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The History of Dora High School
From the Dora Centennial Book
The First School 1903 A rapid growth of Horse Creek followed the opening of numerous mines in the area, and in the early 1900s citizens of the prospering town saw the need for a new school. In 1903 a two-story frame building (with another structure consisting of two rooms and an auditorium built nearby) was ready for occupancy. B.C. Palmer was principal, and Kenner Ferman and Lillian Slater were assistants. Samuel T. Sellers, R.H. Palmer, and Dr. C.B. Jackson helped initiate the building of the school and also served as trustees. Principals that followed Palmer were Professors Hayes and Williams.
The 1921 SCHOOL
By 1921 a red brick schoolhouse had been built to replace the 1903 main wooden structure. This building served as both the elementary school (six grades) and high school (five grades). The twelfth grade had been added by 1925, and the school was accredited by the State in the school year 1926-27. The Building Committee consisted of Chairman Frank
C. Marquis, C.I. Jones, Linn Palmer, R. Foster, and L. Clark. The contractor was W.E. Venice. Principals at this school were Professors Williams, Ben Kirk, T.N. Driskill, and George Kilgore.
The following students were the first to be graduated from this school in 1921:
Willie Gay Morgan
Elodia Morgan
Lela Grant
Luckie Thomas
Blanche Crelly
John Woods
Burkett Haughton
Brady Clark
Frank Ballenger
Carl Adair
James Baird
These names were found in the cornerstone that was opened after the school burned in 1969.
The 1935 School
Another school was built in 1935 for junior and senior high school students. The first principal of the Dora High School was George Kilgore followed by Amos I. Waldrop, Paul Hudson, and Glenn C. Gant.
The old building on School Street that had previously accommodated grades 1-12 then became Dora Elementary School. Principals at the elementary school were Professors Sanford, Mitchell, Brack Put man, Dora Boyd, Ezra Evans, and Leonard Sartain. This school stayed in service until the new school was built. The last graduating class from this school was the Class of 1969.
The first Dora High School for blacks went as far as Junior High School classes. All students wishing to pursue higher learning had to relocate in other places in Walker County that offered high school courses.
The building where classes were held was an old wooden structure with very limited facilities for teachers and students.
Very small salaries were given to teachers. Dedicated principals and teachers with positive attitudes and optimistic views toward the future endured many hardships. They worked hard to train the minds of many black boys and girls in order for them to find their places in society.
The student body was made up of students from Blackwater, Argo, Sumiton, Empire, Hull, Sipsey, Burnwell, Yerkwood, Flat Creek, and Dora.
Terrell S. Boyd, a white citizen of Dora, often visited the black schools. Seeing the need for the black children to have a better place to learn, he started working toward his goal. His dream was to get a new school for the black children.
His dream came true in 1963 when a new building was completed. The school was named in his honor. Terrel S. Boyd School is being used today for all races of children.
In 1963 a new all black T.S. Boyd School was built honoring Terrell S. Boyd, former Walker County Board of Education member. (Before this time the schoolhouse for blacks was a frame building located in Union Camp, just below the high school stadium.) C.F. Prewitt, principal at the old building, was principal at Boyd until 1975. The Dora schools were integrated in 1969. Grades 1-4 were housed at T.S. Boyd, 5-9 at the old high school building (with Leonard Sartain as principal), and grades 10-12 at the new Dora High School.
In the spring of 1981, the old Dora High School building which was being used as a Jr. high school building, was condemned, and the students were transferred to T.S. Boyd. (Fire destroyed the vacant building in 1982.) Under the leadership of principal James T. Gann, T. S. Boyd received Accreditation in 1977. Classes were meeting in trailers until 1985 when thirteen new rooms were added to the existing building. The facility presently houses grades K-8.
The Current High School
In the late 1960s the citizens of Dora saw the need to generate interest in buying property for a school site. A new high school was to be built, but consideration had been given to two sites on the north side of Highway 78. However, if local residents could provide a new location, Dora High School would remain within the town.
A drive for property funds was speerheaded by graduates of the school who feared that their alma mater would be lost if it were constructed outside Dora. A door-to-door campaign was successful. Within five days more than $7500 was raised to buy the 35-acre campus (on Glenn C. Gant Drive)—and thus deed it to the Walker County Board of Education. Sparks Construction Company of Jasper was the contractor, and the new school was built and dedicated in 1969.
The two-story split-level modern brick structure included modern
teaching aids and an auditorium-gymnasium combination.
Approximately 550 students had enrolled in grades 10-12 when the school opened its doors for the first time. Glenn C. Gant was principal, and Asa Bobo, Clell York, and J.B. McCrary were trustees.
The new football stadium was named Roberts Field—honoring the memory of Horace Roberts. Horace was an outstanding Dora area citizen and a member of the Walker County Board of Education.
Glenn C. Gant was followed by Bill Moore in 1973, who was followed by Jim Crump in 1975. In 1979, under Jim Crump's leadership, Dora High School received Accreditation. Trustees were Ralph Parker, Jerry Tuggle, and Rabon Watson.

Photos and Essays about Mr. Gant

The Alma Mater

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