Residents recall glory days of Searcy School

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Searcy School recently received $5,000 in much-needed funds from Senator Wendell Mitchell.

Maxine Rogers, president of the Searcy Homemaker Club, said that the funds would be used to replace some of the windows in the old school.

Some of the money will also be used for window repairs.

On Dec. 6, Rogers and several members of the community, as well as former students and one former teacher, gathered to hear the historical background of the school from Eric O. Cates Jr. and to enjoy a hot luncheon of both potato and vegetable soups.

A long table filled with homemade desserts awaited the group as everyone visited with one another and shared their memories of the old school.

Mertice Porterfield, who is 87, is a resident of the Searcy Community.

She attended Searcy School from the first grade through the fifth grade.

&#8220I rode to school in a buggy,” Porterfield said.

Porterfield and Gladys Gregory, who is also 87, described the box suppers and the sock suppers that were auctioned off at various events at the school.

&#8220For the sock suppers, you'd fill a sock with mostly fruit and candy,” Gregory said. &#8220You intended for your boyfriend to get your sock or your box so you could share it with him.”

Gregory said that fruit and candy went in the box suppers, too, but you could pack cakes and &#8220real food” in them as well.

Gregory, who attended Searcy School from 1924 until 1933, walked to school when she was a child.

When she had a daughter, Gregory said that she walked with her daughter to school, too.

Sitting close to the tall iron stove, Porterfield said that when she was a student at Searcy School, there wasn't any money for coal to put in the stove.

&#8220Different families cut wood, and the parents brought it to school,” she said.

&#8220The wood your family brought to school could be part of your tuition fee.”

Graham Mullins attended Searcy School from the second grade through the sixth grade.

&#8220It only went through the sixth grade when I was here,” Mullins said. &#8220I started here in 1938, and I had to walk a mile to catch the bus.”

After he completed the sixth grade, Mullins was bused to Greenville to attend school.

&#8220Part of the boys' responsibility was to get the wood in,” Mullins said. &#8220Usually the older boys brought it in.”

With so many memories still fresh and alive surrounding the Searcy schoolhouse, there is little wonder that the community wants to preserve it.

As the footsteps clomped and echoed off the high ceilings, one could just imagine all the steps that had been taken in and out of the building down through the years.