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Straughn High School History

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Straughn High School History


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THE EARLY YEARS - 1886-1920

The community known as Haygood, now known as Straughn, had a post office but no school in 1886. A few children walked to school either in Antioch, Coldwater or Heath which are adjacent communities having schools at that time. Several families with school age children recognized the need for a school in their community and decided to take group action to provide one. The founding fathers, eight men, met at Old Shiloh Church (all were deacons of the Primitive Baptist Church) to organize the first school. This was probably a six-weeks or eight-weeks summer session and was held in the Old Shiloh Church building at first. A log schoolhouse soon was built by John H. Caton, D. I. Straughn, E. A. Straughn, W. L. Straughn, Jackson Dozier, Dennis Boyette, E. N. Harrelson, and Andrew Ganus. School was held in this building for several years, but all schools taught-here were summer sessions as no way to heat the building adequately was provided. The first school session was taught by R. Henry Jones, a very young man who had lost one leg. He was later known as Judge Jones and played an important part in the history of Covington County. Some of the students of this first school were: Joe Straughn, Roy Straughn, Amy Straughn Nall, Mary Dozier, Dock Straughn, Ben Straughn, Martha Straughn Barton, Addie Straughn, Bud Harrelson, Ive Harrelson, Adeline Caton Gantt, Lizzie Caton Stephens, and Burnett Gantt, all now deceased. Many direct descendants of these founders of Straughn School are in the School today in different capacities such as pupils, teachers, lunchroom workers and others.

In the first several school sessions equipment and supplies were very limited, but normal for rural schools for the times. Paper was very scarce, so slates were used instead. When a lesson was completed and corrected, it could be rubbed off with a slate cloth, or a shirt sleeve. Desks were planks nailed to the wall. Pupils sat on benches made of split logs with long wooden pegs for legs. Drinking water was brought fromwells or springs that served the church or nearby homes. A wooden waterbucket was used to fetch water and a long-necked gourd was used as a dipper for drinking. Individual drinking cups came into use many years later. No toilets were built. Children were segregated by sexes and advised to go to the heavily wooded areas nearby for privacy. No handwashing facilities were available.

For a short period of time the school was called Haygood, but soon it was renamed Straughn honoring three of the founders and a large group of the pupils then attending.

School sessions were held in the first building for several years but it was necessary to erect a new building in 1892 on a new location. The first was built on Railroad Land which the Federal Government reclaimed and made available for sale or for homesteading. The new building was built on land donated by D. Hiram White from his estate. This was a one room box house about 3Ox4O feet, with no ceiling. Early teachers were: Isaac Wooten, 1888; Ollie Bragg, 1889 and 1890; and D. D. Williams, 1891. Eight summer schools were taught at this new location before winter schools were begun. In 1898 a brick chimney with four fireplaces was built in the center of the schoolhouse by Billy Stuckey.

Straughn was a homogeneous community with respect to ethnic origin. The area had been settled by families from Georgia and the Carolinas whose ancestors had come principally from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. After the last of the Indian tribes had been moved to Oklahoma, the lands of southern Alabama were surveyed by the U. S. Department of Interior and made available for homesteading. A few adventurous families had already settled in the area. Old courthouse records show that William Carter applied for a homestead patent in Township 5 North, Range 16 East in 1823. Travis Straughn was next in 1828. Many others came in the 1850s. This group included John D. Caton, Nathan M. Baker, Nicholas Purifoy, John W. Tompkins, Isaac Smith, John M. Peacock, Marcus L. Dauphin, Reading Stokes, Enos Harrelson, John D. and William Bradley, John Gainus, Stephen and James Tompkins, Jacob Weese, Eli Cooper, Aaron J. Williams, and John Gurganus. The largest group of homesteaders came to the community during the latter years of the 19th century. Among these the following were outstanding: Thomas Jeffreys, Thomas J. Green, David Hiram White, Benjamin J. Radford, John W. Jones, Bush Harrelson, Shade Carter, George Robbins, Pollard Gantt, Kindred Bracewell, Daniel T. Chisum, Lewis B. Gantt, Jonathan Johns, James W. Tipton, Susan Harrelson, Thomas P. Cottle, Elias Harrelson, Burrell Jones, William C. Johns, and Stonewall Gantt. Other school patrons of the 1890-1914 period were as follows: Joe Hicks, John Hicks, Jim Barton, Jim Nall, Hardy Tillman, John Floyd, Walter Tillman, Jody Herring, Charlie Langston, Mrs. Sally Amanda Bennett, Jim Barton, Enoch Williams, Will Powell, and C. Oscar Livingston. Some of the principals serving Straughn during this period were: W. M. McLelland, Jim McLaughlin, Joe Gainey, Ben Mills, Sanford Barrow, B. F. Weaver, Miss Addie Booth, B. P. Floyd, T. K. Ferrell, T. E. Ingram, and Luleah Copeland.

