Jamesville-DeWitt Junior and Senior High School in DeWitt, NY, formally opened on September 13, 1954. Students who previously attended Fayetteville and Jamesville schools were merged into the new facility. The late Richard J. McGee, who had been a coach and teacher at Jamesville, was the first principal of the new high school. The superintendent of schools at the time of the consolidation was Dr. Ward Edinger.
In June, 1955, the first graduation ceremony took place. This initial class had just 27 members, while the entire student body consisted of about 450 students in grades seven through 12.
I was a very excited eighth grader on opening day in 1954, and thus was a member of the Class of 1959--the fifth graduating class at Jamesville-DeWitt. Like many of my old classmates, I no longer live in Central New York. Still, I have managed to remain in touch with some of my old chums from those happy days at J-D. Others, of course, have passed away or become "lost" over these intervening five decades.
In an effort to reconnect with these friends, I have prepared class lists and, when available, updated information on all students from J-D's first ten classes--from 1955 to 1964. Needless to say, the information is incomplete. It is hoped that those who find their names listed here--or their friends or relatives--will take the time to communicate with me or to sign the guest book that appears on each class site. You can be certain that your efforts are appreciated.
Biographies of thousands of former residents of DeWitt, Lyndon, and Fayetteville, during the era from about 1940 to 1960, can now be viewed online. Here is a sample entry for one DeWitt family:
Edward J. Willett and Ruth Shea Willett lived at 107 Butternut Dr. by 1948. He was the vice-president of the Dietrich Supply Co. and was lay leader of the Willett Memorial Church--a Wesleyan Methodist church in Eastwood named for his father, Rev. John S. Willett, who had been the church's pastor for many years. Mr. Willett was active in many evangelical causes and charities, including the Rescue Mission, and, in 1953, he headed a committee which sponsored the Rev. Billy Graham's crusade at the War Memorial in Syracuse. Mrs. Willett was a 1941 summa cum laude graduate of Houghton College--a religious school near Rochester. She was the daughter of Rev. Adam J. Shea, and the sister of world-famous gospel singer, George Beverly Shea. After leaving DeWitt Acres, the Willetts lived on Randall Rd., and in Houghton, Syracuse, and in Gainsville, GA, where Mr. Willett died on 3-10-2004. The couple had four children: Daniel S. Willett, who was an executive at Syracuse University at his death on 9-21-1989, Dr. Thomas Willett, who lives in Tucson, Christine Willett Greenwald, who lives in Findley Lake, NY, and Holly Willett Gillette, who was a graduate of Houghton College, wed Rev. John Gillette, and died on 6-1-1997, at age 41.