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History of Cherryville East Primary School


Designed by
Mike Jones
Copyright 1996-2002
All Rights Reserved.

Site maintained by
Larry Wright

In 1987-88, a year which popularized vision statement's, East's staff adopted as a slogan for a school serving young children in Kindergarten through Grade 3: "Cherryville East - Creating a Love for learning." Although recently selected, this slogan captivates the spirit which has influenced the goals and environment of Cherryville East since the beginning. Visitors who come to East often remark about the school's happy, caring, motivational atmosphere which combines learning with concern for the wholistic development of the child. Cherryville East boasts of a brief, but eventful history.

In the early 1950's, the Cherryville Board of Education arranged for the purchase of 18 acres of land immediately to the South and bordering East Academy Street In Cherryville. Owners of the land, John Steve Stroup, Ben Stroup, and Sally Stroup agreed to a selling price of $30,000. Location of the proposed school was not without strong contention. One board member, Mr. Hillard Harrelson, resigned because of disagreement over the selected site. Nevertheless, the Board pursued the project and completed the building in 1956 at a cost of $225,000. The original structure contained twelve classrooms, a library, auditorium, cafeteria, principal's office, secretary's office, janitorial areas, teachers' lounge and workroom. Cherryville School board members at the time of East's opening were: D.R. Mauney, Jr, Chairmin, L. Roy Carpenter, Treasurer; L. L. McGinnis, Ben R. Rudisill, Floyd Dellinger, and Harry Allen, Jr.. Mr. Fenton L. Larson was Superintendent. Mr. James L. Beam, architect, prepared the plans and supervised the building. Original staff members were: E. W. Carson, Principal, Maude Carter, Crace S. Crocker, Ruth Sperling, Sara Beam, Clementine Carlson, Eunice Carroll, Mary Larson, Kate Whitworth, Nancy Wilson, Pansy T. Avery, and Ruth D. Sherrill.

The Board appointed Mr. Erskine Carson, former Cherryville High School Principal, to be East's first principal. Mr. Carson's task was to organize the staff, classes, curriculum, and non-instructional areas of the new school. Students previously assigned to Cherryville Elementary #1 School were re-assigned to Cherryville East. Before its demolition, Elementary #1 stood on the First Street campus on the West side of Starnes Auditorium. The Elementary #1 building housed junior high grades until the present Jr/Sr High School was built.

In it's early years, East School housed grades One through six. In the fall of 1966, the Cherryville City Schools re-organized in order to accomplish total integration. At that time, only students in grades one and two attended East School. Other elementary aged students were assigned to West Elementary (before being razed, located on West Academy beside the present Little Theater) and to South Elementary (formerly John Chavis School, an all Black school located on the east side of Highway 274 South, also called South Mountain Street). In the fall of 1968, the Cherryville City Schools merged into one Gaston County School System. Also, in the fall of 1968, Mr. Carson, who had served admirably as the school's first leader, died suddenly of a blood clot. Mrs. Wilma Selley (now Wilma Selley Brown), a respected veteran educator, became the school's second principal. Mrs. Selley guided East through numerous organizational, curricular, and structural changes until her retirement in 1977. In 1973, West School closed The third grades moved to East School, and a Kindergarten program was initiated.

Changes in student population and expanded programs dictated structural adaptations. In 1963, a wing consisting of four classrooms was completed. In 1975, an extensive building project occurred. This major addition included: three two teacher team rooms, a media center, conference room, 3 (presently utilized for guidance and speech), teachers' lounge and workroom, kitchen storage rooms, and extended cafeteria dining space. The auditorium was converted to a multi-purpose room; parking facilities were enlarged, and the bus loading zone was improved by the addition of a canopy. Total square footage of the present educational plant Is 43,513 sq. ft. Through the years, cooperative efforts between school and PTO have resulted in a nature trail with an outdoor classroom, a covered, furnished picnic area, and a canopy covering the front walk. Playground equipment and a fenced-in field afford excellent outdoor physical education opportunities for students and participants in city recreational programs.

When Mrs. Selley retired In July of 1977, Mr. Earl Hallman was appointed as Principal. Popular with staff, students, and parents, Mr. Hallman inspired continued educational progress through personal involvement. Once, he made news by appearing at school on Book Character Day as Dr. Suess' Cat in the hat. On rainy days, he met children at cars with an umbrella. In 1982 Mr. Hallman joined the central staff as Personnel Administrator; Mr. Gene Rohm succeeded him as East's Principal. Mr. Rohm, recognized for his efficiency arid organizational skills, led East through the intensive staff development years mandating Effective Teacher Training, Professional Development Plans, and a revised system of observation and evaluation. In 1986-87, his final year in the principalship, East School successfully completed the ten year re-accreditation by Southern Association.`

In the summer of 1987, East's new principal, Dr. Judith Ford Houser, set up a temporary office in a Kindergarten classroom while an abestos removal project proceeded until major ceiling replacement was completed throughout the facility; Dr. Houser, a Cherryville native and Cherryville High School graduate, had taught at East School in 1968-69 and had served as Cherryville Jr./Sr. High School Principal before transferring to Cherryville East. In August of 1987, an eager, dedicated staff moved books, materials, equipment, and furnishings from crowded storage areas in time to start the new year. During the last five years, East's staff has met the challenges of Senate Bill 2, School Improvement Plans, technological demands of SIMS and Circulation Plus, definitive North Carolina, Accreditation Standards, increased accountability, site-based decision making, extensive staff development, student enrichment programs, school-community-industry partnerships, enhancement program through the cultural arts and foreign language, summer school for students at risk, and careful attention to CAT scores and End-of-Course Testing. The East School Staff continues to be characterized by hard work and genuine concern for students.

