The History of Central Memorial High School
Resting in an area surrounded by Avenues “U “and “T”, the first Central School was found. Some believed that it was constructed originally as a hospital and some remembered it always as a school. Nevertheless, the wooden structure contained four large rooms 48’ x 50 ‘and accommodated grades one through seven.
The first known principal was Professor W.H. Young. The first teachers were Miss Alice Smith and Miss Alice Lang. The principal also taught classes. After a few years Mr. Crush, who became the first photographer, and Mrs. W.H. Young were added to the faculty. Also, under the direction of Professor Young the first band was organized.
Second in command of the Central School was Professor Z. D. Le Noir. Under his guidance were Mrs. Ethel Smith, Mrs. Le Noir, Mrs. Dunn-Johnson, Miss Robert Bell, Miss Antoinette Bell, Mrs. Johnson, Miss Emma Smith, Miss Mary Broome, Miss Fanny Broome, Miss Pearl Verna B. Jackson, Miss Susie Smith, Miss A.L. Hover, Miss Mary Travillion, and Miss Cora Washington.
Vocal music entered the school with the coming of the third principal, Professor B.P. Smith. Professor Smith, a former member of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers developed the first musical group at the school.
The Central School now housing grades one through eleven greeted its fourth principal, Professor Gaddis Hall. Added to the faculty were A. L. Jordan who replaced O.N. Johnson as shop instructor, C. F. Dwellingham and Mrs. Martha Travillion.
Athletics made its advent shortly after 1928. The line of coaches for the athletic events were Dr. Cooper, M.C. James, Pat Malone, Charlie Dillworth, Gully Carter, A.L. Jordan, J.C. Crump, Walter Redford, and Clifton Nelson.
With the efforts of Miss Thelma Dorset, A.L. Jordan and N.C. Crump, the name “SPARTAN” was given as the school mascot. The first football team consisted of Willie L. Manning, Reggie Simmons, Adell Stevenson, V.L. Collier, Willie Brown, Otha Halbert, William Bailey, Earnest Holloway, Rushell Franklin, Hansel Travillion, John Perkins, Lester Butler, James Smith, Levell Stewart, and Hosea Sayles. In 1938 and 1939, the Spartans won their first State Championship under Coach John Walter Redford. In 1945 and 1946, Central won two more State Championships under Coach Clifton Nelson.
The first track team was organized in 1935 with J.C. Crump as coach. The team consisted of A.V. Jones, Pearlie Pernell, J.C. Strickland, Freddie Sawyer, Willie Burns, Clifton Nelson, and John Anders.
Basketball appeared in 1935 under A.L. Jordan. The first team included Henry Spann, Lattimore Holmes, Freddie Sawyer, Leroy Hawthorn, Clifton Melson, Leonard Thomas, Charles Ray Dillon and A.V. Jones.
The first baseball team included Willie L. Manning, Otha Halbert, Rushell Franklin, L.D. Owens, Ernest Martin, Lovell Stewart, and V. L. Collier.
After the return and brief administration of Professor B.P. Smith, A.L. Jordan “took the reins” as leader for the most progressive Central School. The teachers at that time were Miss V.L. Nash, Grace Perry, Mrs. Franklin, Mrs. Speights, Miss Alvin T. Robertson, and Mr. John Foster.
Under the leadership of Mrs. B.B. Manning and J.C. Crump, the first Spartan newspaper came to light. The copy was a two-page typed edition containing news of the school. Due to some unknown causes, the wooden classroom building was burned, and classes were held in the various churches.
In 1945 the second era began under the leadership of Principal A.L. Jordan. The Central Memorial High School was born. The “Memorial” was added to pay tribute to the veterans who had given their lives in World War II. There were 22 classrooms in this building housed on 3.5 acres of land. It was built under the supervision of the Bogalusa School Board. The superintendent was M.J. Israel, and board members were B.D. Talley, Jr., Corbett Mitchell, Andrew Seals and T.J. McDaniel. Added to the faculty of the new school were Mrs. Ruby Ray as home economics instructor, Miss Jean Tanner, Miss Addison, and Miss Rosalind Johnson.
