Valley Central History

There was a K-12 school district in each village of Maybrook, Montgomery, and Walden until 1958. Although, centralization was brought up as a possibility in 1955 due to overcrowding at the three buildings. Walden was operating on double schedules by the time the district centralized.

Each of the three villages was reluctant to lose its identity, but “centralization” immediately brought the hope that new structures would soon be underway. New structures to house the bulging classrooms of the three village schools and the rural school at St. Andrew’s. Also, for a more superior education could be offered to all students of the district through new facilities and more resources.


On July 2, 1958, when the new centralized district was one day old, the unofficially named “Town of Montgomery Central School District” held its organizational election and voted to seat nine members on the Board of Education. As soon as the election was complete, discussions about new buildings began.

In January 1959, the voters selected the Russell Site as the home for the proposed East Coldenham Elementary School, and the Muller Site for the junior and senior high schools. The following June, the voters approved a $4.2 million bond issue for the construction of these new buildings and renovation of the existing schools. The three villages kept their own schools but operated as one district until a new central high school/junior high school building could be built in 1961.

The Class of 1959 was the first graduating class from the newly formed district although each school had its own valedictorian and salutatorian. Commencement ceremonies were held at Montgomery’s school with Walden’s Valedictorian and Maybrook’s salutatorian delivering their respective speeches.

Building VCHS and VCMS

By mid-March 1960, construction had begun on what was to become, at the time, Valley Central Junior Senior High School. At the conception of the district, it was intended to have one building for the junior and senior high students, but soon after the plan evolved to two buildings.

After 18 months of labor, the high school building opened on September 9, 1961, for students in grades 7-12 and was dedicated that November. Construction began at Valley Central Middle School soon after.

East Coldenham Elementary

East Coldenham Elementary began the building process after the purchase of the Russell site and was opened in 1960. On November 16, 1989, a wind shear with tornado-force winds of over 60 mph shattered the glass wall of the cafeteria just as 120 first and second-graders were having lunch. Seven children died under the collapsed wall that day, two more passed away from their injuries six days later. A kindergartner was also killed the same weekend and all ten children are remembered in a memorial garden, painting, and in awards and scholarships. The wall of the building was redesigned and rebuilt following the tragedy. 

Berea Elementary

In 1969, the district added Berea Elementary School as the three village elementary schools were again at capacity. Berea was dedicated in November 1969 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 2019-2020 school year.

From the time of centralization, the district operated its Central Office/Grounds Department from a farmhouse down the road from the High School/Middle School complex. In 1988, voters approved a bond project completed in 1991 that added an updated Central Office building located on property behind Berea Elementary. A Facilities Office, garage space on the far edge of the Middle School property, an Olympic-size swimming pool/natatorium, and a new wing that joined the High School and Middle School.

New Wings

In 2000, the district was able to add new wings to the Middle School, Montgomery, and Berea through a building incentive program with OUBOCES. 

Alternative Learning Center Opened at Maybrook Elementary

In 2013, the district closed Maybrook Elementary School in an effort to close a budget gap sending the students to Montgomery and Berea Elementary. The building reopened as an Alternative Learning Center for students (elementary/secondary) with school anxiety to provide a place within the district to meet their needs.

Becoming Vikings

When the three villages first centralized, it was decided that the “Town of Montgomery Central Schools” was just too long a name. The adults tried to come up with a new name that incorporated parts of the three village names. They also attempted to come up with a common set of colors and a mascot that paid homage to the three original mascots. But that proved to be a difficult task, especially considering they had to work with the Warriors (Walden), Marauders (Montgomery), and Railtowners (Maybrook). They also had six colors: black and gold (Walden), black and orange (Montgomery), and red and white (Maybrook) to blend. Finally, they agreed to let the students decide. In March 1959, students voted to name the district “Valley Central” and selected a Viking mascot, becoming the Valley Central Vikings. The students also chose royal blue and white as our official colors. 

Students Design the Official Seal

Traditional VC Seal: Loyalty, Progress, Serve.  Gavel is for Community Participation, Winged Foot is for Athletics and Lamp of Knowledge for education

The official seal of the district was developed by a group of students that formed the Seal subcommittee of the VCHS Student Government Association in 1964. Jerry Ancona, Class of 1965, was the chairman of the committee and drew the seal. 

The group decided to symbolize three things they hoped they would gain from Valley Central to take with them in life: collaboration, teamwork, and learning. They chose a gavel to represent participation in clubs and organizations that would teach them cooperation, collaboration, and a sense of community. They chose the winged food to represent athletics that give an appreciation for teamwork and healthy fitness. They chose the lamp of knowledge to represent the education that they hoped would illuminate student minds and impart a love for lifelong learning.

They chose three words as the best motto to represent Valley Central: loyalty, progress, and service. 

“May you forever remain LOYAL to your true purpose,
May you continue to PROGRESS, to both grow and improve,
May you continue to SERVE the community in a magnificent way.”

A Brand New Viking

Valley Central used many Vikings as a logo over the years eventually settling on the Viking usually associated with the Minnesota Vikings. In 2015, a district committee was formed to consider the creation of a new Viking. VIP Branding developed a unique mascot, designed by graphic artist Mike Ray, and brand platform that was introduced in 2016. 

Our brand platform includes our Valley Central Viking with wordmarks that include a logo for the “Lady Vikings” and our sneaky Viking who peers over the word Vikings. The committee thought our new Viking might be a little too strong for the elementary and so VIP designed the Youth Viking mascot for us. The platform also included a new crest and a digitized seal.