---         Clint Dantinne.com

WMPH 91.7 FM (Mount Pleasant High School Radio Station)

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Clint Dantinne, General Manager - WMPH 91.7 FM - Business Card

Primary Job Function:  Vice President, General Manager of WMPH 91.7 FM Radio Station

Secondary Job Function:  Coordinator of the Broadcast Learning Center of the Brandywine School District located at Mount Pleasant High School

 

Mount Pleasant High School; Brandywine School District

Clint Dantinne was an instructor, technical adviser, alumni liaison, historian, and public information officer (webmaster) at Mount Pleasant High School from 1993-2010.  He was also the founder of the Broadcast Learning Center of the Brandywine School District, founder of the Mount Pleasant Historical Society, and co-founder of the Mount Pleasant Hall of Fame.  In 2005 and 2006, Clint announced every graduate's name during the commencement ceremonies.  He designed all broadcast studios, created new educational programs, coordinated the school district media center, and wrote curriculum.

wmph
As founder and chairperson of the Mount Pleasant Historical Society, he presented Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner a 175th anniversary T-shirt in September 2005.

As school historian, Clint Dantinne archived all past and present items of interest.  He created an alumni page for every class year beginning in 1950 complete with information from their yearbook.  The information and pictures on these Mount Pleasant pages are from his own research.  No one at the school knew the history now listed here.  Everyone was very surprised when he announced the school was actually founded in 1830.  Subsequently, the schools celebrated the 175th anniversary in 2005.  Later, the State of Delaware gave a historical marker to the original Mount Pleasant schoolhouse.  Click HERE for his portfolio.

Letters of recommendation from Principal and IB Coordinator

Stanley's Tavern Wilmington Delaware
Clint Dantinne created the megaphone and initiated this morale booster for the staff of Mount Pleasant High School - May 12, 2006

The Mount Pleasant Schools

The material in this historical archive is the work of Clint Dantinne.

The State of Delaware's first school system, made up of several school districts, contained about twenty schoolhouses. Commissioners in each district had the duty to employ teachers, handle money matters, and if possible, to build and maintain a schoolhouse. In the beginning there were about twenty schoolhouses in the state.

One student during those early school days recalled that, "The subjects taught were very primary, the books were of the crudest kind, and the furniture of the rudest material and structure. The teachers were themselves possessed of limited education."

As time passed and the state grew, the importance of education was recognized. Public Education Acts were passed that improved funding, qualifications of teachers, teaching materials, and school buildings.

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Mount Pleasant information board on the Northern Delaware Greenway

1830 - Mount Pleasant schoolhouse opens
1838 - Mount Pleasant Methodist Church opens
1865 - Mount Pleasant school moves to new location at 1010 Philadelphia Toll Pike
1932 - Mount Pleasant school moves to a much larger location on Duncan Road (now the residence of Mount Pleasant Elementary School)
1958 - Mount Pleasant High School opens on Washington Street Extension


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The photo above is what the old schoolhouse looks like today. When William DuPont Jr. remodeled Woolton Hall, now called the Bellevue Mansion, he also changed the exterior of the schoolhouse from stone to its present Colonial Revival style.

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This is a side view of old schoolhouse taken in 2009.

1830 - A law was passed in Delaware to establish the first public school system. One of the first schools built was Mount Pleasant, located on an acre of land which is now part of Bellevue State Park. Joseph Orr sells a lot on September 22, 1830 to the School Committee of School District #2 (note: School District #1 was Naamans Creek, now the Claymont Stone School). A small stone school is erected on this lot.

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The entrance of Bellevue State Park on Carr Road still has the 1855 post marker to mark the entrance of the Hanson Robinson Estate.

1855 - Hanson Robinson purchases the remainder of the Joseph Orr lot and the adjoining Joseph Grubb lot in order to build his Gothic style mansion.
1863 - Hanson Robinson acquires the School District #2 lot in exchange for a new two-story school in a lot on the south side of Philadelphia Toll Pike opposite the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church.

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The 1865 Mount Pleasant School still stands at 1010 Philadelphia Pike. Only the first floor stone construction remains in this now private residence.  The name 'Mount Pleasant' may have come from the particular view of this area looking down toward the Delaware River.