Chosen over the past decade as East School's Teachers of the Year were: Mrs. Ann Newton (twice recognized), Mrs. Pat Coffey, Mrs. Dorothy Ellison, Mrs. Jewell Vinson and Mrs. Mary Sue Faires. Other current staff members selected for this honor at other schools were Mrs. Jacque McGinnis (Cherryville Jr.-Sr. High) and Dr. Judith Houser (Tryon School). Mrs. Ruth Gibson was chosen as the East School and the Gaston County Terry Sanford Award Nominee. In 1991 Assistant Teacher of the year for Cherryville East and Gaston County was Mrs. LouAnna Kiser, a third grade assistant and 1990-91
President of the Assistant Teachers of Gaston County. East School has little turn-over among its staff because of a strong camaraderie and singleness of purpose. Fifty six percent of present classroom teachers at East have taught consecutively at the school for fifteen or more years. Teachers with twenty or more years of uninterrupted work at East are: Ruth Gibson, Ann Newton, Betty Peeler, Barbara Wood, and Barbara Hanks. Secretary Sue Nolen has served East for twenty-one years; media specialist, Beverly Kirby, twenty-four years.

East School presently claims a student population of 460. Personnel who served the school in a full, support, or part-time position number fifty-eight. The staff includes: nineteen regular classroom teachers, one resource teacher, eighteen teacher assistants, a principal and secretary, half-time guidance counselor, media specialist, and half-time teachers of physical education, visual arts, Music, speech and Spanish, five cafeteria and three custodial employees. Other support professionals who serve the school on a part-time basis are: a teacher of gifted and talented, nurse, social worker, and psychologist. Parental involvement encompasses an active Parent Teacher Organization, Grade Parents, Advisory Board, and parent volunteers. In 1991, Doran Plants 1 and 2, who had adopted East in the Spring of 1991, began a Lunch Buddy Program, pairing management personnel with at-risk students.

Student enhancement opportunities include: two Odyssey of the Mind teams, Star Walkers' Challenge Math Program, a cooperative home reading program, gifted and talented classes, resource and speech classes for exceptional children, Good Citizen Intercom Programs with student participants, a Weekly Science Contest, Friendship group guidance sessions, classes in Spanish, Music, physical education, and visual arts. Each classroom has a computer and all students receive hands-on computer time each week. Classes at grade levels share televisions with video recorders for curriculum enrichment. Numerous visual, auditory, and tactile aids are available in each classroom to assist in meeting the needs of different learning styles. A school store allows students to experience decision making and money management. East School students' overall scores on CAT tests have consistently placed East in above average percentiles. Successful Self-Studies in 1966, 1976-77, and 1986-87 have placed Cherryville East among schools accredited by Southern Association.

Members of the current staff are: Judith F. Houser, Principal; Beverly Kirby, Media Specialist; Sue Nolen, Secretary. Teachers: Ramona. Alexander, Rita Beam, Cindy Burgess, Beverly Campbell, Patricia Coffey, Dorothy Ellison, Mary Sue Faires, Mary Ferguson, Ruth Gibson, Barbara Hanks, Sandy McNeely, Hazeline Moss, Elizabeth Newton, Betty Peeler, Carol Porter, Carolyn Rayfield, Patricia Sellers, Jewell Vinson, Dawn Whitworth and.Barbara Wood. Support Staff and itinerants: Helen Beam, Academically Gifted; Trudy Bates, Physical Ed.; Teresa Hopper, Music; Jacque McGinnis, Foreign Language; Beverly Putnam, Art; Anita Stroupe, Guidance; Nina Barco, Psychologist; Shannon Agee, Speech; Mary Lou Ware, Nurse; and Carolyn Maiers, Social Worker. Teacher Assistants are: Patricia Bowyer, Gail Canipe, Patsy Farris, Brenda Fitch, Darlene Horsley, Carolyn Jackson, Gail Jenkins, LouAnna Kiser, Selina Lee, Eloise Mauney, Barbara McGinnis, Linda Ross, Jane Smith, Sandra Stewart, Margaret Stroupe, Kay Thomas, Andres White, and Melinda Yount. Cafeteria Staff are: Donna Rubenstein, Manager; Laverne Eaker, Wanda Whitaker, Geraldine Dellinger, Betty Broome, and Marcus Jones. Custodial Staff: Billy Calhoun, Ruth Ellis and Betty Broome.

Cherryville East Primary, along with Cherryville South Elementary and Cherryville Jr.-Sr. High School historically have enjoyed strong support of families, industry, and community. Furthermore, the three schools cherish a close relationship of inter-dependency with each other. East's mascot, the Little Ironman, reflects the primary schools loyalty to its Senior High whose mascot is the Ironman.

Cherryville East School boasts of a proud heritage and acknowledges that two of its respected traditions are rising to the occasion of each new challenge in education and faithfully working to meet individual student needs. The East School Community celebrates its on-going role on Gaston County's educational team with its vital mission of shaping the future.