For nearly all of us out there in America, a high school diploma requires graduation from 12th grade.
Twelve grades seems like an arbitrary number.
Into the 1940s, all it took were 11 grades of hassle to earn the tassel. Then Georgia decided to transition.
The 1950s were a time of upheaval in Georgia.
At the beginning of the decade, community schools were widespread, though there was little money and little to offer students beyond the school being local. Consolidations came to improve standards and with them, plenty of protests about the schools leaving the communities.
By the middle of the decade, many of these debates had subsided, with only a few major ones – Tennille’s objection of losing their high school to Sandersville and Oglethorpe versus Montezuma, for example – still on the table.
But there were other crises.
In 1954, Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, was decided. Effectively considered the end of separate but equal racial policies, the battle was just beginning.
Route of the Windsors, through southern Georgia, outlined in black over a 1950 Georgia highway map. They exited a train at Nahunta and drove west to Pearson on US 82 before going south to Lakeland, then west to Thomasville on GA 122. The motorcade took all paved routes, a rarity in that section of the state.
King Edward VIII’s abdication of the British throne for Wallis Simpson caused considerable turmoil in December 1936.
It had played out over several months in a will he or won’t he scenario that finally ended when he made a late night journey by sea to France after he and his brothers signed the abdication document.
His successor, King George VI, was on the throne, but soon had the dual turmoil of World War II and the problem of What To Do with the Duke of Windsor. There were still headaches, but fewer of them, when the Duke was posted to the Bahamas.
Time did not dim the appeal, though, of the idea of a King who gave up his throne for love.
The Lanier County News from Sept. 8, 1955, gave the following as school enrollments after school began Sept. 5:
Lakeland Grammar and Lanier County High – 724
Stockton – 55
Crisp – 78
Lakeland – 367
Stockton – 34