Raymond and Ora Grey Stowers.
Ora: The first school building in Rocky Gap was in Camp Obediah.
Raymond Stowers: There were none taught in churches that I know of.
Ora Grey: Conrad Tuggle taught up here where schools are at today.
Raymond: There were little school of three rooms.
Ora Grey: But, before that Raymond just about where that white church is there was a one-room school there to be used around 1910. Conrad Tuggle and your Uncle Winston Stowers both taught in that school. And it was a small one-room building and the Superintendent at that time was a Mr. Dunn, Frank Dunn. Replaced by the three-room school that Raymond was talking about.
Ora Grey: Probably about one through seven or eight grades. There were only a few teachers; one that taught first second and third grades and one that taught fifth, sixth, seventh, and eigth, ninth and a high school teacher.
Raymond: In 1932 I graduated and in 1931 I went to school up here for four months and as a Senior Mr. R. P. Reynolds was principal and my parents paid four dollars a month for him to teach a government class to me, and we paid tuition to go to school and that was three dollars a month. I went up to a eight-month school for a half a year, and then I took my dads car and drove up to Joe Comptons. He drove the bus from there to Bland; I went over to Bland High School and graduated from Bland. There was only eleven years for a while.
Ora Grey: No, three years after you graduated according to Nannie Rose and other people there, you graduated in ‘32 from Bland and the first graduating class at Rocky Gap was in 1935 with four years High School. Mrs. Tiller one of the Post Masters here was in that class.
The White Building
Raymond: White building up here the upper grade, it burnt.
Ora Grey: White building burned and the then they- No, No, they built the first four rooms Raymond about 1928, first four brick rooms. Then about, they added the auditorium that was later cut into three class rooms.
Raymond: The furnace was under those rooms
Ora Grey: Yes, the furnace was under those rooms. They did all of these and that was what was completed by the W.P.A. under first Franklin Roosevelt about 1933-37. Roosevelt was elected in ‘32 but didn't take office until March 4, 1933. Built the other part of the building between the brick building and what was the Baptist Church four rooms there but originally three room building it housed all grades first through what ever they had, I'm not positive eight or nine.
Raymond: High School building then Mrs. Stowers. Then they built another room to it, I went to school in that building.
Ora: There is a picture over there and they have the picture of the whole school when Raymond was in the ninth grade and also his little sister was on the bottom row. 1940 it was still being used, the white building.
Getting to school
Raymond: We walked to school. About the last year I went to school we didn't have buses they just hired a parent to let the children ride in. Had a fellow bring them in, lived up Clearfork then.
Ora Grey: On a truck.
Subjects in school
Raymond: They taught us the basics subjects, Biology, history. We didn't have the variety that y’all have now.
Ora Grey: Then in 1965-66 Mr. Worrell was principal they began to bring the black children to Rocky Gap. I forget how many we had the first year they came but they where scattered through all of the grades. Some grades two and some one.
Raymond: Mr. Worrell was principal when Mr. Updyke left a Mr. Harvey was in there.
Remodeling the school
Ora Grey: 1953-55 if I remember correctly it was June we don't have the exact date but I think it was June the architect did the planning and work and they moved in December 1955. The sixth and seventh grade went there and left five grades in the Brick building before any addition was added on. They discarded the white building and left the five grades in the brick building. They took the classrooms in the first original four rooms and turned them into rest rooms and they were just about the same location as they are now. And then I should remember somewhere in the ‘60's late ‘60's early ‘70's they divided the auditorium into three classrooms. Across the front where Mrs. Dodson used to teach in the 4th grade and Mrs. Powers and there was one more but I don't know who that other teacher was. Then the one across hall, there is two along there thatwent into the entrance hall. You went through the doors into the auditorium. They divided that into at least three classrooms. Now I have no idea who teaches in those rooms. There was a stage in there the last time I was in there. We really thought we had some building.
Raymond: There is where the Library was. That was the stage and we put on a many a play on that stage. That auditorium would seat 250 people. I hated that but they did that after I went off the school Board.
