The History of Mount Pleasant High School
Mount Pleasant High School has a long and storied history. The school’s origin can be traced all the way back to the beginning of our country. William Penn (1644-1718) sectioned most of the land around the present-day community that includes Mount Pleasant High School. This area was known as Bellevue. It was used to establish one of the first Quaker Meetings in Delaware. A meetinghouse on the north side of Carr Road (2.8 miles east of Foulk Road), established about 1682, hosted regular community meetings. It was named after a plantation called New Wark or New Worke. In 1687, landowner Valentine Hollingsworth donated one-half acre that would become the location of the Newark Union Church. This meetinghouse was also used as this area’s first schoolhouse, serving families in the Bellevue area.
In 1830 Delaware established its first public school system. The system was made up of several school districts and contained about twenty schoolhouses. Commissioners in each district employed teachers, handled money matters, and built and maintained schoolhouses. 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."
That same year, Joseph Orr sold some land to the School Committee of School District #2. A small stone school was built on that lot. It was called Mount Pleasant. Hanson Robinson purchased the remainder of the Joseph Orr lot in 1855 and the adjoining Joseph Grubb lot in order to build an estate and a Gothic style mansion. This property was later owned by William H. DuPont, Jr. and named Bellevue Manor. It 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.
In 1953 a new site located at 5201 Washington Street Extension and Marsh Road was chosen for a new High School. The school opened in the fall of 1958. Additions to the main physical plant were completed in 1968 and 1971.
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 was then broken into four separate school districts (Brandywine, Christina, Colonial and Red Clay Consolidated) in 1981. Brandywine School District consisted of four high schools: Brandywine, Claymont, Concord and Mount Pleasant.
In 1990, Claymont High School closed due to low enrollment. The epicenter of Mount Pleasant High School would remain at Bellevue-Bellefonte, but now extended as far north as Claymont and the immediate vicinity. Since then, 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.
Today Mount Pleasant is an award-winning school. It is home to Delaware’s first International Baccalaureate Program and houses the district’s only Junior ROTC program and radio station. It continues to provide excellent programs and academics for the student and the community.
A new school was needed as the little community of Mount Pleasant prospered and the village of Bellevue grew. In 1863, Hanson Robinson acquired for a new two-story school near a lot on the south side of the new Philadelphia Toll Pike. The new school was built in 1865, opposite the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church. Grades 1 through 8 were taught at the new school. Gradually other grades were added, so that children could attend through high school.
The community remained small until the twentieth century when the rapidly expanding chemical industry brought more people to the area. As the population grew, new schools were needed. In 1932 Mount Pleasant School (now Mount Pleasant Elementary) on Duncan Road was built. This new school only accommodated grades one through nine. Students traveled from the surrounding areas to attend. Folks remember that the children used to get free trolley rides from friendly motormen to the Mount Pleasant School.
Eventually parents wanted local control over their schools. In 1944, the State Board of Education was petitioned to create a new school district. One year later the Mount Pleasant Special School District was organized.
In 1947 new housing developments and more families required Mount Pleasant School to become a four-year high school. Two elementary schools were built: Silverside and Edgemoor. Eight years later, two more elementary schools were built - River Road in 1954 and Carrcroft in 1956. Old Mill Lane Elementary was built in 1966.
Mount Pleasant High School graduated its first senior class in 1950. During the same year, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited Mount Pleasant High School. A student committee was formed to choose a school identity. 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. The football uniforms were patterned after Michigan State University using their same colors, helmet design and medieval knight.