by Ricardo Sheler and Sarah Tilghman
Murch Blue and Gold student reporters
Maybe you’ve seen the plaque near the auditorium doors, but how much do you really know about Benjamin W. Murch? Where did he live? What did he do? What was he like?
Well, we went on a mission to find out about Benjamin W. Murch and tell all of you what we found out.
Mr. Murch was born June 29, 1858 in Carmel, Maine, which is near the city of Bangor. After graduating from Central High School there in 1876, he went on to receive degrees from Yale and Bates colleges. He married Isa B. Foster in 1883, and became principal of the Derby Academy in Derby, Vermont, for two years.
In 1887 he moved to Washington, DC, where he began a long career in the public schools. First, he was principal of the Curtis School in Georgetown for five years. Then he worked as the principal of Force School from 1892 to 1899, and again from 1901 to 1908.
Mr. Murch was a respected principal, supervising principal and assistant superintendent who became known for seeking high achievement in education. “If you give the world the best,” he was known to say, “then the best will come back to you.”
Mr. Murch gave plenty to the city, but while memories of his contributions to education have faded like an old t-shirt, his name remains with us today.
He died May 7, 1927. Three years later, an elementary school, bearing his name, opened for the first time.
Ricardo and Sarah are two of the nine fifth graders who worked on Murch Elementary’s student newspaper this spring. The Blue and Gold has given us permission to share the articles with our readers.