1865 - The new one-room schoolhouse (see picture above), built from stone, was constructed on the Philadelphia Toll Pike opposite the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church. Click HERE to view the transfer deed.

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The Mount Pleasant Methodist Church, built 1838, is now part of Bellevue State Park and called the Mount Pleasant Meeting House. Click HERE to see additional pictures of the 1865 school property.

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This is a look inside the Mount Pleasant Meeting House (formerly Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church).

1910 - The Mount Pleasant School housed primary and intermediate grades with some classes being held in the barn of Mr. William Jordan. Miss Mary J. Robinson, a teacher of the Intermediate grades, formed an Audubon Society; members of the group wore badges with a green and white ribbon. This may have been the origin of the present school colors.

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The Mount Pleasant School built in 1932 now acts as the Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

1932 - The present Mount Pleasant Elementary School on Duncan Road was constructed. It housed grades 1 through 9 and had an enrollment of 400 pupils.
1944 - Parents petitioned the State Board of Education to expand the educational program in the district to grades 1 through high school.
1945 - The State Board of Education recognized the Mount Pleasant Special School District as a special district, enabling the educational program to be supervised by a Board of Education and a superintendent.
The first Board of Education included:
* Mr. C. Edward Duffy, President
* Mrs. Lillian L. Paschall, Vice President
* Dr. Crayton K. Black
* Mrs. Elizabeth C. Rinehard
* Dr. Ross L. Neagley, First Superintendent
1947 - Grades through the twelfth were added. Ray Schwinger became the first principal.
1948 - Two new elementary schools, housing grades 1 through 6 were added. These were Silverside and Edge Moor.
1949 - Mr. John F. Heiney became Superintendent. The elementary schools had full time principals in charge.
1950 - Mount Pleasant graduated its first class. The Class of 1950 was composed of 31 boys and 31 girls. Mount Pleasant became a full-fledged high school accredited by the Middle Atlantic States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The total enrollment for the district was now 1,472 pupils, 543 in the Junior-Senior High School (see Alumni 1950).
1954 - River Road Elementary School and the new gym on the High School were built.
1956 - Carrcroft Elementary School was completed. The enrollment was now 3,250 pupils, 1,950 of them in grades 1 through 6 and 1,300 in grades 7 through 12. Principals of the Elementary schools were Mr. Thomas D. Childrey, Carrcroft; Mr. Joseph Connelly, Edge Moor; Mr. Lawrence M. Furbish, Jr., River Road; and Mr. Jack G. Rockwell, Silverside (see Alumni 1956).

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This is the 1958 Cornerstone Mount Pleasant Senior High School.

1958 - Mount Pleasant Senior High School was occupied for the first time. Kenneth E. Michael became principal (see Alumni 1959).
1962 - Charles Bomboy, who had formerly been a Biology teacher, was named principal to succeed Mr. Michael.
1966 - Another Biology teacher, John Michalcewiz succeeded the late Mr. Bomboy as principal of the high school.
1969 - WMPH began broadcasting at 91.7 FM from Mt. Pleasant High School and became the State's first high school radio station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (see Alumni 1968).
1973 - Mr. David K. Fauser assumed the office of Superintendent of Schools.
1975 - School auditorium was destroyed by a fire and was later renovated.
1978 - The school district of Mount Pleasant becomes the New Castle County School District. Quinton Sterling becomes the first African-American principal of the high school (see State of Delaware timeline).
1981 - The New Castle County School District found it difficult to function as a large district which resulted in the formation of four separate school districts (Brandywine, Christina, Colonial and Red Clay Consolidated). Dr. Frank J. Furgele becomes the superintendent of the newly formed Brandywine School District.
1990 - Dr. Carl W. Smith becomes superintendent of the Brandywine School District.
1991 - Thomas Lapinski, another former Biology teacher of the school, becomes principal of Mount Pleasant Senior High School.
1993 - JROTC program is established at the school.
1995 - Dr. Joseph P. DeJohn becomes the superintendent of the Brandywine School District. The entire Mount Pleasant High School building is renovated during the course of the 1995-1996 school year. During this time, all faculty and students occupy the former Claymont High School building on Green Street in Claymont as the temporary home of Mount Pleasant High School (see Alumni 1996).
2000 - Thomas Lapinski retires as principal of Mount Pleasant High School. He runs for the School Board, wins and serves a full term as a Brandywine School Board member.