Ora Grey: The new addition to the schools are really nice. The first cafeteria was a dwelling house turned into the cafeteria and it stood right where the basketball courts are now and went along side Mr. Clarks property now. There was a one story, it must have had five or six rooms in it. It was a pretty good size house and they put the first lunch room in there. I think Mrs.Hutchinson's Mother, Mrs. Shrader, was one of the first to work in the lunch room. I can't remember who the other lady was, but Mrs. Hutchinson worked there for a long time. Ruby Stowers worked there in that building. It burned about 19- We never used it when we moved into the new high school. It burned on Christmas Eve, daughter was 3 it would have been about 1954. It was heated by a old fashioned woodstove, and it was just believed that it got over heated too much - it wasn't arson. Now then they built the brick building, original 4 rooms had stoves, where they added on the two rooms and the auditorium put a furnace under those.
Raymond: All those were heated by coal furnaces.
The Lunch Room
Ora Grey: An the two down there which made six classrooms were heated with regular heaters. There was no lunchroom and we had to go back to brown bag lunches in the classroom, until the high school building opened in fifty-five. Mrs. Hutchinson was in there, she was the one that got locked in the rest room. Mr. UpDyke was principal, Raymond and I pulled in with Mrs. Sands and our kids. Mr. UpDyke came out and said Quick! Quick! Come Come girls, Mrs. Hutchinson is locked in the rest room and we went flying down in front of those buildings on that paved side walk in which the PT built, and we went flying, we laid our books down and took off to get Mrs. Hutchinson out of the rest room the door was locked. forget now what they did to get it unlocked but as soon as we got there she was out. She was a fine lady and a fine lunch room lady. I think she was the head person in the lunch room then.
Raymond: Yes, it was about like it was now, it was real good. Ruby Stowers and Eva Tuggle, they were excellent cooks.
Ora Grey: She wasn't there when it opened. Since about 1963 early 60's I expect. We have just lost a lot of the dates. All the lunches have been in this cafeteria since it opened I don't remember about the first one but we did get financial aid from the lunch room program.
Raymond: We used to get lunch room commodities.
Ora Grey: I don't know if they still get commodities or not, but in the lunch room there is a lot of years there. They got surplus commodities flour, to make really good rolls.
Raymond: Beans and Beef.
Raymond: There was a lot of things that happened while I was there. Built the building up here while I was on the Board, Bland, a new one and Bastian a new building and added to the Bland High School.
Ora Grey: Teacher aids were added to the schools. Mr. Davis was principal up here for a couple of three years, he is still living.
Raymond: He came the first year I was on the School Board.
Ora Grey: Mr. UpDyke was next that came on the School Board. For 10 years Mr. Harvey was the Superintendent. Now he is at Grayson Co. He was here for the open house and for some ball games.
Ora Grey: Mr. Worrell was principle to the year 67’ then Mr. Kaylor came. Then Mr. Puckett came. There were a lot of principals back then. I don't know if there is a complete history of the principals.
Raymond: They could paddle alright then, they had to have a person in the room to witness it and then they decided that it was wrong to do that and the they disciplined in other ways.
Ora Grey: Keep them in after school, and take playtime.
Raymond: They used to use suspension if necessary, I know a couple that has been suspended for three days because they w
Principal caught them through the back door out there saw them kissing each other and gave them both a suspension.
Ora Grey: Those type of things were used, but if things came to the worst a little swat on the rear would help. I think it has hurt since the forms of punishment have been taken away from teachers. I really think it has hurt the school.
Ora Grey: I have quite a bit of Bland material on accreditation of the school in 1967.
Ora Grey: eleven years high school until the last eleven years was 61 and
there were one year with-out a graduating class I think we got in a couple of transfers when I was in the 7th grade. 1961 last eleven years Pat Sand's daughter graduated in 62. We did not have a graduation class so the first graduating class was in 63.
Raymond: After they built new school at Rocky Gap they had a class reunion of 1955.
A Letter to Mr. Gilly
Raymond Stowers: "Dear Mr. Gilly,It is a pleasure to inform you that the State Board of Education by office action at the Regular meeting on Friday Sept. 27, 1967 accredited Rocky Gap High School for the school year 1967 -68 the certificate of accreditation of the school is herewith enclosed"