Farrell Area School District

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South Sharon Public School System

Professor C. G. Cannon
Supervising Principal — 1901-1904
Superintendent of Schools— 1905 - 1908

Professor C. G. Cannon served as teacher in the first high school which occupied one room in the Washington School. Subsequently he was appopinted Supervising Principal of the North (Lincoln) and Central (Washington) Schools. In 1905 he became the first Superintendent of South Sharon Public Schools and remained in this capacity until his resignation in 1908.

[First Superintendent of Schools, C. G. Cannon]

Principal C. G. Cannon with South Sharon's First Faculty

1st Row; — Gertrude Hess, Minnie Dougherty, Edith Bailey, Ambretta Thompson, Elizabeth Barry.
2nd Row; — Ada D. Davis, Olive Clinefelter, Mae Hobbs, Clara Allen, Allie Dunham and Mabel Horton.
3rd Row; — Kate Cozadd, Harriet Hess, Mabel Anderson, Margaret Thompson, Margaret Franey and Mr. C. G. Cannon, Supervising Principal

Superintendent C. G. Cannon

[Lincoln School] On November 21, 1901, the borough of South Sharon (renamed Farrell in 1912) came into existence. The first Board of Education composed of August Daurelle, E. E. Clepper, W. F. Anderson, C. M. Kester, and C. H. Ingles being aware of the inadequacy of the existing educational facilities moved in 1902 to purchase what was to be called the Lincoln Building located on the corner of French Street and Wallis Avenue. This, the first permanent brick school building of the Farrell Public School System, supplemented the borough's three one story frame school houses.

Professor Cannon was determined to enroll school age boys and girls into the public school system. He would trek in hip-length boots through muddy unpaved roads canvassing homes in search of students for his school. Through his efforts pupil enrollment had increased to such an extent that it was necessary to have half day sessions in most of the upper grades. Primary teachers had a teaching load of one hundred or more.

Professor Cannon and an aggressive Board of Directors met the challenge to accommodate the growing school population with the addition of a second building, the Central Building (Washington School). Upon its completion Professor Cannon was appointed supervising principal. At this time he began organizing the high school which occupied a room in the Central Building. In the spring of 1904, the first high school class was graduated. This class consisted of three pupils who had entered South Sharon schools as Juniors in 1903. The under classmen consisted of five Juniors and three Freshmen. In 1905, the population of the community had reached five thousand, and with the authorization of the State Department of Public Instruction, Mr. Cannon became superintendent of schools, and Mr. John Meyers was elected South Sharon's first high school principal.

In her summary of Farrell schools Hazel Patton records Superintendent Cannon's zeal and ambition in launching South Sharon's first schools. “The first boys' basketball team was organized under the leadership of Professors Cannon and Morrison, but owing to the fact that they were compelled to practice outside of the school, they were never regularly recognized as a high school team. The team had a very fine record of finishing their season without being defeated once.”

“Professor Frost was the first musical instructor in the school and with the assistance of Superintendent Cannon held many singing contests between the grades of the North Side (Lincoln School) and Central (Washington School) buildings. These contests were held in the Old Lewis Opera House and the winners were presented with prizes. The proceeds of these concerts were used as first payments on the pianos for the school buildings… After the pianos were paid for, the proceeds were used to purchase books for the first library which was housed in the “attic” of the Central Building.”

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A Backward Look…

The following article was published in the 1937 Reflector.
It was written by English teacherVirginia Kerins, a graduate of the Class of 1929

[Virginia Kerins '29] From one room in the Washington Building to an extensive building crowded to capacity — the progress of Farrell High School has been swift, active, engulfing! Today one cannot visualize the magnitude of his surroundings in comparison to those predominate during the early 1900's.

Professor C. G. Cannon, energetic and primary superintendent of schools, was actively sympathetic with Farrell's educational progress. In hip-length boots, he canvassed from home to home searching for students of high school age. The inconvenience experienced during these muddy, miry tramps netted results. His little brood of students increased soon to a size which clamored for expansion.

Into every interested person's heart went an earnest desire to educate Farrell's youth in an institution larger, finer, more spacious. There were frenzied student demonstrations, argumentative meetings of the board of education, stump speeches, civic campaigns, and superfine propaganda. All this for one glorious purpose!

Shortly after Christmas in the year 1908, a large, buff brick structure was officially dedicated to the education of our people. In its twelve rooms, auditorium, and gymnasium (this latter a “hard-fought-for” luxury) young men and women of the town delved into that attractive world of competitive education. The faculty now numbered four teachers in addition to a music instructor and a teacher of both penmanship and art. Farrell High was on its way to higher education under the leadership of Principal W. D. Shellenberger and Superintendent J. M. Hostetter.

Years rolled on, each an improvement over the preceding one. The school grew mentally and proportionately as grew its faculty and student body. Efficient instructors and a capable administration were instrumental in developing Farrell High School into one of the highest ranking institutions of secondary education in the state.

The enlargement of the high school to twice its former size in 1921 simultaneously heralded the coming of a new era in education. On a rapid decline were the deeply rooted ideas of strict disciplinary education in favor of a more liberal, practical, and modern preparation for life. Part of this program was the innovation of a junior-senior high school system in 1924.

In the short, eventful years that follow, many are the changes that make us wonder and, in wondering, meditate. The depression of 1929-33 took its toll of educational ideals, principles, and practices as well as people. Farrell High School suffered with other institutions of its kind. With the meteoric increase in student enrollment there was no corresponding increase in school finances. Seating capacity was crowded to what was thought to be the “limit” books became worn and ragged with no hopes of replacement; equipment of all kinds was used and ready for discard; domestic science and manual training courses were discarded and their departments transposed into classrooms; and administration, faculty, and student body tried to cooperate with a moderate amount of success.

With a subsiding of the intensity of the depression came a rise in hopes, plans, and accomplishments for the future. Instructors worried less about children who did not study because of lack of food, clothing, and stamina; children worried less about returning each evening to homes where worry and poverty predominated. The general spirit of faith in one's fellow men was returning.

Today another Farrell High School is being planned! This time it is to be still larger, finer, and more spacious. Thus, to our school, as to every other institution or civilization, progress is endless!

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