The post war era of the fifties made it necessary to put on a platoon or double day shift. Added to the faculty were Mrs. I.Y. Hollins, Robert Hodge as Band Director, Mrs. Vera Moody, Miss Dorothy Burns, Miss Ada L. Hannibal, Miss Winona Williams, and coach Albany Jones. Also, Miss Doris Conerly, Miss Callie Hewitt, Miss Maude Carter, Miss Nellie Fobbs, Mr. Lucious Jefferson, Mr. Ray Adams, Mr. Leon Burns, Mr. J.D. O’Neal, Mrs. Mary Chatmon, and Mrs. Orastein Monk all started around the same period.
The Drama Department, which was previously organized by Miss Taggard and Mrs. Mary Travillion, was organized again by Miss A.L. Hannibal.
In 1954, the Central Memorial High School was built at 1403 North Avenue. This two-building plant consisted of twenty-two classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, a set of offices, and a gymnasium. The curriculum was improved making necessary the addition of new instructors who included Mrs. B. Augustus, Miss Velma Galatas, Mr. Crosby Copeland and Miss Juanita Welch.
In 1956 Mr. J.C. Crump became the sixth principal and to his staff he added Normel Keller, Larry Powe, Johnny Bland, L.X. Speight, Miss Georgis Martin, Miss G.W. Gibson, Miss Margie Green, Miss Charlotte Moye, Miss Maxine Small, Miss V.I. Mims, Miss Jo Ann Brumfield, Mrs. G.P. Moses, and Miss M.J. Berry. Also, in this period the new auditorium was built to seat 621 persons; this became the third building on the campus.
There are other events which have one particular place in such a history. One is the “Miss Central “contest which was held each year around Homecoming. In an effort to list the queens of the school, the following names appeared: Mary Johnson, Bennie R. Robinson, Orastein Ward, Alton Kenny, Evelyn Harris, Juanita Hall, Audrey Buckley, Josie Jones, Mary Keys, Janice Baham, Laura Patterson, Alvia Bickham, Barbara Hicks, Sherrill Young, Willie B. Expose, and Barbara Robinson.
The second event that has been in existence almost as long as the school is the “Big Broadcast”. This variety show was begun by Mrs. Ethel Smith in 1934. The “Big Broadcast” was named after a movie of that time.
Music for this affair was furnished by h Original Rhythm Aces. The show was first held on the porch of Central School. Mrs. Ethel Smith organized this program in order to raise funds for the school. Some thirty years later, “The Big Broadcast” was still one of the leading activities of the school.
In the relatively short history, Central Memorial boasts of being one of the first schools accredited by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. Other scholastic accomplishments worthy of note are: Central graduates being accepted into any school in the country and graduates returning to be employed in the school system from which they graduated.
As far as extracurricular activities are concerned, Central Memorial’s athletic department has consistently been hailed as excellent by many colleges and universities. Many students received offers to do further graduate study and training in athletic training.
Central’s Drama department has not only excelled, but also has had many of its graduates enter the field of speech and drama.
Central musicians, both vocal and instrumental have brought national recognition to themselves and the school.
All in all, every activity on campus has helped Central and its graduates excel in academics, music, and athletics.
There was always room for advancement and every member of the “Central Memorial Family” knew it. Each year brought about changes and the faculty and students found ways to cope with the changes and excel while doing it. Many of the teachers that had only a “T” certificate returned to school to complete their master’s degrees in the mid 1950’s.
No one can tell what the fourth era of Central Memorial will be, but one can safely say that if the past was any criterion for the future, the solid foundation and background will continue to produce greatness and excellence. When the next phase of Central Memorial’s history is written, there will be no gaps in the story, for those persons now concerned with the school are working diligently to surpass any endeavors set forth by their predecessors.