In December 1913 the schoolhouse burned and the school term was completed in the Mt. Zion Church building. In 1914 a three-room structure was built near Mt. Zion Church on land provided by D. Hiram White, who at that time was serving as a member and secretary of the Covington County Board of Education. School enrollment had increased considerably since the beginning of the century, and school terms had been increased from the original 6 to 8 weeks in 1886 to 5 or 6 months. Principals were as follows: A. C. Freeman, E. A. Ward, Miss Colon Harper, A. H. Woodham, Miss Sarah Jane Cole, A. R. Woodham, and B. F. Weaver. Some of the teachers of this period were: Miss Grace Barrow, Miss Lillian Cottle, Miss Ruby Richards, Miss Bessie Lee Stinson, Miss Faye Langston, Miss Minnie Cottle, and Miss Gussie Lundy.

    The school building often served as a voting place for elections, and as a meeting place for community groups. The new building had a partition between two of the classrooms which was raised at times to convert these rooms into an auditorium with a stage at one end. This was done to allow all of the students to participate in assembly exercises, which were held every day as the school opened in the morning. Such exercises always included a short passage read from the Bible, a prayer, group singing of two or three patriotic or religious songs, and announcements. Occasionally, there was a special presentation by a visitor to the school or by groups of students to observe a national holiday. Students in the older classes, often joined by adult volunteers from the community, produced and presented plays or held box suppers or similar social affairs for raising funds for the school. The community Christmas Tree was held at the school, also. Graduation exercises were held at the end of the school term to award certificates to those completing the highest grade then being taught. Although kerosene-burning lamps were used for lighting the building, most of the fund-raising events were held at night and were very well attended.

The second decade of the 20th century brought many improvements to the Covington County school system. Through the services of the County's first Agricultural and Home Economics Extension workers, "Corn Clubs" were organized for boys and "Tomato Clubsit were organized for girls in the schools. The first "Home Agent" was Mrs. Mary P. Shook, who began her work by organizing the "Tomato Clubs". These clubs soon grew to be a full-fledged 4-H program for girls which we have continue today. The County Board of Education voted funds to pay one-third of Mrs. Shook's salary for 10 months to bring this type of education to the schools. Volunteer Red Cross instructors gave first-aid instruction to students at some of the County schools during World War I and Straughn participated in this program.

Schools received a little financial aid from the State and some county funds. A 3-mill tax was passed in 1918, and that, combined with the polltax, gave enough funds to lengthen the school term. Incidental fees were charged at some schools to buy supplies and provide such "luxuries" as sanitary drinking fountains. However, an earlier effort to improve the water supply at Straughn School had resulted in the installation of a hand pump for a new source of water which would not be so easily polluted. This replaced the use of an open shallow well with bucket and dipper. Two other educational improvements were the enactment of the compulsory attendance law in 1918, and the establishment by the County Board of Education of regular in-service training sessions for teachers which required their attendance one Saturday in each month of the school term.

About 1910 teacher's pay began to increase slowly and school terms lengthened to 4 or 5 months. More frequent reports were required of teachers, which included the monthly use of report cards to parents and teachers the filing of registers showing attendance as well as grades for each student with the office of the County Superintendent of Education. The Superintendent was authorized to withhold a teacher's last month's pay for the term until all reports had been submitted. Very few teachers held college degrees, but all were required to establish their level of knowledge and competency by taking examinations and/or courses at teachers' colleges to earn a first, second, or third grade certificate. These "grades" indicated the level of knowledge, the "first" being the highest, rather than the grade to be taught by the teacher. However, principals and teachers of 8th and 9th grades usually were required to hold "first grade" certificates. Also, in most instances teachers were paid according to the certificates held. Records show that in,1906 those having 3rd grade certificates were paid $30 to $35 per month; holders of 2nd grade certificates were paid $40 to $45 per month; all holders of first grade certificates were paid $50 per month with principals receiving extra pay for the extra responsibility. In 1908 the minimum school term was set at 5 months and salaries were slightly higher than before. In the second decade teacher pay continued to rise, very slowly, and school terms became gradually longer so that in 1921-22 Straughn teachers received $65 to $70 per month and the principal $98. The school term was 7 months. The County school system grew quite rapidly during the first quarter of the century. Board of Education meetings during that period were devoted chiefly to change the boundaries of the 80 or so school districts, contracting with teachers, and appointing trustees for the schools. The County Board of Education grew from 3 to 4 members with the County Superintendent being appointed to 2-year terms by vote of the Board. Mr. David Hiram White became a member of this Board and its secretary in 1908, He was Straughn community's first representative on the Board.

