E. E. SEELEY SEALS CONTAINER IN CORNERSTONE
The Evening Sentinel, Dec. 20, 1948
Judge Eldridge E. Seeley, chairman of the Oxford centralized school
building committee packs the mortar into place, sealing into the
cornerstone of the new building the container holding items of
historical interest concerning the school. Watching with interest
is Richard VonBeren of Brown and VonBeren, Inc., architects. Laying of
the cornerstone preceded the dedication ceremony inside the school
Saturday afternoon. (Budd Photo)
The Evening Sentinel, Dec. 20, 1948
"Little Red Schoolhouse: Era Closes in Town with New
Oxford residents witnessed the passing of the era of "the little
schoolhouse" Saturday, as Judge E. E. Seeley, chairman of the
centralized school building committee pointed out at dedication
ceremonies in the school auditorium which followed the laying of the
The program, which was attended by a large number of Oxford residents
and visiting school officials, opened at 2 p.m. on the school terrace
with the invocation given by Rev. E. G. Zellars, pastor of the First
Congregational church. Judge Seeley then placed the container of
documents relating to the new school into the cornerstone and sealed it
with mortar. The stone was then moved into place. One side is
carved with "1947" and the other with the name of the school and the
The remainder of the program took place in the new auditorium.
Members of the building committee and speakers were seated on the state
before a huge American flag backdrop. Hubert E. Stoddard, vice chairman
of the building committee, presided at the affair.
Rev. William E. Soule, priest-in-charge of St. Peter's and Christ
Episcopal churches, gave the invocation. Principal Richard E.
Wilkinson led the audience in singing "America."
A brief history of the Oxford school system was given by Thomas
Schreiber, former board of education chairman. Mr. Schreiber told his
audience that in 1837 there were 15 schools in Oxford. At that time a
teachers' board amounted to as little as one dollar a week. He traced
the schools through the years, mentioning the factors which led to more
and more consolidation.
Judge Seeley then described the steps which preceded use of the new
centralized school, telling of the work of the planning committee and
the building committee. He introduced to the audience the members of
the building committee, architects, and the contractors.
Judge Seeley turned the keys of the new school over to First Selectman
Fred R. Bice, Jr., who thanked the building committee for its untiring
efforts. Mr. Bice then gave the keys to Franklyn R. Sanford, chairman
of the board of education, to symbolize the use of the building being
given to the board of education. Mr. Sanford said the board of
education has a great responsibility to improve continually the quality
of education given in the Oxford schools to justify the great expense
to the town of the new building. He introduced the school teachers and
urged the townspeople to visit them in their schoolrooms after the
program. He also introduced visiting school officials, Carl Bair,
former superintendent of schools in Oxford; Superintendent of Schools
Herman Urban and principal Edward Hugh MacConnie of Seymour and Dr.
James O'Hara, superintendent of schools at Derby.
Mrs. John E. Smedley, present of the Parent-Teacher association,
thanked the townspeople for their cooperation with the P.T.A's drive to
raise funds for new school equipment.
Mrs. Gilbert Speaks
Mrs. Helen L. Gilbert of Norwich, member of the state board of
education, spoke on "The Future of Education in Connecticut." She
discussed a number of problems facing the board including the immediate
expansion of nearly all school systems as the children born during the
"baby boom" start school.
"At present Connecticut has about 9,000 teachers," she said, "But
because of the expansion coming, it is estimated 15,0000 will be
employed in the state schools 12 years hence."
"We must never say, 'what was good enough for my grandfather is good
enough for me,'" she said, "Because it isn't and grandfather himself
wouldn't be satisfied to hear us say that."
She cautioned that the demarcation between freedom and license is small
and that people must be careful to keep unbridled license from tearing
down the democratic system in this country.
Mrs. Gilbert said the board is embarking on a 10-year program to build
better teachers for the future so as not to fail the future citizens of
the state. She stressed the importance of all the people working for
the aim of better school systems for all children.
The program closed with the benediction offered by Rev. Albert A.
Callahan and the singing of "America the Beautiful." Refreshments were
served by the P.T.A. and the townspeople inspected the new building.