Valedictorian Speech

Presented  by Sandra (Smullen) McCane
at the 8th Grade Graduation
at Meco Elementary School, June 1962.


Board of Education, Principal Viscosi, Parents, Friends and Classmates:
I want to thank the teachers who have helped us through the years to make this occasion possible.

This is not the first graduating class from Meco, nor will it be the last. The first school in Meco was erected in the year 1870, 92 years ago. The location of the at first school is not exactly known, but it was located somewhere up this road. The building was a plain plank one room schoolhouse, which was heated by means of a stove placed in the middle of the room.  Mace Peak was the teacher.

In the year of 1904 the taxpayers of Meco built a two room school, located between Dunkle's Store* and the maple tree directly across form the present gym. These rooms were used for town meetings, as well as a church and Sunday school.

Several years after the building of this two room school, land was purchased across the road where the playground is at the present time. That land was used as a playground and baseball diamond.

In 1934 the two rooms that were located between Dunkle's store and the maple tree were moved across the road. At that time two more rooms were added. The enrollment of the school was about sixty (60) pupils.  Which included all the population from the Perk's Park line to the City of Johnstown.

There were other buildings in "Bennet's Corners" as Meco was known, before a rural free mail delivery was established. The Post Office was located in Dunkle's Store. The Post Office was run by Mr. George Duel.

There was a church in Meco located up the road. It was converted into two (2) family house and is now the home of Beatrice Lewis.**

Between the maple tree by Dunkle's and the Meco creek there was a blacksmith shop. Another blacksmith shop was located in the lot next to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Walter.***

In 1890 Mr. Hunt built a hotel on the other side of Meco creek and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alton Smullen. This building was later used as a glove shop.***

On the lot of Mr. and Mrs. Smullen there was an ice house, behind the ice house there was a butcher and slaughter house.

You can see how Meco has changed since those years. It has many more houses and a larger population. Most of the building I have described, with the exception of a few are no longer standing.

The school it's self has had many alterations. In 1950 a gym and the sixth (6th) grade room were added. In 1957 an addition of five (5) school rooms and a music room were added. In 1959 a library was added which has been used by almost every pupil in the school. Again in 1960 a school room was added. What started as a two room school has grown into what it is today.

The future of Meco is in our hands, let's make the most of it.

This information supplied to Sandra (Smullen) McCane by Mr. & Mrs. Rene Gifford.

Mr. Gifford passed away January 1967 at the age of 92 and Mrs. Gifford passed away May 22, 1969 at the age of 94.



*Dunkle's Store and their home was located on the corner of County Rts. 122 and 101, directly across from the present day school. The store burned down while owed by Ivan (Ike) Persch, his son Ivan (Buck) Jr. and his brother Louis Persch. It was purchased by them in in 1964. Louis Persch passed away shortly after the store was purchased. Buck Persch lived in the house and his family still own it. In the lot where the original school once stood is the bus business the Persch family started.

**Mrs. Lewis' family still own the former church. Located to the east of the present school near the larger bridge that cross the creek.

***Kenneth Walter's home is located on near the corner of the Old Mary Jane Hill Peck Road, directly across from where Mr. Hunt built his home.  During Prohibition the hotel was a speakeasy, with a rather dubious reputation. The glove shop was gone by the late 1950's to mid 1960's.  It is now a private home.

Meco has a Volunteer Fire Company which was started 1950. It not only has served the community for fifty (50) years, but has also been used for many social events. 
It is located on the opposite corner from where
Dunkle's Store stood at Rts. 122 and 101.


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Copyright 2001, Jeanne Galway, Sandra Smullen McCane
Copyright 2001, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:10:17 PDT