The Riverside School District is on the lookout for tangible pieces of its proud, multifaceted history.
A committee formed by Riverside Superintendent Paul Brennan, high school principal Joe Moceyunas, high school vice principal Dave Walsh, school board member Kevin Harchar, business manager William Drazdowski and elementary school teacher Shawn Murphy is now seeking historical artifacts — clothing, pictures, awards, various other miscellanea — related to the district and its predecessors, the former Taylor and Moosic school districts.
With the donated items, the district plans to curate a historical display in the lobby of the high school.
“Kind of like a little historical society,” Murphy said. “We’re not trying to start a club; we’re just trying to fill some display cases. The goal is to preserve the district’s history.”
The idea was the brainchild of Murphy, a longtime local history buff who has spent years collecting items related to the school district, its precursors and his hometown of Taylor borough.
“One day last summer, I decided I would like people to see it. After all, what good is it in my house where nobody gets to see it?” said Murphy, noting the project has received full approval from the school board.
So far, the committee hasn’t received many items, but is hopeful it will eventually accumulate several display cases’ worth.
Among other things, the group has received a Taylor High School track and field shirt, and the letter “M” that was on a woman’s Moosic High School sweater. Both items date to before the 1961 merger of the two school districts, Murphy said.
Murphy’s collection includes a Taylor-Moosic High School pennant, a 1930s-era Taylor High School prom favor that resembles a shoehorn, and a Riverside High School gym bag from the mid-1970s.
“That’s something I had been looking for for a few years,” said Murphy of the gym bag, which he came across recently at the local vintage goods store On&On.
In addition, there’s a picture of the Taylor High School class of 1915, which was back when “only the privileged got to go to high school,” Murphy said.
And, there’s a 1939 Taylor High School yearbook.
“It’s titled “The Pioneer,” because it’s the first one,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, the cover is destroyed. Some little kid went over it with a crayon. But the content within it is really good.”
Ultimately, the committee hopes to acquire an eclectic range of items that extends up to the 1980s or so, Murphy said. Given space will be limited, credence be given to rarer artifacts. For instance, a 1945 yearbook would take precedence over a 1990 yearbook.
Murphy said all donors will be acknowledged in the exhibit, and donations can be made in honor of a family member.
“We want this exhibit to be something that people will look at with awe. Something that people passing through the school will get a kick out of,” Murphy said. “There’s a lot of rich history in the district, and a lot of tradition. It’s nice to be able to preserve that.”
Have an item you’re interested in donating to the cause? Contact Murphy at SMurphy2@riversidesd.com or 570-239-5720.