How It All Began ... The Mona Shores Story
For many years school board members from five neighboring school districts along with their local district administrators searched for ways to improve the quality of education for K-8 students in the area. This effort led superintendents from the Churchill, Hile, Lincoln, Maple Grove, and Little Black Lake K-8 school districts to seek the advice and counsel of colleagues from the Michigan Department of Public Instruction and Michigan State University. This contact occurred in early 1958. As a result of this work, a Citizens Study Committee was formed. This committee created a much smaller Steering Committee (of ten people) that guided the direction of the larger Study Committee. The Steering Committee was ably led by Chairman William Hanna.
On May 8, 1959 the Steering Committee delivered its final report to all five boards of education. The Committee recommended all five districts unite to form a single K-12 school district. Four of the five K-8 districts accepted this recommendation. Little Black Lake was the sole school district to reject it and withdraw from the consolidation effort. The Mona Beach K-8 School District then asked to be included and was immediately accepted.
On September 14, 1959 an election was held. Area residents voted overwhelmingly to unite into one comprehensive K-12 school district. Immediately thereafter the Muskegon County Board of Education appointed an Interim Board of Education. Members included F. Jack Rose, Otto Ross, Lawry Hermesdorf, Richard Livingston and Russell Anderson. Upon their appointment the new Interim Board began to lead the newly created school district appropriately named Mona Shores Public Schools. The Board appointed current Lincoln School District Superintendent William A. Luyendyk as Mona Shores' first Superintendent of Schools. The Board also retained the services of three other displaced superintendents to assist in planning, organizing, and administering the newly created Mona Shores Public School District.
On November 2, 1959 an election was held to select a new board of education. With the exception of Richard Livingston, all other Interim Board members were elected. Mr. Livingston was replaced by Dr. Harold Dykhuizen. At this same time residents also approved establishment of a new high school district.
On March 14, 1960 residents approved a $2.5 million bond levy to construct and equip a new high school. Shortly thereafter the Board selected the Warren Holmes Company of Lansing, Michigan as its architect. Before plans were developed a Citizen's Curriculum Committee was formed. This committee chaired by Fran Fisher set about determining the educational needs of Mona Shores' students. After completing their Curriculum Report the committee (and district) submitted it to the Bureau of School Services at the University of Michigan. University department heads studied the report and shared their findings with Mona Shores board members, administrative staff, and architects in a two-day session. Their focus was on linking the Curriculum Report to the design needs of Mona Shores High School. Only then did work begin on finalizing the architectural design of the new high school.
On April 5, 1961 High School groundbreaking ceremonies were held.
On May 5, 1962 the High School corner stone was placed in a public ceremony.
On August 1, 1962 the new Mona Shores High School was completed.
On September 4, 1962 approximately 650 students entered Mona Shores High School for the first time. Only 9th and 10th grade students were enrolled for classes during this first year of operation. The next fall saw the addition of 11th grade students, with 12th graders being added in the fall of 1964. Mona Shores' first graduating class exited the following spring in 1965.
Mona Shores High School continued to grow and prosper during the 1960's and early 1970's. The building housed about 1,500 students a year during this period of time. The High School also became fully accredited by the University of Michigan and the North Central Association of Secondary Schools.