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Cross Roads School

Written by Sara Richardson and published May 29, 1985

 

Our good friend, Mabel Sowell, another RCHS member who supports all our projects and performs equally well as a Chief or just as an Indian, recently brought us a copy of “The Long Horn”, published by the Senior Class of Cross Roads High School in 1934. The cover page has a picture of the ten students who were seniors that year: Horace Goodman, Muriel Walters, Lamar Winstead, Elsie Goodman, Eugene Donnell, Coleman Bradshaw, Wayne Patrick, Ruth Ferguson, D.H. Bobbins, and Roy Noble. The publication contains a historical sketch of the Cross Roads School, written by H.W. Bradshaw, part of which we quote.

“I shall try to the best of my memory of the past to give at least some of the major changes that have taken place in Cross Roads School in the last 34 years. When I moved to this community in the winter of 1900, the school was very small. The total enrolled was perhaps not more than 30 or 35 students. The house was a one-room building made of rough boards, with a stick and dirt chimney at the west end, which consumed the larger part of that end of the building. The teachers were those who had finished the eighth grade.

“About 1910 or 1912 the Legislature passed an act providing for the Consolidation of Rural Schools. At that time Concord and Ashlog had small schools. The people of these three schools began to agitate the Consolidation. A decision had to be made relative to where the school should be located and Cross Roads, being most centrally located, was selected as the building site.

“There were a few citizens who opposed the Consolidation and made a persistent fight, spending much time to secure counter petitions, but fortunately the school continued to have a majority of the people and the sympathy of the School Board. Those who opposed the school, finding themselves defeated, determined to make further effort to defeat the friends of the school. They employed counsel and the matter was taken before the Courts. The School also had to employ counsel. When the matter was thrashed out in the lower Court and won, it was taken to the Supreme Court of the State. Again the School was successful. This fight did not cost the School anything, because under the law the losing contesters paid the attorneys.

“We still had more trouble ahead of us; we had no building and could not raise money among ourselves to construct a building. We decided to make an effort to float bonds to build the structure, but in this effort we failed. Those opposing defeated the bond issue.

“After discussing among ourselves and calling several mass meetings of our friends, we decided to build. There were in the District three small sawmills, whose owners were friendly toward the School, and they proposed to furnish the use of their mills and what skilled labor was necessary, if we would furnish the rest of the labor, the timber, and saw the lumber. We accepted, and even some of the people who had been so opposed to the School came across and furnished timber and other material for the building. We had two or three fairly good carpenters who took the lead. We secured a planer and attached it to one of the mills and made the finished material in that way. Finally with everyone cooperating, the house was completed and our enemies became our friends.

“Everyone was proud of the building. Some of the most prominent citizens of other communities came to see the new building and praised our efforts and expressed the wish that their communities would do as well as we had done.

“Cross Roads was the first school in Rankin County to consolidate.

“In 1933 we found our school was not efficient enough to give our boys and girls the necessary training. They could not prepare for college in the school that we had afforded them.

“Again we reached out for more territory and more pupils, making an effort to secure a four-year school. Shiloh and Lodebar schools were consolidated with the Cross Roads School. This gave us additional territory as well as more boys and girls, and we called upon our State Educational Board asking for an affiliated high school.

“The building of this school house was even a greater task than the other one. We had to issue bonds in the sum of $7,500. By persistent effort the bond issue was carried by a majority. Argument was then advanced that we could not sell the bonds. Things looked dark, but we had no idea of giving up the fight. After a number of efforts we sold the bonds and contracted with Currie and Corley to construct the building.

“In 34 years Cross Roads School has grown from a rough board house of 20 by 30 feet in dimensions to this beautiful building; from an eighth grade school with one eighth grade teacher to a twelfth grade school with eight teachers most of whom are college graduates.”

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