The first County Superintendent of Schools of record was Joel T. Hardage who began his first term in 1882 and served consecutive terms through 1904. W. J. Merrill was appointed in 1905 and served through 1908. He was succeeded by W. 0. Bozeman who served through 1912. Hiram J. Brogden became Superintendent in 1913 and was succeeded by Charles Baker about 1916. Mr. Baker served until the appointment of J. A. Keller of Cullman, Alabama, in July of 1921. H. J. Brogden was the first to be appointed after the position was made full-time with an annual salary of $1500.


During the early 1920s there was much talk in Straughn and adjacent communities of the need for a high school so that all who were interested could obtain, at least, a high school education. Forward-looking parents realized that, as the area grew in population, education would become increasingly important to the success of their children. They saw, also, that large families would find it difficult, if not impossible, to send several children to boarding school for their last two or three years of high school. There was enough interest for the "talking" stage to progress rapidly to the "action" stage when the opportunity came. It was not long in coming. The Andalusia Rotary Club, in looking around for a worthy project in 1922, considered how the club might stimulate interest in providing better educational opportunities for the rural youth of the county. Members learned that a rural consolidated high school, providing vocational education both in agriculture and home economics, had been recently established at Ramer in Montgomery County. Since Ramer was only about 80 miles distant, it seemed that first-hand information on how to get started on such a school would be easily available. The question then became, "Which community in the county would have sufficient interest and capable leaders who would follow through once action was begun?" J. A. Keller, then County Superintendent of Education, and Luther Brown, Sr., City Superintendent of Schools in Andalusia, both were Rotary members and knew of Straughn school patrons' high interest in education, so Straughn was the community chosen for the point of beginning. When Rotary members contacted Straughn patrons, enthusiasm became very high. Soon a group of Rotary members, including Mr. Keller, Mr. Brown, Ed Dannelly, and others used their automobiles and time to transport more than a dozen community leaders from Straughn, Coldwater, Antioch, Heath, and Rose Hill to Ramer. There they toured the facilities and talked with Ramer leaders and faculty about how they began, the problems met, and some of their solutions. When the leaders returned, they called a meeting of school patrons.


The new brick veneer building with 6 classrooms was completed in time for school to open in September 1924. Definite plans had been made to add an auditorium the next year and the home economics classrooms as soon as possible thereafter. The faculty for 1924-25 was as follows: James N. Castleberry, principal and teacher of history; Miss Rebekah Pruitt, teacher of English and Mathematics; Miss Dora E. Cole, teacher of Science and Social Studies; James C. Cannon, teacher of Vocational Agriculture; Miss Gussie Lundy, Miss Willie Sullivan, Miss Stella Gammage, and Miss Naomi Prestwood were the elementary teachers. The high school was accredited by the State Department of Education that first year. Total enrollment for the higher four grades was about 60 students. Elementary and Junior High classes were much larger. Straughn's first high school diplomas were awarded to a class of nine students in May 1925. These graduates were Madilyn (Mills) Adams, Lorenzo Clark, Claud Cope, Lela Cope, Malcolm Croft, Willie Foye Grant, Lois (Wells) Jones, Wease (Osteen) Rose, and Audrey Williams. The first graduation service was an evening event and in the absence of an auditorium, graduates and speakers were seated on a temporary platform built outdoors. The Honorable Lister Hill, then a U. S. Representative and later an outstanding U. S. Senator for many years, delivered the first graduation address. Two years later he delivered the graduation address for the class of 1927.


THE WAR YEARS - 1940-1960


The nation's preparation for war in 1941 and its liall out" involvement beginning in 1942 strongly influenced many aspects of Straughn School's operation in those and subsequent years during the 1940s and early 1950s. Young men left for military activity either with the National Guard or other military services. Younger women and many men in their middle years found well-paid employment outside their home communities with either defense contractors or the mushrooming military establishments in Florida and Alabama.

