The DeKalb County High School - Class of 1964 commemorated the proud distinction of being the first graduating class of the current DeKalb County High School, with a day of celebration on October 4, 2014. The festivities included a tour of the high school; a “meet and greet” at the home of Don and Rita Cripps (Don was the president of the senior class); and dinner, entertainment, memorials, etc. at the First Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center.
The class included 126 graduates and 41 class members that attended at sometime during the four years of high school. Of the 167 class members, 39 have passed away.
95 people attended the reunion with 57 class members, 4 teachers and 34 guests. Special appreciation for attending goes to the teachers, James Cantrell, Ina Ruth Bess, Tommy Webb and his wife Audrey, Ann Puckett and her husband Hearon.
This was the year of Consolidation and Integration -
1963-1964 was the year of consolidation and integration. On September 2, 1963, the schools at Liberty and Smithville were consolidated into a new DeKalb County High School. This began the first year of consolidation as well as the first year of integration.
In 1964, the new school was an example of modern design and conveniences, including air conditioning, television, modern laboratory facilities for science and language, new home economics equipment, an additional workshop, individual lockers, and an intercommunication system, which provided music before school and in the cafeteria and provided more effective communication throughout the building.
School History -
In 1923, a new high school was built in Smithville. It was originally named Pure Fountain High School, but within a few years, it was renamed DeKalb County High School; however, it was usually called Smithville High School. The building had ten classrooms and an auditorium that seated six hundred. It accommodated eight elementary grades as well as all high school classes. The high school faculty consisted of only three teachers and only fifty students, with a graduating class of two pupils. The building had two things rarely found in a school during that time period, indoor plumbing and an indoor gymnasium. Until that time, the boys played basketball outdoors. With the construction of the new gymnasium, girls were allowed to play basketball for the first time. In 1926, football was introduced in Smithville, as an interscholastic sport. In addition to the limited athletic program, there were other activities, consisting of plays and dramatic presentations, music recitals, field days, a junior-senior reception, picnics, and literary societies, which promoted school spirit and enthusiasm among the students.
The number of pupils continued to grow and in 1939, a new elementary school was built. Further growth in the student body occurred in 1948, when the first public school buses went into operations. In the same year, a new gymnasium seating two thousand people was constructed. In 1956 the boys’ basketball team went to the state tournament. Then in 1959 both the boys’ and girls’ teams went to the state tournament, with the girls achieving the runners-up position.
The school had grown to include sixteen teachers and approximately 420 students by the time the building burned on January 7, 1962.
Makeshift classrooms were used for high school classes until the new school opened in the fall of 1963.
When the old wooden school burned in Liberty in 1917, a new school was built the following year. Constructed of solid stone, the two-story building contained four large classrooms downstairs, with two smaller rooms and a three hundred-seat auditorium upstairs. Also the upstairs was used as a meeting place for the Masonic Lodge. With only approximately twenty high school pupils, this building served as both elementary and high school and was adequate for both at the time. The first graduating class in 1920 consisted of two pupils. The school had only one high school teacher. In 1918, boys’ basketball was played on an outdoor court. A few years later a girls’ basketball team was formed and also played outdoors. Around 1934, a gymnasium was constructed on the Liberty campus. Basketball was the main form of athletics, but literary societies were organized in the 1920’s, to provide other types of activities. By 1939, the number of pupils had grown to a level that required a new school to be built for the elementary grades. The campus was expanded further in 1958, when a new gymnasium was constructed with a seating capacity of approximately eight hundred.
In 1962, the last year a high school was operated at Liberty, there were eight teachers and approximately 150 students in the high school. The school buildings are still standing today.
Left to right -
Row 1 - seated on floor - Bobby Reynolds, Phyllis Braswell Frost, Doreta VanHooser Blazer, Jewel Jones Wiser, Kaye Billings Fedak, Patsy Thomason Drury, June Hale Oliver, Danny Gunter, Pameline Vanatta, Linda Redmon Judkins, Marie Lawrence Jackson, Jannie Thweatt Christenberry
Row 2 - seated - Sherry Kay Hale Hall, Peggy Turner Cantrell, Gary Young, Sandra Russell Harville, Trena Redmon Hayes, Darvin Snyder, Elizabeth Young Smith, Beverly Tittsworth Jones, Phillip Washer, Judy Thweatt Warren, Carlon Mabe, Helen Page Cantrell, Joyce Faye Murphy, Ray Donald Webb
Row 3 - standing - Wayne Shehane, Carolyn Ashburn Adcock, Jimmy Young, Billy Parsley, Hooper Judkins, Frieda Nixon Durham, Don Cripps, Mike Foster, Larry Taylor, Sherry Taylor Fox, Brenda Womack Whittinghill, Kay Turner Redmon, Clyde Paschal
Row 4 - standing - Kenneth Besherse, Jerrell Hall, Donnie Tramel, Larry Johnson, Jimmy Poss, Donnie Foutch, Kenneth Young, Boyd Trapp, Kenneth Magness, Tucker Hendrix, Larry Ponder, Drew Fedak, Jerry Oliver, Peggy Hayes
Not Pictured - Marvin Barnes, Eugene Haley, Sue Robinson Blair, Jane Sullins Clemons