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Click picture for a larger sky view of Mount Pleasant High School on Washington Street Extension.

2001 - Dr. Bruce Harter becomes the new superintendent of the Brandywine School District. Dr. Dennis Runyan becomes the new principal at Mount Pleasant High School.
2003 - Gregg P. Robinson is appointed principal of Mount Pleasant High School. During the summer, the building was completely renovated with new exterior windows.
2004 - Mount Pleasant High School was authorized as the first public school in Delaware to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

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Mount Pleasant School celebrates 175 years of education in 2005.

2005 - The Mount Pleasant Historical Society is formed with Clint Dantinne as chairperson.  Mount Pleasant High School celebrates 175th anniversary during homecoming weekend (October 14 & 15) with special events and installation of the school Hall of Fame.
2006 - Mike Pullig becomes Acting Principal. Dr. Jim Scanlon becomes the new superintendent of the Brandywine School District. The Mount Pleasant High School building undergoes summer wiring renovations to install a new security system with video surveillance and ID card door access.

Mount Pleasant Historical Marker
Mount Pleasant School has an historical marker dedication on May 18, 2007.  For press release, click HERE

2007 - The State of Delaware honors the original Mount Pleasant schoolhouse with a historical marker. The dedication ceremony was held on May 18. Mike Pullig is officially appointed Principal by the school board on June 25.

Golden Knight
Mount Pleasant High School was honored at the 2008 homecoming game for 50 years at our building location.  For PTSA meeting notes, click HERE

2008 - Jim Simmons (Class of 1984) becomes the first Mount Pleasant alumnus to be appointed Principal. The high school celebrates the 50th anniversary of the building location.

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2009 - WMPH school radio station celebrated their 40th anniversary.

Evolution of a Community

Formative Era

Bellevue has a long tradition of providing an educational institution for the children within its community. William Penn (1644-1718) sectioned most of the land that surrounds our present day community of Mount Pleasant High School. This land was used to establish one of the first Quaker Meetings in Delaware. The most prominent citizens of the day were Morgan Dewit and Valentine Hollingsworth. A meetinghouse on the north side of Carr Road (2.8 miles east of Faulk Road), established about 1682, hosted regular community meetings. It was named from a plantation called New Wark or New Worke patented to Hollingsworth, who in 1687 donated one-half acre for the burying place “being some already buryed in ye spot.” This is the location of the Newark Union Church. Following the admonition of William Penn concerning the importance of educating the young, this meetinghouse was also used as a schoolhouse.

In 1830, a law was passed in Delaware to establish the first public school system. That same year, Joseph Orr sold a lot to the School Committee of School District #2. One of the first schools built was Mount Pleasant, a small stone school. Hanson Robinson purchased the remainder of the Joseph Orr lot in 1855 and the adjoining Joseph Grubb lot in order to build his Gothic style mansion. This section of land, later be owned by William H. DuPont, Jr., was acquired by the State of Delaware in 1976 and renamed Bellevue State Park. The original Mount Pleasant School is still on the property of Bellevue State Park (view satellite map of all Mount Pleasant schools - click HERE).

Claymont Stone School
Mount Pleasant school desk circa 1830

As the little community of Mount Pleasant prospered, and the village of Bellevue grew up around it, a new school was needed. Hanson Robinson acquired the School District #2 lot in 1863 in exchange for a new two-story school near a lot on the south side of the newly constructed Philadelphia Toll Pike. The new school was built in 1865, opposite the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church (remnants of the original structure still stand at 1010 Philadelphia Pike). There, grades 1 through 8 were taught. Gradually other grades were added, so that children could attend through high school.

The community remained mostly parkland until the twentieth century when the new economy was driven by the rapidly expanding chemical industry. As the chemical industry expanded, so did the community. New towns and cities were all causes for a new school. In 1932 this became reality, and Mount Pleasant School on Duncan Road was built. This new school would only accommodate grades one through nine. There were no school busses at that time. Folks remember that the children used to get free trolley rides from friendly motormen up to the Mount Pleasant School.

A new problem emerged - parents wanted local control over their school due to rapid growth and the formation of new communities. Eight years later in 1944, the State Board of Education was petitioned to create a new school district. One year later in 1945, the Mount Pleasant Special School District was organized.

