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Berea High School
Old Values, New Beginnings
Berea High 1942
 Berea High School circa 1942

- A Brief History of Berea High School -
by Lloyd K. Voyles, Berea High School Principal 1968-1974

      The first school in the Berea area was located on the Blackberry Valley Road and was known as the Hodges School.  Five years lapsed between the Constitution of 1868 and the time land was acquired for the building of a free school house for children of the Berea community.  The building was of log structure containing one classroom.  The faculty consisted of one teacher at this time.  In 1884 the school was moved to a new site. (Artist's rendition)

    The land where the new school stood was on the current Gibson Drive and was known as the Saluda School.  The school was later moved to the intersection of Circle Drive and Hunt's Bridge Road and was still known as the Saluda School; however, many older people of the community called this school the "Davis" school.  This is believed so because James Davis lived in the area and was Superintendent of Greenville County Schools; also, the land on which the school was built was part of the Davis Estate.

    This was a one-room one-teacher school with one large stove for heat and long slab benches for seats.  The school encompassed up to the seventh or eighth grade and the school day was from eight a.m. to four p.m.  The Saluda or Davis school combined with the Forestville school and was known as Armstrong, located in the Armstrong Community on Keeler's Bridge Road.  Armstrong was to send students to Berea High as part of the Freshman Class in future years.  Armstrong, although moved from its location on Keeler's Bridge Road, still sends students to the Berea Middle & Senior High schools today. 

The First School Named Berea

According to the Deed Books in the Greenville County Court House and to the memory of elder residents of Berea, the land for the first school to be named Berea was secured in 1885. The first Berea School consisted of two rooms which was located on property left of the current College Park Church of God on White Horse Road.  The name of Berea came from a Biblical reference:   In Acts 17:10,11 the people of Berea are described as having treated the Apostle Paul more kindly than did the people of Thessalonica.

    Evidently, it was from this passage that the name of the church was chosen.  Since the church was formed before the first known school it is assumed that the school simply used the name of the church and community.  In 1900 Berea is listed in the annual report of the State Superintendent of Education as having one teacher, sixty-eight pupils and a school session lasting twenty-four weeks.

Berea Becomes a High School

    It was shortly after the High School Act of 1907 that Berea applied for accreditation as a high school.  In 1911 Berea met the requirements as a Class "E" rural high school as stipulated under the High School Act of 1907.  In the Annual Report to the Superintendent of Education, schools were classified as A, C, D, and E.  An "E" classification was a school which offered a three year curriculum and offering not fewer than ten standard units of credit, and had two teachers who would give all their time to high school instruction, had a recitation period of forty minutes and a school year not less than thirty-two weeks.  When Berea received accreditation as a high school, another room was added to the school making it a three classroom wooden structure.  A supper was held in celebration of the occasion.  At this time the school encompassed grades one through ten with grades eight (sixteen students), nine (four students), and ten (five students), being the secondary school.  Mr. I. R. Barton was the first principal of the high school.  English, Latin, United States History, math, and science comprised the curriculum.

Click to Enlarge    In 1916 Berea High moved from its location
on White Horse Road to a new site at the inter- section of Farr's Bridge Road and Franklin Road.  This was a one-building, two-story school and an auditorium on the second floor which would seat two hundred students.  Water was supplied by a well which remained in operation until 1957 when the district received city water.  The school was heated by a stove in each room, and students had to bring their own lunch.  This school was to remain until 1940 when under the Works Progress Administration it was torn down and a new building erected.

    In 1924 Berea started its first basketball team and team uniforms were brown khaki shorts and a white tee shirt with a green stripe around it.  Since that time Berea has carried the colors of green and white.  Berea offered its first high school diploma to its 1927 graduating students.  Up to this time the students were awarded a certificate.    In 1930 a new auditorium was added to the school and the same year a gymnasium was constructed behind the auditorium.

    The Berea High School Alma Mater was written in 1933 by Mrs. Eleanor F. Farr, who was asked by one of her teachers to write a song and "will" it to the school as the Alma Mater.  The words were written and fitted to the tune of an old hymn. The school used this as the Alma Mater until 1953 when Miss Hannah Lou Dargan, music director arranged the work for chorus.  Berea State High School was classified as a "C" school during this time in the county league and had six teachers and one hundred twenty-five students.  A shop and agricultural building was added to the school plant, and agriculture and machine shop were taught together.

   The fourth Berea High School was built and ready for use September, 1962 at a cost of $1,300,000.  Located between Berea Drive and Burdine Street, thirty-three acres of land was purchased at approximately $1,000 per acre.  The school was built for 750 students in grades seven to twelve.  In 1962 the high school and elementary school separated.  The school then became known as Berea Junior and Senior High School and fielded its first football team that year.  The school name changed officially to Berea High School when the new Berea Middle School opened January 1973.

    The School District of Greenville County Board of Trustees proposed March 2003 that a fifth Berea High School be built at the same location for 1400 students.  New construction on an expanded 44.4 acre campus at a total project cost of $35.4 million began May 2004 and was completed August, 2006.  On August 17, 2006 students attended for the first time the new school facilities. 

List of former Principals or Superintendents:

1911-13           R. I. Barton                              1936-38           A. H. Sander
1914                Miss Minnie Eubanks               1939-46           A. W. Hawkins
1915                W. C. Hammond                      1947-49           Harry Chapman
1916                R. I. Barton                              1949-62           John Orr
1917-18           H. M. Hodges                           1962-67           Alfred H. Kirchner
1919                E. C. Shockley                          1968-73           Lloyd Voyles
1920                Thomas G. Goldsmith              1974                Norman Mullins, Ph.D.
1921-23           John B. Compton                     1975-84           Tom Moore
1924                T. A. McLeod                           1985-91           Jim Whitson
1925-27           E. C. Shockley                          1992-96           Harold Batson
1928-32           J. H. Barnett                             1997-02           R. Keith East, Ph.D.
1933                J. M. (Mack) Dillard                 2003-              William F. Roach
1934-45           William Boyd

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