Education Through the Years (2007)

The threat of having to send our grades 4 & 5 scholars to the mainland for schooling was the issue that finally be- gan a serious secession movement on Chebeague. As a result the CIHS Exhibit Committee decided that it would be a perfect time to look at the history of Chebeague schooling and how the community and the schools have influenced each other.

From the records of the Town of North Yarmouth we know that teachers were being paid to instruct on Chebeague as early as the mid-1700’s. Several different school buildings existed on Chebeague throughout most of the 1800’s. For many years during this time Cumberland’s School Districts 8 & 9, the island districts, had greater school populations than any of the mainland districts.

Chebeague did not have its own free high school until 1902. Prior to that scholars would have been permitted to attend Greely Institute, the free high school on the Cumberland mainland. This would not have been easy and would have necessitated scholars boarding away from home. Chebeague’s population has risen and fallen over the years due to economic and other circumstances, but we have been able to keep our community and our elementary school above the high water. Times and expectations change, but we will continue to fight hard for our schools for the sake of individual scholars and of the community.