The History of Corinth-Holders Elementary School
Corinth-Holders Elementary School is located approximately eight miles south of Wendell in Johnston County, North Carolina. It currently serves a rural area, transporting students from Wendell, Zebulon, Clayton, Selma, and Middlesex routes.
As the name implies, Corinth-Holders is the combination of the Corinth School and Holders School. Both were two-room, two-teacher buildings built before the turn of the century. In those days, schoolhouses were more than just wood and glass. They were the sweat and labor of the people in the community, built and financed by the parents of the children that attended the schools.
The original Corinth School was located on the left side of Highway 96, just past Corinth Baptist Church. The church parsonage was built on the land. Johnston County bought the land from Edd Pulley and built the two-room building, and Mr. Harry Keller of Cullowhee was the first principal-teacher of the school. Wood from the original Corinth School was used in the white frame house across the street from the present campus. Mr. Johnny O' Neal bought the building and land. The original Holders School building is still standing as a part of a building near the Cary Atkinson home on a farm west of the present Corinth-Holders School.
In 1921, the county decided to consolidate the Corinth and Holders schools. A large brick building was built on land purchased from Mr. Edd Pulley and Mr. Thomas Hocutt, not far from the old Corinth School on Highway 96.
This forced consolidation caused a feeling of bitterness in the two communities, which finally became raw hatred. A wave of unrest gripped both the Corinth and Holders areas, erupting in a real-life explosion when the west corner of the new brick building was blasted with dynamite in August of 1923. The pre-dawn explosion brought matters to a resounding head.
Throughout all of the turmoil, Mr. Keller remained calm and set out to bring unity to the area. He served as principal for the next fifteen years, and succeeded in bringing the two communities together during this time.
Walter C. Boyette drove the first and only school bus, Number 42. He also drove and stopped by the Holders School (which was located west of the present Corinth-Holders School) to pick up any students who wanted to attend the new school.
Mr. Keller boarded at Mr. Johnny Battle O' Neal's home, located across the street, until the Teacherage building was constructed around 1925-1926. It was intended to provide housing for the faculty of the school. The high school building was built during 1926-1927 under the direction of the first principal.
The Janitor's house was built where the Ruritan building was located in 1927. Repsie and Walter Boyette lived in the two rooms, costing $100 to build, with no bath until 1961. In 1930, two more rooms were added to the existing house at a cost of $400.
The first graduation from the Corinth-Holders schools was in 1926. Graduating that year were the following students: Maude Wilder, Gretchen Hocuss, Lillian Creech, Alphonza Eason, Garland Richardson, Sybil Hinnant, Addie O' Neal, Minnie Thomasson, and Ione Creech. One of their favorite songs was Old Dog Hill. At this time, there were only 11 grades. Some of the first teachers were Higgins, L. Wilder, Mayford Wilder, Umstead, Mr. & Mrs. Bill Binson, Rebecca Ray, and Louise Hallwood. Former governor Jim Hunt's mother, Elsie Brame, began her career at Corinth-Holders School in 1926 as well. In 1932, the graduating class gifted the school with a portrait of Mr. Keller. The portrait was hung in the school auditorium, and today resides in the school's Media Center.
Mr. Cunningham followed Mr. Keller as principal, and served the school for seven years. Mr. Freeman was the next principal and held the office for seventeen years. At this point, the Teacherage housed the teachers who taught at the school, and was located between the primary and high school buildings.
Mr. Freeman proposed the expansion of the school campus with an agricultural building and a gymnasium. Mr. Clarence Hinton, a carpenter, was the supervisor of the agricultural building but died before completion. Mr. John Glover, a teacher, did much of the work with the men from the local community. They cut down pine trees on school property, carried them to the mill, and then used this lumber to construct the agricultural building and gym. The agricultural building was completed around 1952. In 1953 the school mascot, the pirate, was chosen by the student body president. The gym was completed in 1956, and the first basketball season was that year, 1956-1957. Barbeque suppers were sponsored by parents to raise money for the gym, the bleachers, and lights for the athletic field. The bleachers alone cost $ 19,000. The gym is the only remaining part of the old school, and the new structure was built around it.
In 1966, students had the freedom to choose which school they wanted to attend. Several black students enrolled in Corinth-Holders.
In 1969, Corinth-Holders School was faced the consolidation of the high school. The Board of Education decided that the high school should be moved to Smithfield to encourage better educational achievements. Corinth-Holders, Harrison, Selma Junior, and Smithfield schools all became feeder schools for the new Smithfield-Selma Senior High School. Ninth graders were to attend Selma Junior High, and the upper grades were to enter the new high school. Corinth-Holders then housed only kindergarten through 8th grades.
In 1976, parents worked alongside the principal to get a new building for Corinth-Holders. They proposed the addition of several classrooms and a library to replace the first building on the current campus. The Board of Education approved and began the project. The Teacherage was torn down in 1979, and the new primary building was completed in 1980. The old primary building was torn down the next year.
In 1991, the school board finally saw the need for the new campus. The old three-story building was torn down in June of 1997, and the existing structure was built to be ready for the 1997-1998 school year.
In 2007, the rapid population growth in the area brought about the division of the middle grades from the elementary grades. The sixth through eighth grades were established in the Archer's Lodge community, leaving just the Kindergarten through fifth grades to occupy all the vacant space. Corinth-Holders School became at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year Corinth-Holders Elementary School.