Information on the history of Mohawk was obtained from the Totem, 2004
Many take for granted that Mohawk Area Schools have been here forever, but this is not so. They have actually been in existence since 1958.
Prior to the state initiative in the 1920s, twenty neighborhood oriented one-room schools served students in grades one through eight, and students who chose to attend high school could go to Bessemer, Enon Valley, Mount Jackson or Wampum.
With the state initiative, all one-room schools were united in Township Consolidated Schools, such as Mahoning and Mount Jackson. That is when the “old” school buildings were built.
North Beaver Township Consolidated High School in Mount Jackson was a vocational high school. Students from Little Beaver Township went to either Mount Jackson or Bessemer High School when Enon Valley closed its high school. Mahoning Township sent its high schoolers to Bessemer or Union High School. Big Beaver Township sent their high schoolers to Wampum High or Mount Jackson.
In 1956, the state of Pennsylvania issued the Re-organizational Plan. A professor from Pitt, named Maurice Thomas, spent over a year studying the area and developing a new plan for the reorganization of the local school districts. Students from Little Beaver Township, North Beaver Township, Mahoning Township, and Bessemer Borough were joined together as the Mohawk Area School District in 1958. The Mount Jackson High School was the junior high school and the Bessemer High School was the senior high, from which Mohawk’s first class graduated in 1959 and Tom Andrews was the first person to receive a diploma from Mohawk.
At the time of the Mohawk jointure in 1958, Big Beaver Township was sending their students to Wampum Area Schools, which were joining Ellwood City, but Big Beaver residents did not want their students attending Ellwood City. In 1959, the Borough system of government was adopted so they could choose where to send their students. As a result, in the summer of 1961, the New Beaver Borough students joined Mohawk students.
There was much controversy over a site for the new high school. The John Wallace farm, on Smalls Ferry Road, and the Willis Gleghorn farms were the main contenders due to their geographic location and topography. The school purchased 109 acres from Mr. Gleghorn in 1959 and began building in 1962. The class of 1964 was the first to graduate from the brand new Mohawk High School building.
Most people believe that our school was named after the Indian tribe. In actuality, the name Mohawk came from Bell Telephone Company, who used the numbers “66” to signify our area. The numbers “66” in letters is translated to “MO,” and from that abbreviation came the name Mohawk. It was suggested to use Mohawk as the name because the new school district boundaries were encompassed within the “MO” exchange. Even today, we still carry the name Mohawk, and most phone numbers in the school district begin with “667-“.
Members of the Mount Jackson Alumni Association recently brought some of this local history to the Mohawk library. At the February School Board meeting, J.V. Lamb and Ken Shiderly, Sr., association president and past president, presented the Mohawk Board of Education with a series of picture cases. The association funded the project.
Mrs. Gertrude Fullerton-Davis, a graduate of the class of 1927, attended the meeting, and she is the oldest independently functioning alumna.
Each year since 1958, the Mount Jackson Alumni Association (North Beaver Township Consolidated High School) has gathered for a reunion at Mohawk High School. At each reunion, members displayed photos from previous graduation classes and then placed them in storage.
At the 2004 reunion, a discussion took place about to how to preserve the pictures. The association hired local carpenter/contractor Bruce Harmon to build frames to mount the pictures, which date from 1924-1958, from Mount Jackson High.
Ken Shiderly states that the objective is to join the Mount Jackson Alumni Association with the Bessemer Alumni and all Mohawk Alumni to create one Mohawk Alumni Association. The goal is to have a joined association reunion in the summer of 2008, as Mohawk School turns 50 years old.
In the past two years, the Bessemer Alumni Association has become more active, and some pictures from Bessemer have been located back to 1926. Not all consecutive years, however, have been located.
Mrs. Miklos is looking for old photographs or other school memorabilia from Bessemer, Hillsville, Mount Jackson or any of the area one-room schools. If you would like to donate any such items, please contact her at (724) 667-7782, Ext. 2163.
The Mission of the Mohawk Area School District, in partnership with families and in cooperation with the community, is to provide our students with a rigorous and comprehensive education in a safe and stimulating environment. Committed to excellence, we will:
enable our students to be critical thinkers and life long learners,
- equip our students with the skills needed to meet the demands of an advancing technological society,
- and prepare our students to become responsible citizens and contributors of a global society.
The staff and community of the Mohawk Area desire to create an exemplary school district that exhibits the following:
- acknowledged for the caliber of its graduates, the quality of its staff, and the excellence of its programs;
- balanced programming where learning is meaningful and relevant, connected with each child's individual needs, ethics, culture, and experiences;
- committed to continuous improvement, research-based exemplary practice, and data-informed decision-making;
- lifelong learning is an expectation where learners are motivated to think critically, creatively, collaboratively, and independently.
We see children leaving our schools fueled by their dreams and empowered by their knowledge and able to connect what they have learned to the world around them.
We see a school district where children are the primary focus and are valued, respected, and nurtured.
We see a school district where compassion, fairness, justice, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, and good citizenship are present; and where all students, parents, staff, and community members are valued partners.
We see children coming to school ready to learn at their own rate, being challenged, encouraged, supported, and provided the resources to achieve; and each day they leave school wanting to come back tomorrow.
If our future is to be better than our past, we must have the courage to let go of what no longer serves us, embrace what is required for the future, and advocate for what is best for our children, our community, and our nation. Such a journey will require getting more comfortable with change, taking informed risks, and rigorously tracking progress against clearly articulated goals. It will require the conviction to set our own standards in the face of growing state and federal mandates and dwindling financial support. In all areas, it will demand putting children first.
- All children are capable of learning and should be challenged to their highest potential.
- Life-long learning skills are critical in preparing students for future challenges and opportunities.
- All students are unique, learning in different ways and at different rates.
- All students learn best in a safe, nurturing, healthy environment, equipped with resources necessary for students to thrive.
- Positive self-worth fosters success.
- Learning needs to be relevant, rigorous, and reflective, and should prepare students to live successfully in an ever-changing global society.
- All students need to become responsible, accountable, self-disciplined, productive members of the community and society.
- Education is a shared responsibility between students, parents, school and community.
- Education is a key factor in shaping responsible, thinking citizens.