President McKinley graduated from the school in 1859.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- The Poland Middle School building will get a mark of historic distinction.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Zorn applied earlier this year to the Ohio Historical Society for a marker for the school building. He learned this month that the application was approved.
"The 25th president of the United States graduated from Poland, and we want the kids to know that," Zorn said.
The building has been a middle school since 1985, but from 1835 to 1862, it was Poland Academy. William McKinley, the nation's 25th president, graduated from the school in 1859.
McKinley was born in 1843 in Niles and practiced law in Canton before his election to Congress at 34.
He was elected president in 1896 and re-elected in 1900. He was shot by an anarchist in 1901 and died eight days later.
The school was constructed 150 years ago, and part of the original structure remains.
Zorn researched information through the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles to complete the application.
Besides approval of the marker, Zorn's application also garnered a 750 grant to help pay the cost. Total cost of the marker is about 1,900.
"It's good for Poland and good for Mahoning County," Zorn said.
Poland Seminary was a private school on the site from 1862 to 1909. At that time, seminary indicated "co-educational," and it was one of the first schools in Northeast Ohio to admit girls on an equal basis, according to the text proposed for the marker.
McKinley wasn't the school's only graduate to go on to national prominence.
Other famous names
Another graduate, William Calhoun, would become a U.S. ambassador to China from 1910 to 1913. Ida Tarbell, who became an author and national journalist, worked at the seminary from 1880 to 1882.
It was Poland Seminary High School from 1909 to 1971 and Poland Junior High School from 1971 to 1985.
The process to receive markers and grants to help with costs is competitive.
"It's hard to get them both on the first shot," the superintendent said.
There are more than 1,000 markers throughout the state designating historic sites. Each is constructed of cast aluminum and copper.
It will take a few months before the marker arrives and is installed. Zorn said that a ceremony with unveiling of the marker will be organized to include pupils and members of the school board.
Nominations for markers are to address the state's historical, natural or physical development in history, architecture, culture, archaeology, ethnic associations, natural history and folklore according the Ohio Historical Society's Web site.
Among the criteria to earn a marker, a site must address an association with deceased people who have made significant contributions to patterns of history and culture.