The County Board of Education had not recovered financially from more than a decade of "depression years." Board members and the County Superintendent found it exceedingly difficult to pay adequate salaries to retain younger teachers and could not employ janitors or caretakers for the schools. Minutes of July 1942 meeting of the Board showed that they were able to employ janitors only for the schools, such as Straughn, that had steam heating plants.

Straughn School buses were rerouted to make fewer stops because of the wartime gasoline shortage. Buses could no longer be used to transport students for special events. School transportation problems became even more acute in 1944-45 because of the increasing shortage of repair parts for buses and the fact that no new buses were available. The Board authorized the County Superintendent to establish temporary elementary schools in all communities where transportation could not be provided. (This did not affect Straughn's operation.) The Board gave official commendation to school bus drivers for their outstanding safety record maintained despite the numerous problems accompanying the use of old equipment. At that time there had been NO FATALITIES and few injuries in school transportation in Covington County.

In 1943 County Superintendent Hugh L. Taylor left his position for military service and was replaced by S. R. White. Mr. White, also, was recalled a few months later to military duty and a replacement was appointed.

"Another burning---Yes, on December 2, 1959, this building burned, the fourth in Straughn history. Mr. H. D. Wilson was principal at that time and Thomas W. Carroll the county superintendent. The students had to rough it. They got a taste of what Grandpa or Pa talked about 'way back when' they were in log cabins and lacked equipment.

"The old 'Straughn Spirit' showed up the next day as there were only ten absentees out of an enrollment of 485. Not one single day did Straughn School close. Where were they placed?

"The elementary teachers, cafeteria workers, and pupils transferred to Rose Hill School. They had 6 vacant classrooms and enough desks for all. Mr. Ewell Adams was principal. He, the teachers, and the pupils of Rose Hill made the Straughn School crowd feel so welcome and no problems occurred.

The high school classes went to school in churches at Mt. Zion, Bethany, and Antioch, and two remaining buildings at Straughn, which housed home economics and vocational agriculture facilities.

Mr. Wilson's office was across the road in a vacant store owned by Mrs. Effie Tillman. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Carroll felt that the pupils in high school were so scattered it would be better to have them together; therefore, old army tents were erected for them on the school grounds.

"The school finished the remaining 1959-60 school year and started the year 1960-61 under these conditions. Teachers at the time of the fire were Hugh D. Wilson, principal; Margaret Atchison Shine; Gertrude Powell McCusker; Mrs. Thomas Carroll; Lois Powell; Coach Doyle Kinsaul; Aldine W. Gantt, W. C. Thomasson; Edra Worley Gantt; Arlene Harmon Gantt; Rubie Chandler Gantt; Gwendolyn Wilson; Elizabeth Merrill Killum; Madilyn Mills Adams; Ila Stokes Booth; Marvin Brand; and Myrtice Hicks McDaniel.

The new building was constructed on the same site as the older one-in fact, the same boiler was used--and was classed as a one story elementary plant and secondary plant. At first it had 14 classrooms. Six more were added later, making a total of 20 classrooms.

Included in the building were a multi-purpose auditorium/gymnasium, lunchroom with kitchen and modern equipment, two science rooms, library, dressing rooms, and rest rooms. The exterior walls were brick and interior walls were of concrete brick. Quarry tiles were used for the floor and in rest rooms and halls, with asphalt tile in other areas of the building. Flourescent lights and acoustical ceilings were used in the auditorium. This was the first school in the county with air conditioning in all rooms."

Mrs. Rubie C. Gantt, also an eye-witness, adds these comments:

Some of the best teaching was done in the tents because there were no distractions." She added, "Graduation excercises for the class of 1960 were held outside because there was no auditorium."

Some notations from minutes of meetings of the County Board of Education were of special interest to Straughn. These were the following:

Jan-5, 1960--The Board received $144,000.00 insurance payment on the Straughn building that burned and $17,000.00 on its contents. Board authorized the transfer of the elementary children and teachers to Rose Hill. Fifteen tents were to be purchased from the Alabama Surplus Property Warehouse to use for the high school students at the Straughn site. Heat, light, and framing were still needed. Bricks from the burned,building were offered for sale at $12 per M with buyer doing the cleaning."

