History of New Hope School

  • At the end of the Civil War the people who remained in New Hope built a two-room school on what is now New Hope Cedar Point Road, lying diagonally across from the Church of Christ. The location of an earlier school has never been determined. Two deeds are currently on file in the Probate Records room of the Madison County Courthouse.

    According to Mr. W.P. Nichols in an interview in 1939, names of some of the early educators who taught her include the Messrs, George Hill, Alfred Hodges, Sidney Hodges, S.R. Butler, J.B. Vann, Thomas Parks and Misses Bessie and Bertie Hinds, Miss Tate Hayden, and Mrs. Leona Butler Coles. Student helpers were widely used during the early times. Mr. Nichols recalled that he was asked by the trustees and Principal Coleman to serve as a helper one year. For a year’s work he was given a dictionary valued at one dollar. Teacher’s pay was twenty-five dollars per month. A term was four months. Several teachers of these early schools came from Tennessee.

    School Number 3, a two-story wooden frame building, was used in 1920 until the property was sold. It served the needs fairly well, but it was not accredited by the state. Students who graduated were required to take entrance examinations; consequently, they usually went to Gurley or Huntsville to graduate. Some went on to the college where they intended to enroll.

    At the close of World War 1 the people of New Hope decided to build a modern school building. At great sacrifice to themselves and their families, they accomplished the feat. Those who could not give money gave labor. Children were charged an incidental fee in the early 1900’s and some parents paid their fee by cutting and hauling wood for the pot bellied stoves that were used to heat the school.

    The fourth school building was a $40,000 two-story brick structure located on a ten-acre lot facing Main Street, one-fourth mile west of the town. The courthouse records show that S. Keel Jr. deeded ten acres for the State of Alabama, Madison County, “for erection of a rural school”, District 65. Nov. 3, 1919.

    In 1921, a frame building used for vocational agriculture was added. This was later moved in a southward direction to become the band room, making room for the new elementary building. The rock gymnasium was built in 1934 and is still used today.

    Consolidation of smaller schools in the area with New Hope School took place. Enrollment continued to increase and a separate elementary cement block building, including a lunchroom, was added in 1949. This lunchroom - too small to accommodate both elementary and high schools - was later converted to elementary classrooms.

    The new high school building finished in 1958, included six classrooms, the home economics department, library, auditorium, science department and office space. In 1968, two new rooms were added for a modern commercial department. In 1959, a football stadium was built, and in 1968, an up-to-date gymnasium was completed.

    With the growth of student population, a new lunchroom was needed. This was completed in 1963, and the space formerly used for a lunchroom in the elementary school was converted into classrooms and a library. A band room was constructed in 1973. In 1974, a pod like structure was completed to house the middle school grades (grades 5-8).

    During the summer of 1986, air conditioning was installed in the elementary school. Renovation of the old gymnasium for elementary children was begun that year and completed in 1987. During the summer of 1987, the elementary school and high school building were completely renovated. Both buildings were now equipped with central air conditioning, heating and carpeting, and excellent lighting.

    In 1993, the elementary and high school buildings were connected with a new addition. This new construction included seven new classrooms. In 1999, a new high school was built on the far end of campus in the former location of the “pod” structure. A new gymnasium was also built for the high school at the time. The old high school building became the middle school (grades 5-8). At this time the two separate schools were still sharing a lunchroom. In 2005, a new lunchroom was built for the high school.

    This information was taken from a school history written by Ms. Bernice Dilworth, compiled by Ms. Sara Burleson. The following pictures were taken from New Hope Indian Yearbooks.