• History


    ImageWesttown-Thornbury Elementary School opened in 1955 on a twelve-acre tract of land on Westbourne Road. The school was intended to replace the old Pleasant Grove School which closed when the new building opened. The school board retained ownership of the Pleasant Grove building, however, because it feared rapid growth would quickly strain the new facility. The board was right; the old Pleasant Grove School was reopened for kindergarten classes in 1965-66. The school finally was sold to Westtown Township for $850 immediately prior to consolidation.

    The Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School, which cost $270,000, originally contained six classrooms, an all-purpose room, and a complete kitchen. Initial enrollment in grades one through six totaled 183 with a faculty of seven teachers. The dedication took place on June 8, 1956 when the first class of twenty-four sixth graders graduated. Russell A. Shank was the school’s first principal, and Burton C. Willis was president of the Joint Westtown-Thornbury School Board during construction.

    On opening day, the Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School already was overcrowded, with a storeroom converted into a classroom. Plans were immediately put in place to add classroom space; six classrooms were added in 1956, and five classrooms and an art room were added in 1962.

    Westtown-Thornbury acquired a library when space became available with the opening of Penn Wood Elementary School in 1966. Prior to that, teachers operated their own individual classroom libraries. Later, under principal James Garrity’s leadership, a classroom wall was knocked down to double the size of the library.

    A new library was added in 1989 as part of a major addition to the school which also included the addition of a new cafeteria and four classrooms. The new library was dedicated to LaRue Morgan, who started the library in 1966. She retired in 1989, a year after the new library opened.

    Two modular classrooms were added to the school to alleviate overcrowding in 1992. In memory of Samantha Lee Zajac, a Westtown-Thornbury student born with cerebral palsy, an outdoor educational center named “Sammy’s Place” was constructed on the grounds of the school in the spring of 2002. The 1,000-foot structure includes an outdoor amphitheater with tiered seating and a flat stage.

    Westtown-Thornbury Elementary is one of three elementary schools to be renovated through the district’s elementary school construction plan being instituted beginning in 2012.

    Westtown-Thornbury Elementary students attend Stetson Middle and Rustin High School.