The first school in the area, located 4 1/2 miles west of Ceres, was financed by Mr. Harmon H. Tilson. He had nine or ten children and he realized the need for a building to be used solely for instructional purposes. Neighbors' children along with his own, attended the newly built school. The first teacher was I.T. Gollehon from Seven Mile Ford, Smyth County. In 1881, five building sites were purchased by the School Trustees. The first site was purchased from Henry T. Lampert; and became the site of the Poor Valley School. It was a typical log building that stood beside the road. The second site became the Bird Grove School, which was located on the Holston River road. This site was bought from Henry Groseclose. The third site became the location of the Gap School. It stood in the gap of a ridge about one-half mile south of Ceres. The land for this school was purchased from Peter Spangler. The fourth site was bought from James Crabtree and became the Liberty School, which stood next to the Liberty Church. The fifth site was purchased from James A. Repass; however, no school can be identified with this location. Ceres High School was built a few years later in 1904, and was first known as Ceres Academy. The first building was located at the forks of the road at Ceres and was purchased from Ed Peery. There were four classrooms and an auditorium which doubled as another classroom when necessary. Small, upstairs rooms were used as quarters for the faculty and their families. This school was closed in 1930, and another school opened the following year located 200 yards south of the old. The land was purchased from W. T. Crabtree. This school initially consisted of six classrooms, a library, and an auditorium; later, other classrooms, a Home Economics Department, Vo-Ag building, and a gymnasium were added to the school. In the 1980s, this school was closed down and all students went to Bland High School.