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Mount Pleasant graduated only the ninth grades in 1946

In 1947, new housing developments made it mandatory for Mount Pleasant School on Duncan Road to become a four-year high school. Prior to this year, the school taught only first through ninth grades. It now began servicing through the twelfth grade. To accommodate the very young, two elementary schools were built: Silverside and Edgemoor. Eight years later, two new elementary schools were built - River Road in 1954 and Carrcroft in 1956. The last elementary school was built in 1966 - Old Mill Lane Elementary.

The first graduating class from Mount Pleasant's newly formed high school was in 1950. During the same year for the first time, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited Mount Pleasant High School. Also at this time period, a student committee was formed to choose an identity for the high school. The Green Knight (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) was chosen for the school mascot. The school colors would officially be green and white. The school yearbooks would be named the Green Leaf and the school newspaper would be known as the Green Flash. Interestingly, the football uniforms were patterned after Michigan State University using their same colors, helmet design and medieval knight.

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Map of the area in 1961 for the regional planning commission of New Castle Co. (Price & Price Civil Engineers)

In 1953 a new site was chosen to build the current Mount Pleasant High School located at 5201 Washington Street Extension and Marsh Road. The school would open in the fall of 1958. Additions to the main physical plant were completed in 1968 and 1971.

The Desegregation Era

The community of Mount Pleasant Senior High School underwent a major cultural change in 1978. The Federal District Court ordered the 11 school districts in northern Delaware to merge and become one single district, namely, the New Castle County School District. The newly formed district found it difficult to function as a large district and this resulted in the formation of four separate school districts (Brandywine, Christina, Colonial and Red Clay Consolidated).

In 1981, Brandywine School District would consist of four high schools: Brandywine, Claymont, Concord and Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant High School community has become diverse because of the dissolution of the Wilmington School District. Students were shared among the four new school districts. The community of Mount Pleasant became two-fold; the old Mount Pleasant Special School District and a small, undefined area of the City of Wilmington (North--Bellevue-Bellefonte; East--along the Delaware River and Governor Printz Boulevard extending past Edgemoor into the inner city around Price Run Park, Speakman Park, 25th Street up to Market Street, and Northwest to the Ninth Ward; to the West - to the city's urban sections - Rockwood I/II, Talley Farms; Liftwood Estate, and Liftwood to Marsh Road).

Post Desegregation Era

In 1990, Claymont High School closed. The Brandywine School District attributed the closing to a declining enrollment, an unequal racial balance and the economics of keeping a high school open with a declining enrollment. As a result, students were reassigned within the three existing high schools. Mount Pleasant's current feeder pattern was once again transformed. The epicenter of Mount Pleasant High School would remain at Bellevue-Bellefonte, but now it would extend as far north as Claymont and the immediate vicinity; eastward along I-495 and the Delaware River; westward to the B&O railroad and southward into the inner city of Wilmington. Danby Street to Market Street would border the city on the north. The northwest would include Vandever Avenue and extend northeasterly to Governor Printz Boulevard. This leads south to Spruce Street and its immediate vicinity.

Shifts in feeder patterns have closed all of the former elementary schools except Carrcroft Elementary and the original Mount Pleasant School on Duncan Road converted back to an elementary school. New feeder elementary schools are Harlan, Claymont, Pierre S. DuPont, Maple Lane, Carrcroft, Mount Pleasant, Darley Road and two middle schools - Springer and Talley.


Information on the present location of Mount Pleasant High School of 5201 Washington Street Extension, based on deed research for Bellevue State Park (Wise 1987)

1670-1688 Swedish property ownership confirmed by a series of grants including resurvey of Verdreitige Hook properties. These documents established the southeastern boundary of Rockland Manor, a large tract of land set aside for the Penn family, which included much of the land between the Delaware River and the Brandywine, except land that had already been granted along the rivers themselves. The present Mount Pleasant High School property falls within the Rockland Manor boundaries.

Before 1785 George Robinson acquired a tract of Rockland Manor running along the southeastern boundary from Shellpot Creek to Stoney Creek. This would include the high school property.

After 1785 The Beeson family acquired the southern half of the George Robinson tract, including what is now the high school property.

After 1850 and before 1868 Joseph Hanby acquired the southern George Robinson tract after the death of John Beeson. The Hanbys owned the property until after 1900.

