J. S. Clark High School
The History of J. S. Clark High School
Upon the resignation of Professor Booker Harrison in 1935, Robert B. Collins was recommended as Principal by Superintendent G. C. Reeves, Mr. S. H. Porter and Mr. Paul Ebard, and was transferred from Converse Agricultural School. Mr. Collins was accompanied by his wife, Alma Goodman Collins who served as one of the first three teachers of the school. The other teachers were Maggie Cheatam and Booker T. Smith.
The school was an unpainted four-room frame building with no water, wood, electricity, seating capacity, shrubbery, landscaping, fence or dwelling place for the Principal.
For two years the Professor and Mrs. Collins lived in the school building. Subsequently, a house was rented by the Sabine Parish School Board for two years.
Mr. Keleen agreed to give enough lumber to build a cottage, if the Principal could get members of the community to tear down an old hotel and build a cottage. The Principal organized an advisory council which met and agreed to hire two men at $25.00 each to tear down the hotel. Each member of the council agreed to meet and pay $1.00 once a week until money was raised. The council met once and raised $5.00, after which the Principal and his wife had to solicit money on the street to pay for the work done by these two men.
After the passing of Mr. G. C. Reeves, Mr. Roy Alford became superintendent of the Sabine Parish School Board. Through the leadership of Mr. Roy Alford, there were better salaries, better facilities, better equipment and longer school terms. The school also progressed from an elementary school to a junior high school. In 1950 the school’s name changed to Joseph S. Clark High School, named after a former president of Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The school continued to grow, and Mr. H. H. Morris became the school board member for Ward 8. During his administration many improvements were made. A gymnasium-auditorium, to meet the needs of the school and community was constructed. A well-equipped farm shop was built, a cyclone fence for the protection of the children, campus, improvement and installation of modern facilities. The school was better equipped than it had been throughout its history. By this time, the J. S. Clark High School consisted of a well-equipped Home Economics Department, Agriculture Department and other academic classes which were the result of prepared teachers. The school was able to graduate students adequately prepared to enter Grambling State University and Southern University. Many of the students secured scholarships because of their abilities and were honor students at both, Grambling State University and Southern University.
Nearly half a dozen graduates of the school completed their work at Grambling State University and Southern University; they returned as faculty members to J. S. Clark High School.
Through constant effort the school programs grew. The school, churches and community at large worked cooperatively in bringing a higher standard of living and preparing the youth of the community to meet the challenging situations of the day.
Mr. Collins retired in 1964. Mr.. Samuel David Cross, the coach and teacher at J. S. Clark High School was appointed by the Sabine Parish School Board to succeed Mr. Collins as the next principal of J. S. Clark High School. The school continued to make progress under Mr. Cross.
The last Baccalaureate and Commencement Exercises were held at J. S. Clark High School on May 17th, and 20th, 1970, respectively. The last Baccalaureate speaker was Reverend Ludd Flanagan, a pastor of Paradise Baptist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana. The twelfth-grade graduates were Walter Calhoun, Horace Davis, Mary Evans, Robert Evans, James Frazier, Merlin Hill, Annell Jones, Dale Lilly, John Lilly, Leonard Lilly, McBrady Lilly, Jr, Ernestine Perry, Hattie Perry, Howard Perry, and Emma Richardson.
A beacon and institution, J. S. Clark High School, in the Black community, is gone forever.
An inclusive listing of teachers/staff members are: Booker Harrison, Robert B. Collins, Alma G. Collins, Laverne Scott, Rosemary Montgomery, Marguerite B. Ferguson, Sallie P. Smith, Yvonne Myers, John H. Cockrell, Christine Cockrell, Samuel D. Cross, Tina Garner, Bertha Garner, Charles Foster, Douglas Barrett, Samuel L. Beasley, Sr., Nettie Beasley, Willie R. Garner, Mr. and Mrs. John Ed Anderson, Mary E. Bush, James Sowell, Porter Scott, Norman Cross, Myrtis Robinson, Sammie Lee Williams, Velma Williams, Jackie Willis, Hazel Lilly Willis and Willie Mae Gray.