Breaking up was hard to do in Camden (Part III)

A consolidated Camden County High had formed in Woodbine in 1945. A year later, the experiment was over.

Thanks to an increased presence on the Camden board of education by members from Kingsland and St. Marys and some unsigned board minutes and an unlikely quorum, Camden was split. Kingsland and St. Marys split off into their own consolidated high school, South Camden, while Woodbine retained the Camden County name.

And then everyone lived peacefully … for 2.5 years.

Continue reading “Breaking up was hard to do in Camden (Part III)”

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Breaking up was hard to do in Camden (Part I)

This will be a tale in multiple parts.

The point of school consolidations is to bring schools together. To combine resources, perhaps to lose an outmoded building with a declining student population.

Consolidations usually take.

Lowndes County High opened in 1959, joining together Clyattville, Lake Park, Naylor and part of Pine Grove. In 1966, it consolidated further with the addition of Hahira. Lowndes has flirted with a new high school, but has held fast for more than 50 years.

North Habersham and South Habersham combined in 1970. They are seemingly contently wedded to one another.

Not all consolidations take. Duluth and Norcross were joined for a single school year, 1957-58 as West Gwinnett, before Duluth demanded to be set free. Greene-Taliaferro, Mitchell-Baker and Tri-County all joined and split.

Those decisions are generally final. Authorities involved realized that one situation or the other was best for their student populations.

But in one county school system, that wasn’t it. They were together, then they were not. Then they were together again.

This is Camden County.

Camden is the only known county school system in Georgia to have consolidated, broken up, then consolidated again.

Continue reading “Breaking up was hard to do in Camden (Part I)”

For every town, a high school (or woes of Wilcox County)

“It looks to me that if there was ever a school system ripe for consolidation, it’s yours.”
David Rice, State Board of Education, to Wilcox County officials, March 1963

In 2016, Wilcox County, Georgia, was estimated to have a grand total of 8,761 citizens. The number was a bit smaller just over 50 years ago. Census records show Wilcox with 7,905 citizens in 1960.

The Wilcox County Patriots currently compete in Class A athletics, the smallest in the Georgia High School Association. There are only two years that Wilcox has ever been above Class A. After GHSA restructuring in 1978, in which Class B was eliminated, the school jumped to AA. It was A again in 1980 and Class A is where it has been since.

All Wilcox County public high school students attend Wilcox County High. There are no private schools within Wilcox’s borders and probably no more than a handful or two attend private schools elsewhere.

With all of Wilcox in Class A, it would seem natural that it was an early consolidation because of its lack of students. Fellow Class A school Lanier County did not entertain another white high school beyond the early 1920s. Irwin County finished consolidating its white high schools in 1952. Turner County was complete in 1957. It had only two white high schools to consolidate at that time.

Then the following might be odd.

Continue reading “For every town, a high school (or woes of Wilcox County)”

Surrency versus State

When Georgia wanted to overhaul its public schools in the 1950s, it unveiled the Minimum Foundation Program.

The program worked for both state and school systems. School systems got much needed money to upgrade and in exchange, the state got systems to agree to its conditions. Conditions were for equalization of white and black facilities, certain acreage and location of schools and if impartial surveys indicated that a school was small and losing population, there was a good chance Georgia would decree it be closed and consolidate with another.

In some cases, this led to a battle. Rural schools, especially high schools, were occasionally hesitant to lose their status. Systems like Washington County and Elbert County/Elberton city were late to start building programs because of wars over small high schools.

Others readily accepted Georgia’s offer of money and agreed to consolidate, but ultimately did not.

Ten years later, Georgia was not happy with the stragglers.

Continue reading “Surrency versus State”

Georgia’s high schools of 1949-50

Here’s a simple list: Georgia’s white high schools of 1949-50.

Currently, there is not a cumulative list freely available on the internet prior to 1960. The Georgia High School Association, citing the number of consolidations taking place in the 1950s, declined to publish region lists. Not that region lists were cumulative in that era, there were a number of unaccredited high schools. Depending on year, the GHSA frowned upon its member schools playing non-accredited schools in the state, or at times, ignored it happening.

The methodology of this list was copying down the number of four-year public high schools per each listed school system in the Seventy-Eighth and Seventy-Ninth Annual Reports  of the Department of Education to the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.

