THOMASTON — The Center School was in full celebration mode on Thursday evening, May 30 during its 80th anniversary of learning. Festivities included a catered barbeque dinner, scavenger hunts and live performances by the Center School Band, with a welcome address beginning at 5 p.m. inside the auditorium.

Rebecca Guay, chair of the Thomaston Board of Education, greeted parents, students, faculty and guests.

Superintendent of Schools Francine Coss read an editorial piece from the 1940 yearbook, which characterized Center School during the mid-20th century as a state-of-the-art institution.

The school has served generations of Thomaston families, many of whom graduated from its inaugural Class of 1939.

Before issuing a proclamation commemorating the occasion, First Selectman Edmond V. Mone noted that many family names remain a part of the Thomaston historical tradition. 

Kristin Mosimann, vice chair of the Thomaston Historic Commission, offered a look back at the historical importance of Thomaston in relation to the Center School and its revolutionary advancements for education.

Ms. Mosimann explained that aside from academics, the Center School offered vocational programs in industrial training and home economics, which was a major accomplishment for the institution, especially in comparison to surrounding towns that lacked such alternative options. 

Ms. Mosimann noted various transitions Center School went through as an educational institution. 

Accommodating high school students until the 1970s, the school currently educates students in grades 4 to 6.

She also recalled how 500 people attended a Board of Education meeting and that grammar was formally added to the academic curriculum in 1855.

Center School was built on a plot of land once owned by Thomaston clockmaker Seth Thomas. The newest facility was built through a grant from the state of Connecticut.

Before leaving the stage, Ms. Mosimann praised Principal Kristin Bernier and her mission to preserve Thomaston’s local history.

Following the welcome address, parents and students left the auditorium to visit a series of classrooms highlighting the history of the school since its founding.

Each classroom was assigned a decade, from the 1930s until the present. Elaborate posters, costumes, backdrops and interactive scenes provided a showcase of students’ hard work and dedication over a year-long collaborative process between students and faculty. 

“This event has been 80 years in the making,” said Principal Bernier, relaying the school’s sincere gratitude to the Thomaston Board of Education, Superintendent Francine Coss, Educational Enrichment Fund of Thomaston, Thomaston Police Department, Thomaston Historical Society, Thomaston Public Library, Thomaston Rotary Club and Frankie’s Family Restaurant for their support in creating a memorable milestone for the school.

On this week’s “Talk of the Town” podcast segment, the Town Times welcomes principal of the Thomaston Center School Kristin Bernier as a special guest, who will reflect upon the recent 80th anniversary celebration and how Thomaston is preserving its local history through education and curriculum.

Those interested in watching or learning more about “Talk of the Town” may view this week’s segment on the Town Times website, towntimesnews.com, as well as on the Town Times Facebook page - Facebook.com/town.times - in the near future.

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