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Letter: When Bethpage Teenagers Were Dalers Too

I was born and raised in Farmingdale, where I attended and  later graduated from the Weldon E. Howitt High School Class of 1954.

 

When I had moved on to high school my world opened up as I was introduced to students from surrounding communities that did not have a high school. Yes, even in the 1950’s some of the surrounding rural school districts, still held classes in a one room school house. 

 

The Bethpage School District provided an education for students from grades K-8.  Gary Hammond, in his forthcoming book acknowledges that on Feb. 24, 1921, the New York State Board of Regents approved the application of the Farmingdale Union School for advancement from middle to high school grade.  This gave Central Park—the name of the community before it changed to Bethpage in 1936—students the opportunity to attend Farmingdale High School.  

 

The students coming from Bethpage were a very tight-knit group of kids who have been together for the past nine years, and now they were taking the bus to another school that would be part of their life for the next four years.

 

Friendships began in homeroom and in no time at all we met the new arrivals, became friends, and shared our ideas and experiences. The district provided bus transportation to and from school, but if you stayed later it was your responsibility to get home. You made the sacrifice because you wanted to be a Daler.

 

Out of this commitment, lasting friendships were formed. Audrey Benkert Tallman, from Bethpage, graduated from FHS class of 1948, and continues to have lunch with her friends from school.  

 

Not only lasting friendships were set in place, but there were marriages too. After marrying my sweetheart, we moved to Bethpage, where our kids  graduated Bethpage High School. My son settled in Farmingdale, and now my grandchildren—Stephen and Meghan—graduated from FHS as proud Dalers too!  The last class from Bethpage to graduate from Farmingdale was the class of 1955.

 

— Ann Donhauser Albertson