Accredited high schools were applied to the list from the 1949-50 Georgia Educational Directory. At that time, the directory did not print what grades each school housed. Accredited high schools were listed in all caps.

Fortunately, much is known of school systems of that era to add in nearly all unaccredited high schools. We know all nine of Gordon County’s county schools and that Walker County was operating minuscule high schools at Cedar Grove and West Armuchee.

Unfortunately, not enough is known about Georgia’s African-American schools to attempt that list. The Annual Reports said there were 289 four-year black high schools in the year ending June 1950 (there were 482 white four-year public high schools). Sources are few and far between, especially for a rural county like Meriwether, which was said to have nine public African-American four-year high schools.

The stats from the Annual Reports almost assuredly contain a handful of errors. Glascock County, for example, was credited with two white high schools.

There were four schools in Glascock County in 1949-50, according to the Department of Education’s Educational Directory of the same year: Gibson, Bastonville, Edgehill and Mitchell. Gibson, of course, being the county seat and the biggest town in the county, had an all-grades 13-teacher school and was accredited as a high school by the state. The directory specifically labels Bastonville and Mitchell as junior high schools. Though not labeled, Edgehill was smaller than the two of those, at four teachers.

Any system number starred is one I feel the number is not correct.  Some likely had fewer schools. Some, like Cobb County, probably had more high schools than the list credited. If the asterisk appears by a school, it means I am not sure if the school was indeed a high school. Rather, it’s an educated guess.

In another note, the Annual Reports were not always consistent with breaking school systems into county and city. For example, Statesboro and Vienna were separate school systems than Bulloch and Dooly counties, respectively, but were included with them.

