SYLACAUGA, Ala. – At the monthly meeting of the Sylacauga Board of Education on Tuesday, Aug. 23, board members signed a proclamation commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Sylacauga City School (SCS) system.
According to a press release from the SCS system, it all began in 1895 when the Alabama legislature established an act to build the Fourth District Agricultural School in downtown Sylacauga.
The building stood at the corner of Broadway Ave. and 8th St. where the J. Craig Smith Community Center is now located, and the opening ceremony for the school was held in 1897.
SCS Communications Director Kelley Wassermann described the building as having three stories with a girls’ dormitory on the third floor, president’s suite and classrooms for upper grades on the second floor, and the cafeteria and lower grades on the ground floor. Historical documents indicate that young men were expected to board elsewhere in town.
In 1908, lower grades were moved across the street into a bank building on the site of what is now Legion Stadium.
Fourteen years later in 1910, Mr. Charles S. Crowther was appointed the first superintendent.
Only two years later, the the State Secondary Agricultural School was built on the property that Sylacauga High School stands on today.
Soon enough, more schools and buildings followed. In chronological order, the next institutions of learning to appear would be Main Avenue Elementary, Sylavon Elementary, South Highland Elementary, East Highland High, Mountainview Elementary, Pinecrest Elementary, Indian Valley Elementary, and the most recently built, Nichols-Lawson Middle.
This summer a team was organized to plan celebration activities commemorating the 125th anniversary, with most activities focusing on Homecoming Week which runs Oct. 3-7.
The theme “Aggie Pride Through the Decades” will be reflected in decorated lightposts in downtown Sylacauga, a school system retiree reception hosted by the SCS Foundation, a Chamber Connection function with a tour of Sylacauga High, and a community “Goose Chase Scavenger Hunt.”
A community pep rally and bonfire will be held the night before the Homecoming game against Clay-Central, and a large tailgate party is planned for the entrance of Legion Field on Homecoming night.
A highlight of the anniversary celebration will include all schools submitting artifacts from 2022 into a time capsule at the October board meeting. This commemoration to the SCS system will be opened at the 150th anniversary during Homecoming week in 2047.
Sylacauga superintendent Dr. Michele Eller stated, “For the last 125 years Sylacauga City Schools has proudly stood as a light in partnership with the community. The focus is to encourage, equip, and empower all students to own their future by providing diverse pathways to an excellent education. This is the legacy of our school system and one that many graduates cherish. We celebrate this legacy with an eye on the future by training today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”