 Theta:  A Unique Piece of Mount Pleasant

thetaIn 1971, the environmental club received funds to have a special jade sculpture created for Mount Pleasant High School. Named for the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, Theta was on display in the school lobby from the early 1970s until the school renovation of 1995. Lost in storage for a generation, the Mount Pleasant Historical Society with cooperation from the 2008 environmental club moved Theta from storage to a prominent display case in the school.

FAQ: Theta weighs 142 pounds, is 23 ½ inches high, 24 inches wide, and 15 inches long. This unique piece of artwork was sculpted from a green ornamental stone called jade.

Mount Pleasant High SchoolMount Pleasant High School Wilmington Delaware

Mount Pleasant High School outside bus port

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Mount Pleasant High School inside lobby area

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Display case in school lobby created by Clint Dantinne (click for larger image)

 

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Coat of Arms

The 'green theme' of Mount Pleasant High School as follows originated with the Class of 1950.

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Clint Dantinne, Mount Pleasant Historical Society chairperson and alumni liaison, took a series of aerial photographs and video of all three high schools in the Brandywine School District on July 20, 2008. Click on either thumbnail of Mount Pleasant High School to enlarge the picture.

"The people loved Mount Pleasant. When they built a church and school, they called them Mount Pleasant. When a group of people migrated westward in 1849, they named their church in Illinois Mount Pleasant."
Herbert T. Pratt, Chairman of the Trustees, Mount Pleasant Church of Christ

State of Delaware (Courtesy World Atlas)

The name Delaware came from Lord De La Warr, governor of Virginia in 1610. Pioneers from Sweden and Finland founded the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley in 1638 at what is now Wilmington. Swedish Delaware fell to the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant in 1655.

Almost a decade passed when in 1664, Delaware first came under British rule. The ship that brought William Penn to Delaware in 1682 was simply called Welcome. In 1730, Andrew Justison commissioned the first survey for land that would later be Wilmington. Andrew Justison's son-in-law Thomas Willing gave the name to his tract of land called Willingtown, later to be called Wilmington.

Delaware later voted to separate from English domination on June 15, 1776. Caesar Rodney, Speaker of the Delaware Assembly, made his famous ride from Wilmington to Philadelphia on July 1 – 2, 1776 to declare Delaware independent from England. The three men from Delaware who signed the Declaration of Independence were Caesar Rodney, George Read and Thomas McKean. Delaware became the first state by ratifying the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787 now celebrated as Delaware Day.

1609 - Henry Hudson sails his ship, the Half Moon, up Delaware Bay, and became the first European to visit the area
1613 - The explorer, Cornelius Jacobsen May, arrives in the area and trades with local Indians
1638 - Swedish settlers on two ships (Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip), led by Peter Minit, arrive in the Wilmington area, naming it Christina
1655 - The Governor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant, along with a large fleet, capture all of New Sweden, thus ending Swedish rule in the colonies
1682 - William Penn, the new owner of both Delaware and Pennsylvania, sails up the Delaware River on his way to Philadelphia
1704 - Becomes British Colony
1776 - Caesar Rodney, suffering from cancer, makes his famous ride from Wilmington to Philadelphia on horseback, and casts the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence
1787 - Delaware ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the First State
1802 - du Pont gunpowder mill established
1812 - Delaware's Captain Thomas MacDonough's victory in the battle of Lake Champlain, during the War of 1812, becomes that war's turning point
1829 - Delaware Canal opens
1862 - At the Civil War battle of Antietam, half of the state's Continental Army soldiers were killed. Delaware troops were among the most effective soldiers of the Continental Army, distinguishing themselves in battle. Because of their reputation as fighters, they were called Blue Hens after the famous bluish cocks they took with them on their campaigns
1910 - U.S. Battleship Delaware commissioned
1935 - Nylon invented at du Pont Company
1951 - Delaware Memorial Bridge opens, connecting New Jersey
1978 - By order of the U.S. Supreme Court, Delaware began the busing of children from the inner-city neighborhoods of Wilmington to the more affluent suburbs, thus helping to establish busing across the nation
** Until 1978, the area was called the Mount Pleasant Special School District.  As a result, the Mount Pleasant Special School District was consolidated within the newly formed New Castle County School District.

Green Knight