  • Appling (2) – Baxley, Surrency
  • Atkinson (2) – Pearson, Willacoochee
  • Bacon (1) – Bacon County
  • Baker (1) – Baker County
  • Baldwin (3) – Georgia Military College, Midway Vocational, Peabody
  • Banks (4) – Banks County, Davis Academy, Gillsville, Hickory Flat*
  • Barrow (1) – Statham
  • Bartow (4) – Adairsville, Cass, Pine Log, Taylorsville
  • Ben Hill (1) – Fitzgerald
  • Berrien (5) – Alapaha, Enigma, Nashville, Poplar Springs, Ray City
  • Bibb (3) – Lanier, Macon Vocational, A.L. Miller
  • Bleckley (1) – Cochran
  • Brantley (2) – Hoboken, Nahunta
  • Brooks (4) – Barwick, Dixie, Morven, Quitman
  • Bryan (2) – Bryan County, Richmond Hill
  • Bulloch (7) – Brooklet, Laboratory School, Nevils, Portal, Register, Statesboro, Stilson
  • Burke (4) – Girard, Midville, Sardis, Waynesboro
  • Butts (1) – Jackson
  • Calhoun (3) – Arlington, Edison, Morgan
  • Camden (2) – Camden County, South Camden
  • Candler (2) – Metter, Pulaski
  • Carroll (6) – Bowdon, Mount Zion, Roopville, Temple, Villa Rica, Whitesburg
  • Catoosa (2) – Lakeview, Ringgold
  • Charlton (2) – Charlton County, St. George
  • Chatham (2) – Commercial, Savannah
  • Chattahoochee (1) – Cusseta
  • Chattooga (5) – Gore, Lyerly, Menlo, Subligna, Summerville
  • Cherokee (2) – Canton, Woodstock
  • Clarke (2) – University Demonstration, Winterville
  • Clay (1) – Clay County
  • Clayton (3) – Forest Park, Jonesboro, North Clayton
  • Clinch (1) – Homerville
  • Cobb (8*) – Acworth, Austell, Fitzhugh Lee, Kennesaw, Mableton, McEachern, R.L. Osborne, Powder Springs, Smyrna. Nine schools.
  • Coffee (6) – Ambrose, Broxton, Douglas, Nicholls, Satilla, West Green
  • Colquitt (2) – Doerun, Norman Park
  • Columbia (3) – Evans, Harlem, Leah
  • Cook (1) – Cook
  • Coweta (4) – East Coweta, Grantville, Newnan, Western
  • Crawford (1) – Crawford County
  • Crisp (3) – Arabi, East Crisp, West Crisp
  • Dade (2) – Dade, Davis
  • Dawson (1) – Dawson County
  • Decatur (7) – Attapulgus, Bainbridge, Brinson*, Climax, Faceville*, Mount Pleasant, West Bainbridge
  • DeKalb (8) – Avondale, Chamblee, Clarkston, Druid Hills, Lithonia, Southwest DeKalb, Stone Mountain, Tucker
  • Dodge (5) – Chauncey, Chester, Dodge High, Eastman, Rhine
  • Dooly (5) – Byromville, Dooly High, Pinehurst, Unadilla, Vienna
  • Dougherty (0)
  • Douglas (1) – Douglas County
  • Early (4) – Blakely-Union, Damascus, Hilton, Jakin
  • Echols (1) – Echols County
  • Effingham (5) – Clyo, Effingham Academy, Guyton, Marlow, Rincon
  • Elbert (2) – Bowman, Nancy Hart Memorial
  • Emanuel (6) – Adrian, Emanuel County Institute, Garfield, Oak Park, Summertown, Swainsboro
  • Evans (1) – Claxton
  • Fannin (4) – Blue Ridge, Epworth, Fannin County, McCaysville
  • Fayette (1) – Fayette County
  • Floyd (6*) – Armuchee, Cave Spring, Coosa, Johnson, McHenry, Model, Pepperell. Seven schools.
  • Forsyth (2) – Chestatee, Cumming
  • Franklin (3) – Franklin County, Lavonia, Royston
  • Fulton (9) – Campbell, College Park, Fulton, Hapeville, Milton, North Fulton, Northside, Russell, West Fulton
  • Gilmer (1) – Ellijay
  • Glascock (2*) – Gibson. No other high schools.
  • Glynn (1) – Glynn Academy
  • Gordon (9) – Belwood, Fairmount, Liberty, Oostanaula, Plainville, Red Bud, Resaca, Sonoraville, Sugar Valley
  • Grady (2) – Cairo, Whigham
  • Greene (2) – Greensboro, Union Point
  • Gwinnett (11) – Bethesda, Buford, Dacula, Duluth, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville, Sugar Hill, Suwanee
  • Habersham (4) – Baldwin, Clarkesville, Cornelia, Demorest
  • Hall (10) – Air Line, Chattahoochee, Flowery Branch, Lyman Hall, Lula, Murrayville*, Oakwood, River Bend, Sardis (and unknown)
  • Hancock (1) – Sparta
  • Haralson (5) – Bremen, Buchanan, Tallapoosa, Waco (and unknown).
  • Harris (4) – Chipley, Hamilton, Mountain Hill, Waverly Hall
  • Hart (1) – Hartwell
  • Heard (2) – Centralhatchee, Franklin
  • Henry (2) – Hampton, McDonough
  • Houston (2) – Perry, Warner Robins
  • Irwin (3) – Irwinville, Mystic, Ocilla
  • Jackson (5) – Benton, Braselton, Commerce, Jefferson, Maysville
  • Jasper (1) – Monticello
  • Jeff Davis (1) – Jeff Davis
  • Jefferson (6) – Avera, Bartow, Louisville, Stapleton, Wadley, Wrens
  • Jenkins (1) – Millen
  • Johnson (2) – Kite, Wrightsville
  • Jones (1) – Jones County
  • Lamar (1) – Milner
  • Lanier (1) – Lanier County
