School celebrates 35th anniversary

October 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Thirty-five years ago, Mountain View Elementary School was considered a state-of-the-art facility for the time and it left a lasting impression on the students and faculty that passed through its halls.

"I remember walking into this building and thinking `it's the biggest place I'd ever seen in my life,'" said LeeAnn Witter-Keefer, who has since seen both of her sons attend the school on Lemar Road.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of past and present students, faculty, parents and Tuscarora School District administrators packed the cafeteria and lobby to celebrate the school's 35th anniversary.


"After 35 years, a lot of people are coming back with a lot of fond memories. I think everyone really has a sense of family here," said Ted Rabold, superintendent.

Attending Mountain View Elementary when it opened in Spring 1962 meant riding a school bus for the first time for Carol Smith Martin, who used to walk to Fort Loudon School, only a block away from her home.

Witter-Keefer and Martin reminisced together about moving day, when students from the former Fort Loudon and Cove Gap schools were transferred to Mountain View. The school was built to provide adequate facilities to students who attended those two schools, both built in the late 1880s, and to alleviate crowded conditions at the Lemasters Elementary School.

At Mountain View, the students were introduced to their first school cafeteria at the new building, which meant no more packed lunches or walking home to eat, Martin said.

"We were in seventh heaven," Witter-Keefer said.

A fifth-grade teacher when the school first opened its doors, Alva Lynch caused laughter to break out among the standing-room-only crowd with her excerpts highlighting the years of her teaching career at the school.

"I spent a lot of hours on the playground trying to stand up," Lynch said, remarking on the school's reputation for being built in the windiest location in the county at the base of the mountains in Peters Township.

Betty Newman, who taught third grade at the school when it opened, recited a poem she wrote for the occasion titled, "Sonnet to a Super School."

The crowd joined school officials and Parent Teacher Organization members in recognizing Bill Gallagher for his 32 years of service as a custodian at the school.

"It doesn't seem that long," Gallagher said, known fondly to students as "Scooter."

Gallagher was presented with a $516 check, a gift from the PTO and faculty and staff of the school, a certificate and a painting of the school and surrounding area.

"Love of the children made me stay," Gallagher said. "I love all of the kids and I've had a lot of fun with them over the years."

The celebration ended with Mountain View Principal Harold Yeager cutting a piece from a huge decorated sheet cake that was then divided up and handed out to the crowd as they went outside to watch a fireworks display.

"This is a celebration of spirit. There's a feeling of family here," Yeager said.

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