Echols County Schools - In the Beginning
Echols County is a rural county in south Georgia with great pride in its school system. We are located in Statenville, Georgia, about 18 miles east of Valdosta. Echols County School District is home to 812 (October 2020 FTE count) Kindergarten through 12th grade students.
Between 1898 and 1945 small schools were located throughout the county, 47 schools for white students and 30 schools for black students. In 1898, the schools were open six months out of the year. If the schools could not maintain an average roll of ten students they were closed.
Mr. W.A. Ham was the School Commissioner, now called School Superintendent. He operated all of the schools in the county with a budget of $3,216.85.
Teachers who taught in the first schools of the county were trained in short summer sessions, called "Institute Sessions", and taught by the County Commissioners. A License to teach was granted after passing an exam. If the teacher did not live near a school, he would board with the family of a student.
In 1917, for the first time bus transportation to school was provided for some students. Mr. S.M. Carter was the first bus driver to be hired for the county.
The small schools scattered across the county served the citizens until 1927, when plans were made to consolidate many of the schools. By 1928 there were fourteen schools in the county. In 1931, the brick school was built in Statenville and called the Echols Consolidated School.
Water had to be carried to the new school from the Rizer's well across the road. The school had its own water pump installed in 1939. The school was heated with wood heaters. The wood cost the school $3.00 a cord in 1939.
In the years following the smaller schools in the county gradually consolidated with the school in Statenville. In 1945, flush toilet systems were installed at the Statenville School. In 1948, the school had expanded to include a lunchroom and Home Economics Department. By 1950 all of the white schools in the county were consolidated.
By 1941 many of the black children of the county were attending school north of Statenville, near the Hercules Powder Company Camp. In 1948, the Herctoma School was built for the black students. In 1955, water coolers were installed. In 1962, ECS was re-wired and butane heaters installed. In 1963, the first televisions were installed in the Echols County School. Herctoma consolidated with Echols County School in Statenville in 1970.
Until August 2010, our school system was composed of one K-12 school. In 2009-2010, a new K-8 school was built, and the high school stayed in the original buildings. In August 2014, the system decided to have two principals, one for each school, and one assistant principal for the K-8 school.
Source for School History: Chinkypin Volume I Number I Copyright 1975 by The Echols County High School Composition Class, Statenville, Ga.