KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A local college preparatory school traces its roots to 17 years before the start of the Civil War.

This week marks the 175th anniversary of Wyoming Seminary. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller takes us on a trip back through time at the school commonly called “Sem”.

“We’ve got catalogs from back in 1844,” said Jack Eidam. Those catalogs document the earliest history of Wyoming Seminary including the very first day of school on September 25, 1844.

“Each of the 31 names of the students is listed,” said Mr. Eidam who once served as Wyoming Seminary’s Dean of Admissions.

Whether it’s or invaluable artifacts from back in the day or priceless pictures of a time long gone, Mr. Eidam had a hand in making this 175th anniversary commemorative display possible.

“It’s been great fun putting this together, going back through the dusty boxes that had been left and collected over many, many years,” he said.

One of the exhibits is a five student bench desk from the old Nesbitt Science Lecture Hall where there used to be about a dozen of these. Nowadays, the lecture hall is used as a STEM classroom at the Upper School.

Wyoming Seminary Vice President of Advancement John Shafer and his father, Edward, graduated from Sem. His grandfather was its school doctor. The Shafer family’s connection to Sem dates back more than a century. Mr. Shafer said, “I think every school says they’re a wonderful, caring community but the way this place operates it truly is a family.”

The rich, 175-year history of Wyoming Seminary includes some rather notable graduates. School President Kevin Rea said, “From Henry Hoyt, 18th Governor of Pennsylvania to Frank Carlucci who was former Secretary of Defense to Joe Torsella the current Treasurer of the state of Pennsylvania it just continues to be an amazing privilege to be here.”

More than 800 students from more than a dozen states and nearly two dozen countries are enrolled at “Sem” — following in the footsteps of those who learned to make themselves better and the world a better place. Junior Evan Hromisin of Dallas said, “It’s awesome to have the education and to be able to have this opportunity and also just to be a part of this celebration of 175 years.”

Senior Allison Hohn of Mountain Top added, “So following someone’s footsteps from 175 years ago, just… I’m very grateful for that because I know that I can now be part of the legacy that Sem is carrying on.”

Wyoming Seminary will host a Founders Day event on Wednesday and wrap up a week of special events with an Anniversary Gala Saturday night at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.