Feb. 19, 1960--The Board approved Straughn School as priority No. 1 in the building program. The estimated cost of the new building was $293,285.00. The building was to provide 16 classrooms, plus rooms for band, library, kitchen, cafeteria, offices, gymnasium, showers and locker room, and storage rooms, with a total of 39,540 square feet of floor space. The Board approved, also, proposed additions to the agriculture and home economics building as money becomes available."

June 22, 1960--The contract to build Straughn was awarded to the Andalusia Development Company for $281,000.00."

Sept. 30, 1960--Rawls High School was reduced to a junior high school with senior high students transferring either to Straughn or Red Level, The Board proposed to exchange 4 acres of land with Mrs. Flossie.

THE MODERN YEARS - 1961 to 1986

    Straughn had graduated 951 seniors during the first 36 years since the high school received state accreditation in 1925. The total school enrollment for all grades had grown from about 250 to 400 in this period. There had been a definite decline in high school enrollment during World War II. Early marriages and a movement of younger people to cities for better employment opportunities had reduced the number of senior high school students quite sharply. However, by 1960 many of the babies of the "baby boom" of the mid-forties had reached senior high school and larger classes were seen. Several of the smaller schools in adjacent communities were being consolidated as the buildings became outdated and transportation became easier. The size of the graduation classes, as given below by years, reflects the upward trend.


Principals serving Straughn during this period were the following:

Hugh D. Wilson - 1957 to 1973

John Stuart - 1973 to 1984

J. Dale Odom - 1984 

Assistant Principal Bruce J. Bass 1973

Teachers serving Straughn one or more years during this period are listed below:

Madilyn Adams, Mable J. Anderson, Marvin C. Brand, Ila S. Booth

 Mary F. Bass, Steve Barlow, Minnie Barlow, Dicey Bedgood

 Wanda Barnes, Ramona Barrow, Charles Brewer, Jessie Braswell

 Miriam W. Broom, Z. N. Brown Bessie D. Bradley, Mary Lee Bostick

 Sam M. Carr, Mildred M. Caton, Daniel W. Blackmon, Myra Q,. Benton

 Juanita W. Croft, Virada H. Brand, Thomas A. Culpepper

Webster Bozeman, Mike Buckelew, Cathy S, Brannon, Frances P. Davis

Minnie L. Driver, Marion E. Davis,James H. Douglas, Betty S. Dewrell

Jenelle G, Ennis, CaKrie Fisher,Regina Fisher, Leavy L. Foley

Nancy Foley, Grant Russell, Farmer, Marcella Freeney, Arlene H. Gantt

Edra W. Gantt, Aldine W. Gantt, Rubie C. Gantt, Annie Lee Gantt

John Allen Gantt, Rosemary Gantt,Norma Jean Gavras, Jimmie G. Gavras, Jeanette Grant, Lynda B. Gooden,

Bernice Green, Robert Hall, Pamela Harold, Lucy Hartwell

Mattie S. Henderson, Wanda Hobbs, Stella T. Hale, Sandra M. Johnson

Earl V. Johnson, Jr. Teresa Ann Jones, Rachel Jones, Doyle Kinsaul

Jackie Kinsaul, Nell Kimbro, Sharon Kimbro,          JoAnn Kirk

Andrew R. Kelley, Duane Lininger, Eleanor C. Lee, Judy McCord

Myrtice McDaniel, Peggy T. McLelland, Mrs. Dale Morrow, Larry Moulton

Joyce Maddox, Julie P. Murray, Warren B. Martin, Rhonda D. Myrick

Janet Newman, Katherine T. Odom, Tony L. Pike,,,, Anita Pittman

Ronnie Pouncey, Gertrude Powell, Lois Powell,      Lois Patrick

Becky Padgett, R. C. Poole, Carlos Powell,          Flora M. Roland

Harriet Rue, Clem Richardson, Judith Scott,        Sara C. Smith

Mary Stargile Smith, Johnny Mac Smith, Ovid E. Sanders

Louise Searcy, Margaret Shine, Ruby Short, Jane Short

Towanda D. Stinson, Mabel B. Tillman, Janet Tunnell, Diane Tucker

Steven Tucker, John P. Thomasson, Paul Wallace Charlotte Wallace

Harless I. Walding, Becky Wesley, Frances Wheeler, Carol Whitman

Gwendolyn Wilson, Judy H. Wilson, Mary E. Wilson, Brent Zessin

Trustees who served during the period of 1961-1986 are as follows:

Albert Baisden Clyde L. Barton Albert Sharpe

Pap Gantt Marvin Hammett Bobby Smith

Ted Dye Jack Bozeman Ted Cottle

Erwin Nall John Clark Jake Jones

Johnny Dewrell Otis Ray Gunter

Straughn's progress during the past two decades has been especially gratifying to patrons, faculty and students. During Mr. Hugh Wilson's administration a new building was constructed, the faculty increased from 17 to 30, and enrollment grew from about 400 to more than 750. School buses were added to bring the total to 13.

