Remembering Cobb Elementary School in Green Creek

Some of the Cobb Elementary School eighth graders in 1957 included Jennie, Alphia, King Wesley, Mae Carolyn, Jacqueline, Bertha, Lucille, Gasaway and Ruth.

Some of the Cobb Elementary School eighth graders in 1957 included Jennie, Alphia, King Wesley, Mae Carolyn, Jacqueline, Bertha, Lucille, Gasaway and Ruth.

The Cobb Elementary School was opened in 1951 as an elementary school for the African American students who lived in rural Polk County. The school was located in the Green Creek Community on Coxe Road near the Green Creek Missionary Baptist Church. The school was first named the Polk County Elementary School. Later the name was changed to the Cobb Elementary School. It was a beautiful expansive contemporary school building. The school had eight classrooms, a library, a very large auditorium-gymnasium, a kitchen-cafeteria, the principal’s office, a large indoor restroom for the girls, a large indoor restroom for the boys, an indoor restroom and lounge for the teachers, and a large storage room.

Those of us who attended Cobb Elementary were very excited and happy about attending a school that was big, beautiful, and new with indoor plumbing.  All of the students who attended Cobb Elementary School came from the African American one-, two-, or three-classroom schools in rural Polk County.

The principal of Cobb Elementary School was Mr. Percy Wellmon. The teachers during the time that we attended were Mrs. Edna Davis Michael, Mrs. Evelyn Robins King, Mrs. Estelle McIntyre, Mrs. Della Jackson, Miss Birdelle King, Mr. Fred Jones, Mrs. Culbreath and Mrs. Annie Bennett. Today Mrs. Edna Davis Michael lives in Spindale, N.C. and she is doing well. She attends activities that are associated with Cobb Elementary School and its former students. The other faculty members are deceased.

Our class, the 1957 graduating class, entered Cobb Elementary School when we were in the third grade.  There were 18 students in our third grade class. We attended Cobb Elementary School from 1951-1957.

At the beginning of our eighth grade year, there were 17 students in our class. During that eighth grade year, two of the students moved with their family to Charlotte, N.C. Those students were Robert Hayden and Patricia Hayden. So we had 15 students to graduate.

The students who graduated from Cobb Elementary in 1957 were Jacquelyn Graye, Bettye Jean Hines, Mae Carolyn Jackson, Alphia Little, Stella McIntyre, Ruth Lee Miller, Dessie Mae Moore, Lucille Staley, Jennie Lee Twitty, Bertha Whiteside, Carver Jackson, Gasaway Jones, James C. Twitty, King Wesley Wilkerson and Spencer Wilkins. The class valedictorian was Alphia Little and the class salutatorian was Spencer Wilkins. The eighth grade teacher was Mrs. Annie H. Bennett.

One of our school closing activities was to perform the two-act play “No Suit for Bill” along with the sixth and seventh grade classes. The play was performed on Friday, May 10, 1957 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium. Admission was 15 cents for students and 25 cents for adults. A gift was given to the oldest and youngest persons in attendance and ten baby chicks were given away in a raffle. The students did an excellent job with their performances in the play. It was a wonderful night.

We enjoyed our years at Cobb Elementary School and participated in many learning experiences, in addition to learning the regular subject of reading, writing, math, spelling, science, history, and English.  We also had a music class that we especially enjoyed. I remember that Mrs. Della Hayden Jackson taught us many songs during music class.  She made sure that we knew many patriotic songs which included the songs for each branch of the armed services. I still remember the songs today. We are thankful that the Polk County Board of Education built Cobb Elementary School for the African American students in rural Polk County. We are also thankful for all of our teachers, our principal, our classmates, and our schoolmates.

Of the 15 students who graduated from Cobb Elementary School in 1957, 12 went to ninth grade at Carver High School in Spindale, N.C. and three went to ninth grade at Allen High School, a boarding school, in Asheville, N.C. Several of the 1957 eighth graders went to college after graduating from high school. All of the students who graduated from Cobb Elementary School in 1957 have had respectful and successful professions. They have been and are still productive citizens in their communities. Following are the professions of that 1957 class: teacher, preacher, engineer, day care owner, army reserve soldier, administrative assistant, secretary, sales representative, clerk, contractor, entrepreneur, radio commentator, and farmer.

The 1957 eighth graders now live or have lived since leaving Cobb Elementary in the following places:  Polk County, Spindale, Forest City, Shelby, Spartanburg, S.C., Greenville, S.C., Gainesville, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., Washington, D.C., Capitol Heights, Md., Mitchellville, Md., Philadelphia, Pa., New Haven, Conn. and Buffalo, N.Y.

Cobb Elementary School was closed in the mid 1960s after a large number of the African American students from Cobb Elementary School begin to attend the newly integrated white elementary schools in Polk County. After closing, Cobb Elementary School was used as an institution to train disabled individuals. Later the school building was sold to the Green Creek Missionary Baptist Church. During the church’s ownership of the school, the classrooms deteriorated and the school was torn down.

The members of the graduating class of 1957 of Cobb Elementary School are now 71, 72 or 73 years old.  We still have many fond memories of the school, our experiences there, the teachers, the principal, the other adults working in the school, and the other students attending the school. We are very thankful to have been able to attend Cobb Elementary School.

– Submitted by Mae Carolyn Williams, photos provided by Alphia Little Wills, both members of the 1957 graduating class 

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