  • Laurens (10) – Brewton, Cadwell, Cedar Grove, Condor, Dexter, Dublin, Dudley, Lowery, Rentz, Wilkes
  • Lee (1) – Lee County
  • Liberty (1) – Bradwell Institute
  • Lincoln (1) – Lincolnton
  • Long (1) – Ludowici
  • Lowndes (6) – Clyattville, Hahira, Lake Park, Naylor, Pine Grove, Valdosta
  • Lumpkin (1) – Lumpkin County
  • Macon (4) – Ideal, Marshallville, Montezuma, Oglethorpe
  • Madison (4) – Colbert, Comer, Danielsville, Ila
  • Marion (1) – Buena Vista
  • McDuffie (2) – Dearing, Thomson
  • McIntosh (1) – Darien
  • Meriwether (4) – Greenville, Luthersville, Manchester, Woodbury
  • Miller (1) – Miller County
  • Mitchell (4) – Hopeful, Mitchell County, Pelham, Sale City
  • Monroe (1) – Mary Persons
  • Montgomery (2) – Montgomery County, Mt. Vernon-Ailey
  • Morgan (1) – Morgan County
  • Murray (1) – Murray County
  • Muscogee (3) – Baker, Columbus, Jordan
  • Newton (1) – Newton County
  • Oconee (2) – Bogart, Oconee County
  • Oglethorpe (2*) – Oglethorpe County. Oglethorpe County was the only high school.
  • Paulding (2) – Dallas, Hiram
  • Peach (2) – Byron, Fort Valley
  • Pickens (2) – Pickens County, Tate
  • Pierce (2) – Blackshear, Patterson
  • Pike (2) – Concord-Molena, Zebulon
  • Polk (1) – Rockmart
  • Pulaski (1) – Hawkinsville
  • Putnam (1) – Eatonton
  • Quitman (1) – Georgetown
  • Rabun (3) – Lakemont, Rabun County, Rabun Gap
  • Randolph (2) – Cuthbert, Shellman
  • Richmond (3) – Hephzibah, Richmond Academy, Tubman
  • Rockdale (1) – Conyers
  • Schley (1) – Schley County
  • Screven (5*) – Bay Branch, Hilltonia, Jackson, Newington, Rocky Ford, Sylvania. Six high schools.
  • Seminole (1) – Seminole County
  • Spalding (1) – Spalding
  • Stephens (2) – Stephens County, Toccoa
  • Stewart (2) – Richland, Stewart County
  • Sumter (2) – Plains, Union
  • Talbot (1) – Talbot County
  • Taliaferro (1) – Alexander Stephens Institute
  • Tattnall (3) – Collins, Glennville, Reidsville
  • Taylor (2) – Butler, Reynolds
  • Telfair (5) – Lumber City, McRae-Helena, Milan, Ocmulgee, Workmore
  • Terrell (1) – Terrell
  • Thomas (5) – Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee, Pavo
  • Tift (2) – Omega, Tifton
  • Toombs (3) – Lyons, Toombs Central, Vidalia
  • Towns (1) – Towns County
  • Treutlen (1) – Treutlen
  • Troup (4) – Center, Gray Hill, Rosemont, (Hillcrest or Mountville)
  • Turner (3) – Ashburn, Rebecca, Sycamore
  • Twiggs (3) – Smith, Twiggs, Twiggs-Wilkinson
  • Union (2) – Union County, Woody Gap
  • Upson (1) – Yatesville
  • Walker (6*) – Cedar Grove, Chattanooga Valley, LaFayette, Rossville, West Armuchee. Likely only five high schools.
  • Walton (3) – Loganville, Monroe, Social Circle
  • Ware (4) – Manor, Wacona, Waresboro, Waycross
  • Warren (1) – Warrenton
  • Washington (4) – Davisboro, Harrison, Sandersville, Tennille
  • Wayne (3) – Odum, Screven, Wayne County
  • Webster (1) – Webster County
  • Wheeler (4*) – Glenwood, Shiloh, Wheeler County. Likely just three high schools.
  • White (2) – Cleveland, Nacoochee
  • Whitfield (7) – Cohutta, Dawnville, Pleasant Grove, Tunnel Hill, Valley Point, Varnell, Westside
  • Wilcox (4) – Abbeville, Pineview, Pitts, Rochelle
  • Wilkes (2) – Tignall, Washington
  • Wilkinson (4) – Gordon, Irwinton, Toomsboro, Twiggs-Wilkinson
  • Worth (4) – Bridgeboro, Sumner, Sylvester, Warwick
  • Albany (1) – Albany
  • Americus (1) – Americus
  • Athens (2*) – Athens. Probably just one high school.
  • Atlanta (9) – Bass, Brown, Central Night, Grady, Murphy, O’Keefe, Roosevelt, Smith, Sylvan
  • Barnesville (1) – Gordon Military
  • Calhoun city (1) – Calhoun
  • Carrollton (1) – Carrollton
  • Cartersville (1) – Cartersville
  • Cedartown (1) – Cedartown
  • Chickamauga (1) – Gordon Lee
  • Cordele (1) – Cordele
  • Dalton (1) – Dalton
  • Decatur city (2) – Decatur Boys, Decatur Girls
  • Elberton (1) – Elberton
  • Gainesville (1) – Gainesville
  • Griffin (1) – Griffin
  • Hogansville (1) – Hogansville
  • LaGrange (1) – LaGrange
  • Marietta (1) – Marietta
  • Moultrie (1) – Moultrie
  • Rome (2*) – Rome. Likely one high school as Georgia School for the Deaf and Berry both called private.
  • Tallulah Falls (1) – Tallulah Falls
  • Thomaston (1) – R.E. Lee
  • Thomasville (1) – Thomasville
  • Toccoa (1) – Toccoa
  • Trion (1) – Trion
  • West Point (1) – West Point
  • Winder (1) – Winder

