Cheltenham High School was created in the mid 1880's. While many people in many roles influenced the character and reputation of the school, one man pioneered its initial organization. Through the insight and the action of that man. George W. Flounder, Cheltenham Township Senior High School was instituted December 7, 1884. In championing public education in the Township, it is he who finally made the community see the advantages of furthering education even though it necessitated paying more taxes. And so, eleven years before the state law was passed, establishing township high schools, Cheltenham came into being, one of the first township senior high schools in Pennsylvania. Prior to founding, young people living in the township who wished to continue their education beyond elementary school attended private academies or traveled each day to Philadelphia where a public high school had been established.


With his idea accepted, Cheltenham's founder turned to the practical considerations of setting up the school. A building was obtained on Union Avenue in Melrose Park, classes began, and four students graduated the first term.


The story of the ensuing years is one of rapid growth and expansion. Soon forty students and three teachers comprised the school population. In time, additional years of study and more courses were added to the one year course program so that the students had a broader field from which to choose. Botany, German, Latin, English Literature, Algebra and Solid Geometry were some of the subjects available.


 By 1904, the Ashbourne school building had become so crowded that a new and larger site was imperative. Action was taken and a new building was completed in 1906 on the corner of High School Road and Montgomery Avenue. This building housed the high school from 1906 to 1926. Not long after this, Miss Carrie V. Speck a teacher, recognized the need for reading resources in the school, and she sparked a drive which financed the setting up of library facilities.


The Township experienced rapid growth after World War 1, and the facilities were no longer adequate. In 1922, a movement to build a new senior high school was launched. When the new sites were examined, the land adjacent to the school, (which was, at the time, one of the suburb's athletic fields) was taken over for the new building. The new structure, the Ogontz building, was completed in 1926.

The old high school now became Elkins Park Junior High School.


With the reorganization of the school system to include three years of high school, and with the growing recognition of Cheltenham's good standing and reputation, the school soon filled to capacity.

In 1938 the Board of School Directors built the largest gymnasium in the community to futher the physical education of the students. In 1951 an Industrial and Fine Arts building was built on ground adjacent to the senior high school. The new building enabled the high school program to expand to meet a growing need within the student body. It also was utilized to enrich the program of the Adult School.


 The population continued to grow and in 1955, 1956, and 1957 rooms were opened for high school use in what had been the old Elkins Park Junior High School. Aportion of the building was used for the District Administration Offices. From 1955 to 1959 the four buildings served the needs of the high school.


While the campus type school had some advantages, the disadvantage, especially in inclement weather, were apparent. Furthermore, the high school population continued to grow and by 1956 a decision faced those responsible for the direction of the schools of the Township. Basically the question was, should the present high school facilities be expanded or should a new building be built upon a new site.


A Citizens' Advisory Committee was created to guide the Board and the Administration on this important decision. After a study of the school population, it was determined that a new high school should be constructed. After a survey of possible sites, the Wright farm (the last remaining in the Township) was purchased. Ground for the new building was broken in June 1955. The new building was opened to students on September 8th of 1959.


The new school was constructed on a site of fifty-one acres and the total coast including land and equipment was $6,400,000. The new school was considered one of the finest secondary school buildings in the country. School population continued to grow and by 1964 had reached 1,700. At that time the Board decided to add a new wing to the building. Work began on the addition on the fall of 1965 with completion in the Spring of 1967.


With the opening of the new High School in 1959, the old High School became the Ogontz Junior High School. The campus was used by the District as a junior high and the District Administration offices until 1977. In that year there was an agreement with Beth Jacobs Synagogue of Philadelphia and the complex served as their religious school until the mid 1980's. After that, there were studies to convert the complex to an assisted living facility, but there was local opposition to these proposals.


As a result the buildings were abandoned and vandalized and on January 11, 1994, fire broke out in the three story main building  (which was the first building as you enter from Montgomery Avenue) and lasted for several days. Finally in August 1995 the buildings were demolished.


In October 1995 the Board of Commissioners formally dedicated the site as High School Park and it serves today as a passive park area.


The tradition of excellence in education continues today at the current Cheltenham High School. The school was given national recognition in 1989 when the commencement address for the Class of 1989 was delivered by President George Bush. In his remarks, Mr. Bush described CHS as "this magnificent school…with a superb record of achievement in social sciences and music and academics and the humanities". We, from the Class of 1954 have benefited from and are a part of that long, "record of achievement".