An elementary library was added and the high school library was improved. Special education classes and remedial reading for grades 1-9 were established.

Parents, students, and faculty combined their efforts to raise sufficient funds to air condition all classrooms of the school in 1967. Straughn became the first school in the county system to be fully air conditioned and one of a few in the state to have all classrooms air conditioned. Best of all, integration of the races in the school was accomplished smoothly and with a minimum of difficulty.

In 1973 Mr. Wilson retired and was replaced by Mr. John Stuart who continued with updating to prepare students for better performance in a fast changing world. Some of the additional courses established were the following:

Advanced Mathematics and Consumer Mathematics Advanced English and Business English, Biology II, Career and Consumer Education, and Family              Living IV.

Special education classes were expanded to meet the needs of the educable mentally retarded, the trainable mentally retarded, and those with learning disabilities. Very recently, computer science has been added with 22 computers and a teacher trained in the subject.

In 1975 the Straughn faculty began a self-study for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Each faculty member served on at least two committees. Mr. Raymond Chisum, Dean of Instruction at MacArthur Technical College in Opp, served as consultant and Mrs. Flora M. Roland served as overall chairman. When the committees reports were approved by the faculty, the final reports were compiled. The visiting committee was selected and scheduled to evaluate the school program in Spring of 1976. Accreditation was received in 1976 and the first 10-year evaluation by the Association was made in Spring of 1986.

Many changes have taken place in non-academic activities to broaden student experiences. In 1975-76-77 a quarterback club was organized to help re-establish football as an inter-scholastic sport. The last team fielded by Straughn had been in 1934. The Quarterback Club, composed of parents, teachers, students, and local sports enthusiasts, worked dilligently to raise funds enough (more than $32,000) to construct a football stadium with adequate seating and lighting for night games. They purchased equipment, uniforms, and training gear enough for three teams of different ages, i.e. Peewees, Termites and high school Varsity. Cheerleader groups were recruited, sponsored and trained to enliven the interscholastic sports events for each age group.

In 1977-78 a band director was added to the faculty. Soon thereafter a marching band was organized and training began. Through the efforts of the "Band Boosters", a parent group, uniforms and instruments were purchased and funds raised to pay expenses of band trips. In a few short years the band has received gratifying recognition. The latest was an invitation to perform at Disney World where their performance was greeted with delighted acclaim.

Inter-scholastic basketball was re-established for girls, and the results were good. Baseball for boys was organized and met with stimulating interest and achievement. The tennis courts were re-located and improved and track facilities were constructed.

The yearbook "Stranola", discontinued in the 1950s, was revived and renamed the "Tigerama". Under the able sponsorship of Mrs. Flora M. Roland, English teacher, students have worked hard to produce a useful, accurate, and memorable picture of students' interests and accomplishments. T'.Ie 1975 Tigerama won honorable mention and the 1985 edition was given a Merit Award in State competition.

Junior and senior honor societies were formed to give appropriate recognition for academic achievement at both junior and senior high school levels. Recently, letters have been awarded to students for academic achievements as well as for sports.

Through all the years Straughn School has received enthusiastic support from parents. A PTA group was organized in the early part of the 1920s. It has been a most dependable and supportive aid to innovative and effective classroom teaching. Every year the PTA sponsors a "Fall Festival" to raise funds to meet school needs. Through cake sales, barbecues, contests, and a festival evening of "fun things to do", this worthy organization has raised a total of more than $100,000 in the past two decades. This has been spent, principally, for non-athletic school needs such as visual aids, supplies, and materials to improve classroom teach school kitchen and lunchroom; and books and other equipment for the program. trials for the special reading does for school projects there is a group In the matter of fund raising. These "unsung" heroes to whom Straughn School clubs are very grateful to the business firms of Andalusia, Opp, and the towns of the school are called upon frequently for donations or advertisements and they

always respond favorably contribute much to of the other active organizations that student development are the Student Council, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, 4-11 Clubs, Choral Club, and the "S" Club. 14r. J. Dale Odom, the present principal, was requested to give his goals for Straughn. Below is his statement:

"I feel honored to return to Straughn School as Principal. I also

the school and community to profeel a great sense of responsibility to vide-leadership in continuing the tradition and heritage that Straughn has been known for throughout the 11 years. I fit will be my goal during my years at Straughn to see that our students are provided the best education possible, and also to give them positive direction in life."

