High school history lesson

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On graduation day, high school seniors receive their diplomas and head off to college or the workforce. Each high school diploma has three signatures: the superintendent, the principal and the chairperson of the Board of Education. For some Granby graduates, those signatures will look familiar because many had a parent serve as the chairperson of the board, including myself.

Last year, I was giving Marge Goslee a tour of Granby Memorial High School. She started school in the south wing when it was called the Consolidated School because, in 1948, it replaced Granby’s one- and two-room schools. In 1951, when the north wing was added, its name was changed to Memorial School. Granby students attended the new school for elementary and junior high while high school students continued to attend Simsbury High School. In 1958, Granby Memorial High School celebrated its first graduating class of some 60 students, and the name changed again.

During our tour, Marge told me that when she graduated in 1960, her father was chairman of the Board of Education and signed her diploma, something we have in common. This coincidence inspired me to research how many others have a chairperson-parent signature on their Granby Memorial High School diploma.

Marge Goslee’s high school diploma. Submitted photo

Malcolm Goslee, Jr. was the first person whose diploma was signed by his parent in 1958. His dad, Malcolm Goslee was the Chairman of the Board of Education. Two years later, Malcolm also signed daughter Marge’s diploma. Jonathon Shadford’s 1964 diploma was signed by his father, Richard Shadford. In 1977, Robert Mayo signed daughter Peggy Mayo’s diploma. In 1978, Todd Vibert received a diploma signed by his dad, William Vibert. In 1983, James Viers had his diploma signed by his dad, Jim Viers. Ginny Wutka was the second chairperson to sign two of her children’s diplomas; Mary Beth Wutka in 1986, and Robert Wutka in 1988.

More recently, Melissa Migliaccio signed son David Migliaccio’s diploma. This year, Sarah Thrall, presiding chairperson of the BOE, will sign her daughter Maggie’s diploma.

The Board of Education is a body designed to improve student achievement through budget management, communicate with stakeholders and engage in numerous other tasks. The chairperson sits at the helm, setting and executing the meeting agendas and staying in constant contact with the superintendent of schools. The BOE Chair also has the task of defending its budget at the town meeting leading up to the town budget referendum. All those hours put in by the chairperson and board members are a volunteer service to our town to give each student the best education possible. Sometimes those students are also their children.

To all the Granby graduates of 2022, congratulations on your achievement and best of luck as you head off to your next adventure. I encourage all of you to consider joining the Salmon Brook Historical Society to continue your education after graduation. If you want to learn more about education in Granby or the school boards, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713, or visit

1948 photo of the Consolidated School, so named because it replaced Granby’s one- and two-room schools. It would be three more years until the name was changed to Granby Memorial School. Photo courtesy of the Salmon Brook Historical Society