History of West Elementary School
|The 1997 History Committee is
indebted to Dr. Judy Houser and Ruth Stroup for having compiled comprehensive histories of
East Elementary School and the Jr.Sr. High School. We found, however, that written history
on two schools, namely West Elementary and the first John Chavis (Cherryville's all black
school) has been very limited. Our search for information from the minutes of
Cherryville's School Board meetings prior to 1968 when consolidation took place proved
fruitless. Those minutes seem to have been lost.
We do know that West Elementary(first known as Elementary #2 was built in 1925 on West Academy Street and was partially located on the site of the old Academy. The two story brick building had 11 classrooms, a multi-purpose teacher's lounge/first aid room/work room, a cafeteria, 2 rest rooms and the principal's office. The cost of the building was $35,000. Principals known to have served there were J.B. Houser, Louie Jarrett, Jack Kiser, Irene Sox, Wilma Selley (Brown), and Jim Fisher. Prue Houser, (Mrs. Howard) remembers that in 1951 Irene Sox, as was the case with most principals in those days, held the dual position of principal and teacher. Mrs. Houser taught for Miss Sox on Wednesday of each week to give her time to take care of her duties as principal. Mrs. Houser was paid the grand sum of five dollars for teaching the full day.
The school originally housed grades 1 - 6. In 1955, in order to relieve overcrowding, all sixth grade students were moved to East Elementary. Also in 1955 a new, modern auditorium to seat 320 people was completed adjacent to the main building.
A Self-Study Report prepared by a committee from West School in 1965-66 stated, "The Board of Education has purchased the corner lot adjoining the auditorium and plans are in progress for building a new cafeteria-library on that location. The main building will be remodeled to include room for the two sixth grades in the fall of 1967-68.
Those plans failed to materialize. Instead, a complete reorganization of the school system took place in 1966 when total integration was accomplished. Grades 1 and 2 were sent to East Elementary. John Chavis School became South Elementary, housing students in grades 3 and 4.
In 1973 West Elementary was closed and grades 5 and 6 were sent to South Elementary. Grade 3 students were sent to East. Today (1997) the main building has been demolished but the auditorium built in 1955 still stands and houses the Cherryville Little Theater. Cherry Manor, an apartment house for the elderly, has been built on the site of the school and its playground.
Many Cherryville citizens have memories of some of the teachers who taught there during the 48 years of its existence. They included Von Eva Allran, Ruth Anthony, Polly Beam, Lena-Sue Beam, Lillie Beam, Hattie Bess Boggs, Lib Eaker, Ruth Gold, Janie Hall, Velma Homesley, Marian Houser, Prue Houser, Ruth Porter, Janet Anderson, Ann Newton, Mrs Evelyn Starnes, Ruby Upchurch, Nancey Wilson, Miss Soonie Stroupe, cafeteria supervisor, was remembered throughout Cherryville for the delicious food served in the cafeteria.