"I believe in the value and worth of the individual and sincerely

believe that all people have something worthwhile to contribute to our society it is my desire for "With the support of the faculty and communinity our students to be examples of self-discipline that will bring rewards in academic achievement, school pride, and more importantly, high self-esteem. A total of 2156 students have been graduated by Straughn in the years 1925 through 1986.

Enrollment has grown to be 750 to 800 students.

Many graduates have attended junior colleges, technological schools and universities for additional training, A high proportion receive scholarships.

Straughn School now has an impressive building with 42 classrooms, all air-conditioned. The school site has been increased by purchases to 48 acres. This will allow for expansion when needed.

There are 44 positions on Straughn's teaching faculty. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the State of Alabama's Department of Education.

Modern courses are taught effectively. Computer science, advanced mathematics, and advanced English are three of the most valuable of these. Also, important are the courses provided to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities or mental retardation.

Other provisions for student development are the broad athletic program, the school yearbook, and the variety of clubs and activities available.

The future of Straughn is bright! It is in good hands.


1990 was a great year. Mr. Thomasson had been back from Fleeta Jr High for 1 year now, and his plans for Straughn included: more computerization, more classrooms and another gym. All came true in the last 9 years. We have recently built a new gym, more classrooms, one of the most advanced computer labs in the county, as well as a new cafeteria. He has achieved more in one lifetime than most people would in 2. Mr. Thomasson is one of the greatest principals ever.

The FFA did a lot for the school. The students repaired broken desks as projects in Ag. The students learned how to weld, build speaker boxes, tree stands, gun cabinets, and clocks. Mr. Bass gave students the chance to get a hunting license, and other things like that.

1993 was a tragic year in some ways. It was the year the home economics building burned and Straughn lost one of its own. Betsy Grant died in a disastrous car wreck. On a lighter note, the girls' basketball team became the 2A Area 3 champs and the baseball team was almost undefeated at 11-2. The prom King and Queen were Chris Thomasson(son of our favorite principal Mr. Thomasson) and his date Misty Wallace.

There were fifty students in the graduating class of '93. Their motto was "It is not how we stand in life, but in what direction we are going." The Honor Graduates for '93 were Scott Holmes, Steven Walker, Tamberli Bryan, Dustin Butler, Jeanese Holmes, Mist Walace, Tanya Hart, and Rhonda Peterson. The Valedictorian was Steven Walker and the Salutatorian was Scott Holmes.

In '94 the Valedictorian was W.B. Stewart and the Salutatorian was Gretchen Gaston. The Senior class officers were Gina Grant-President, Jamie Newton-Vice President, Paul Spears-Secretary, Chrisan Hawkins, Angela Samuel-Historian.

In '98 Ms. Esther Barrow, Straughn Highs Library teacher, Retired after 10 years of service to Straughn High School. A new band hall was also built in '98. Straughn sold the old band hall to some people so they could use it as a church. The band hall is one of the best in the county.

The year, 1999-2000, brought two new buildings to our campus--one for Junior High school and one for Elementary. The student body found a new Art class offered as an elective.  The football stadium welcomed a new bleachers to the home side.  Mr. John Allen Gantt retired this year and many folks are happy for him but sad that he's leaving.  Mr. Greg Windham will fill his position.

In 2000,  SHS underwent many physical changes. The largest of which was the addition of the parking lot in front and the paving of the back campus.  The parking lot itself was a project totaling approximately $150,000 and was made possible through monies allocated by Mr. Seth Hammett, a alumnus, Senator Holley, and the Covington County Commission.  The halls of the school got a facelift with a new coat of paint.  Mrs. McGlaun's room is now Mrs. Parrish's room--Mrs. Parrish's room and Mrs. Tillman's old rooms are now the newly renovated and updated business department.

2001--current coming soon!