sustaining a viable workforce for Eastern and Central Maine.
Just as the Town of Hermon continues to grow and thrive, so do its schools. From 1950 -1953 the community consolidated fourteen one room school houses to form two schools which, with a number of expansions and renovations, served the community for nearly fifty years.
The original elementary school housed grades one through six while the high school housed grades seven through twelve. In 1960 six additional classrooms were added to the building leading to the move of grades seven and eight to the elementary school in 1962. With a growing community, the school expanded again in 1973 -1974 with the addition of four more classrooms, new office space, cafeteria and a gymnasium. Even with all that new space, the school became overcrowded leading to the placement of eight portable classrooms outside the school.
In the meantime the high school was experiencing growth as well. When grades seven and eight moved to the elementary school, any vacant space was filled with the arrival of high school students from Carmel, Levant, Etna and Dixmont as Carmel High School closed its doors. With other communities taking advantage of the facility, that building also needed more space. A media center and four classrooms were added in 1962. In 1973 another six classrooms, art room and updated science lab were added to the original high school.
In 1995, after much controversy, a new Hermon High School was built on U.S. Route 2. With capacity for six hundred students, the new two story school included a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a large media center and an auditorium. Even in 2014 people refer to this structure as “the new high school”.
Hermon High School- 2007 Aerial Photo
With the move of grades nine – twelve to a new building, the “old” high school became a middle school and students in grades six – eight took up residency there in the fall of 1995. The portable classrooms at the elementary school were removed and the community moved forward with three schools.
Once everyone was settled in their respective spaces, an assessment of needed improvements was performed. With assistance from a state grant, major renovations were done to the elementary school and a few years later the attention moved to the middle school. In 2005 grade five students moved to the middle school to make room for the growing K-4 population. Construction took place throughout the 2005 – 2006 school year including the addition of a multi-purpose room, a music room and a gymnasium and culminating with the demolition of the old gymnasium in June 2006.
Hermon Middle School-2007 Aerial Photo
Of course schools are not all about the physical structure but the people and programs within those structures. Hermon’s three schools continue to provide challenging and refreshing opportunities.
The introduction to school starts earlier than it did in 1964. Children who will be four years old on or before October 15th are invited to attend our Pre –K program where they learn social skills, early literacy and mathematics concepts. Pre-K students attend classes for two and one half hours per day for four days each week. It gives the children an introduction to the school environment and allows a teacher to determine the most appropriate starting point for each child’s education.
Children in the elementary school participate in all the same programs that they did in 1964 with a few additional opportunities. The expansions and renovations to the school allowed formal classes in music, physical education, and library services. While class sizes are somewhat smaller than they were in “the good old days” the work necessary to meet state standards has grown exponentially and teachers work with every child to meet his/her full potential.
Students at Hermon Middle School begin to participate in a variety of extra curricular and athletic activities. Student Council and Builders Club prepare students to participate in community centered activities in high school. Soccer, basketball, cheer leading, softball and baseball teams help students to learn the skills in preparation for a more competitive experience should they choose to participate as high school athletes. The middle school also promotes social growth and citizenship as students engage in fund raising events to support local charities and needs.
Hermon High School is a community centered school hosting a media center that is open to the public outside school hours, annual musical presentations, and, of course, a full calendar of athletic contests and demonstrations throughout the year. Many Hermon residents have taken advantage of the weight room at the high school. An opportunity to lift weights, run on a treadmill or engage in an independent fitness program came with the opening of the new school. The ninety seven thousand square foot building provided ample space for a new Army JROTC program as well as a comfortable, new, three hundred seat auditorium in which community members now enjoy an annual musical production, a one-act play, band concerts, choral performances and the annual town meeting. Recent legislative changes have resulted in major changes to the traditional high school curriculum. Every student must now graduate college ready meaning that he/she will have the necessary academic skills to succeed in a college program should that decision be made sometime before or after graduating. Industrial arts and home economics are no longer offered and computer classes have replaced typing classes. Students in their junior and senior year of high school may choose to attend the regional technical school for classes in nineteen different programs such as automotive diagnostics, commercial video communication, health occupations, plumbing and heating or culinary arts. The high school curriculum now includes a number of advanced placement and dual enrollment classes in which students may achieve college credit as well as high school credit. Theater and photography classes are popular with our talented and capable young learners. The Hermon steel pan performers are one of a very few such groups in the state.
With all that academic activity going on, the athletic programs have grown and thrived as well. The high school sponsors numerous sports teams. Thanks to the dedication of supportive parents and friends, you can enjoy an exciting evening watching the Hermon Hawks football team under the lights at the high school from the superb stadium seats or perhaps from the comfort of the press box. The Greater Hermon Community Athletic Complex (GHCAC), the work of a cohort of community members and friends, also provides the community with four tennis courts and adjacent rest rooms.
With all the changes in the school system there seems to be one or more constants. Talented dedicated teachers still come and, in many cases, spend their entire teaching career in Hermon. Teachers care about the students and value the families from which they come. Many students are from the fourth, fifth or perhaps even the sixth generation of their family to attend Hermon schools. Hermonites love Hermon! Evidence of that love is the fact that Hermon citizens have supported their schools for two hundred years. Parents, community members, PTA members, friends, neighbors, boosters, the GHCAC, town councils and devoted school committees continue to oversee, promote and provide excellent opportunities for the children of Hermon.