Indefensible: Schools closing after winning state basketball titles

A wide variety of Georgia high schools have won state basketball championships.

The GIAA began state tournaments for its league in 1922 and the official Georgia High School Association championships started in 1926. (For reasons unknown the GHSA does not list the 1926-37 champions on its site.)

Of course, in nearly 100 years of tournaments, not all schools are still standing.

Continue reading “Indefensible: Schools closing after winning state basketball titles”

A school name too difficult

You probably have not heard of Morgan-Leary High School.

Its existence is only  noted in a single one of Georgia’s educational directories, the 1957-58 edition. Its actual life was even shorter.

Morgan-Leary is likely one of the shortest-lived high schools in Georgia’s history.

Under its name, the school only lasted three months. The reason for changing it was one of the stranger decisions in state school history, too – Morgan-Leary was too cumbersome.

Morgan-Leary, located in Morgan, was named August 14, 1957 at a Calhoun County Board of Education meeting. It was renamed at another Calhoun County board meeting to Morgan High November 13, 1957.

The reason behind the change was explained by the Calhoun County Board of Education in the November 22 Calhoun County News:

“Upon suggestion of the board members from the Morgan district, a motion was made with concurrence from the Leary board member to change the name of the Morgan-Leary High School back to its original Morgan High School. Explanation revealed the name Morgan-Leary High School was impractical because of its length.”

Morgan-Leary was not even the most complicated name in the state at that time; Sardis-Girard-Alexander, which existed from 1952-87 (or 1954-87) in Burke County had two hyphens and three towns and communities incorporated into its name. And there was also Newnan-Coweta County Central High, though that was nearly universally referred to as Newnan Central.

Morgan-Leary was a name change from Calhoun High. Not to be confused with the city of Calhoun, whose high school held the same name, this Calhoun High had adopted the moniker in 1953, when Calhoun County was seemingly on the cusp of consolidation.

Edison and Morgan were going to consolidate in 1953, with the high school at Morgan. Everything looked ready to go, until the state of Georgia intervened.

No public hearing had been set up in Edison, the state said. Five years later, the state would rule similarly when Cleveland and Nacoochee high schools were kept from consolidating in White County.

High schools in Edison and Morgan went back to their previous status. Morgan kept the name Calhoun.

White County was delayed in 1958 and consolidated in 1959. The opposite happened in Calhoun County where instead of being a temporary delay, consolidation turned into a war.

In 1955, Arlington and Edison refused to consolidate and Calhoun County maintained three white high schools for three more years, with the second Morgan High existing for less than one year.

On February 12, 1958, the Calhoun County Board voted for Morgan High’s students to go to Edison for the 1958-59 school year. In return, Edison sent its middle school students to Morgan.

Morgan’s status as a junior high only lasted until 1968, according to the Georgia Educational Directory. The school closed completely that year, with the only school remaining in the town the all-grades segregated school, H.T. Singleton.

Arlington and Edison were gone by then as high schools.

Low attendance caught up with them and the Calhoun County BOE voted to consolidate both in September 1962, with the two coming together in 1963 when a new high school building opened in Edison.

Sources: The Calhoun County News – Aug. 21, 1953, Sept. 2, 1955, Aug. 23, 1957, Nov. 22, 1957, Feb. 28, 1958, Sept. 20, 1962; Georgia Educational Directory – 1953-54, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1967-68.