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OUR SCHOOL'S HISTORY

MIAMI EDISON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL:
1895 TO 1978

Adapted from the 1964 Miami Edison Beacon. Originally written by Ed Shumard, Class of 1943. Revised by additional history provided in 2006.

Over 120 years ago, Miami Edison Senior High School had its humble beginnings in a small palmetto-thatched hut inhabited by spiders,Miami 1897 beetles, ten pupils and one teacher. After this tropical edifice burned to the ground in 1895, the activities were moved twice, finally being established in a rickety four-room structure in 1897. During the brief tenure of Principal Ernest Roller, only the common subjects and agriculture were taught.

After destruction of the old building by a violent windstorm, the newly built school opened in September 1915, with 15 pupils entering high school and 72 entering elementary grades. The first principal was Professor A. E. Dewar, who, along with one other teacher, composed the high school teaching staff. There were four teachers for the elementary grades. Professor Dewar served as principal for two school terms, 1915 and 1916. The school was then known as Lemon City High School.

Around November 1916, a meeting was held in the Agricultural School CertificateBiscayne Hotel dining room. The purpose was to present to prominent Dade County citizens the need for a real agricultural high school, where practical demonstration of horticulture and agriculture could be taught in conjunction with regular high school courses. They hoped to secure financial aid by the levy of a small tax on real and personal property for operating the experimental farm or farms in conjunction with the school which was beginning to be known as Dade County Agricultural High School. Their hopes became reality, and the long-cherished dreams of Dr. J. G. DuPuis, A. N. Fallersen and E. N. Webb, trustees, were realized as "Aggie High" came into existence.

Professor A. C. Alleshouse became Principal in 1917, and was succeeded in 1920 by W. O. Lockhart. Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools made it necessary to secure a principal with a college degree. J. N. McArthur became principal until his transfer in 1923, when Jesse GRed Devils. Fisher accepted the position. Even in these years of instability the school continued to grow Two wings were added in 1922 and five years later the first cafeteria was installed. Many school organizations formed at this time to keep pace with the extension of the building. This rapid growth continued as the impetus given to athletics by the employment of the first regular coach brought clamor for a gymnasium. The School Board proceeded to erect the addition, but due to lack of an architect, the bleachers soon became the victim of the hurricane of 1936. The repaired building remained until what members of the Over-the-Hill Gang knew as he old Junior High School was constructed on the site. (It has since been demolished and a police station/school parking lot now occupies the site.)

In 1928 our present building was completed and Old Miami Edison High School892 students and 32 faculty moved in, marking the beginning of the Junior and Senior High system. New additions included the home economics building and the only boat-building class in the United States. In the following years, the school auditorium, the shops, and the field house were added. In 1931 came a strong demand to change the school's name. Under the influence of Principal Fisher and Henry Filer, then chairman of the School Board, suggested names were submitted to the student body. The recent death of America’s great inventor, Thomas A. Edison, proved to be the deciding factor. Thus, in October of 1931, Dade County Agricultural High became Miami Edison Senior High in his honor. Soon after, the new name was immortalized as Mrs. Frances Dean set to music the words of Mrs. Marjorie Weatherup's "Alma Mater". 1949 marked the tragic death ofNew Miami Edison Middle School Julian Daniel, whose great character, service and leadership were honored by the establishment of the Julian Daniel Award and by the presentation of the Key Club's annual scholarship. Mr. Robert A. Wilson became Principal upon Mr. Fisher's retirement in 1950 and under his leadership the extracurricular program was expanded.

Interested not only in academics, Miami Edison has for years earned the reputation of being recognized in all fields of athletics. The Red Raiders have shown their superiority in football as they often dominated the strongest league in Miami Edison FootballFlorida, the Big Ten Conference. The varsity is proud of the fact that the Orange Bowl Stadium was dedicated by an Edison team playing Coral Gables in 1938, and remained the home of the Red Raiders for many years. The pride and spirit of the students in all endeavors were shown when a strong Student Council and Inter-Club Council were organized in the 1930s. It was through their efforts that the Honor Code, regarded as the basis of the "Edison Spirit," was adopted in 1939. The Coat of Arms was installed in the patio in 1958 and the "Little Red Devil" became the symbol of our spirit.

In 1955, Mr. William B. Duncan became Principal. Through the efforts of an outstanding faculty, the support of community resources, and the motivation of the students, Principal Duncan was able to set in motion those changes emphasized in the nation for a rededication to quality education, for every student according to his or her ability. During his administration the "Operation Amigo" program found its illustrious beginning in the United States in the halls of Miami Edison in 1962. The chance to take into our homes Peruvian Renovated Facadestudents in cooperation with the Miami Herald was marked by complete success. For the part Edison played in this program in hemispheric understanding, Mr. Duncan became the first North American to be awarded the "Alfonso Ugarte" medal for inter-cultural friendship.

In 1978 a new Miami Edison Senior High School was built several blocks away and our old school became Miami Edison Middle School, which it is still today. Our old school has since been completely renovated and a state-of-the art school has been constructed in its place. Everything but the front facade, gymnasium and auditorium were demolished. The facade was given a face-lift, the gymnasium has been renovated and updated, and the auditorium was brought back to its original splendor.

For more about recent Miami Edison history, go OTHG What Is It?


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