Utica's original public high school was the Utica Free Academy which was founded in 1814. This was in the middle of a war. It was before the term 'public school' and 'high school' was in vogue. Academy convey the idea of a ecomndry school. At the time the idea of free public education was being wellestablished through the system of public lan grants creted by the Northwest Ordinance (1787), Northwest at the times meaning the Mid-West east of the Misissippi. This was rimrily aimed a primary schools. The idea of free secondary education was ot well established. Thus the Utica Free Academy was one of the earlier free secondary schools in America. As such it must have an important history. The number of students were very small. A search of internet, unfortunately offers many alumni siyes, but virtually nothing about the Academy's history. We have found a few notable tidbits. George C. Sawyer (1835- ) played an especially important role in the Academy. He graduated from Harvard (1855) became Principal of the (1858-96)m serving in that position 38 years. During the Civil War, the Academy was desrtoyed by a fire (1865). A new building was opened (1868). There were only 143 students with 7 teachers. Utica school authoritie made manual training (for the boys) and domestic science (for the girls) part of the educationl program obligatory in the middle grades (1896). This was optional in the Academy. The number of students gradually grew and a new builfing on Kemble Street was opened (1899). The schhool authorities bragged that "It is believed that in many respects this is superior to any other High School building in the State." The Utica Free Academy about 1900 has a reference library of over 2,000 volumes for the use of pupils.
The Daugters of the American Revolution (DAR) Oneida Chapter to promote pride in local history, and the development of patriotism, instituted money prizes for 'approved' essays upon historical subjects. The prizes
were awarded to pupils of the Utica Free Academy, the Advanced School, and advanced grades of
the ward schools. The Oneida Historical Society has offered similar prizes to the pupils of the Free Academy.
The school was closed and secondary education consolidated in a more modern school buildings (1990).
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