Students who are now teachers, and teachers who are now retired took turns telling stories and reliving the past of the school that opened its doors in September of 1959.
The school opened with 29 faculty members and 713 students. North Surry was the first of three consolidated high schools in the Surry County School System and students represented the five former high schools in the north district, which included Beulah, Flat Rock, Franklin, Lowgap and White Plains. Today, the school has 70 faculty members and serves close to 900 students.
As of the 2009-10 school year, North Surry has graduated more than 10,000 students since it opened.
“When North Surry opened in 1959, it consisted of the main building along with the first wing, second wing and the heating plant. The original buildings were built at a cost of $575,000. The first addition was the agriculture-construction building, which was attached to the heating plant and first used in September 1963. The east wing, or third wing, was completed in March 1966 and provided a band room, art room and nine classrooms. The vocational building, which is referred to as the new wing, was finished in time for the opening of school in 1969,” said Principal Bill Goins, who is a 1986 graduate of North Surry High School.
Teacher Ron King has been teaching at the school for the past 40 years.
“Someone told me a long time ago that if you do what you really love, then you will never have to work a day in your life. If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do,” King said.
Former teacher Van Dearmin, who taught at the school from 1971 until 1980 and then returned as assistant principal in 1987, commented on what a wonderful staff he worked with at North Surry.
Former teacher Eldon Rogers, who taught Spanish for 30 years, said his time teaching at North “had been very rewarding.”
Former teacher J.L. Hiatt, a physics teacher who also taught driver’s education, said one student asked him if he was still teaching driver’s ed, “He said, ‘You taught my daddy,’” Hiatt said with a laugh.
After the school’s chorus sang the North Surry Alma Mater, led by Choral Director Sylvia Lowry, Goins gave the closing remarks.
“This is North Surry. As we celebrate the past, we look to the future and hope to carry this same spirit with us so that we continue to help students to find success in life,” Goins said.
Former student Angie Thomas, who graduated in 1990, ran into a former boyfriend at the anniversary celebration, Steve Everett, class of 1987.
“I’m just flooded with memories. After leaving and then looking back, high school were the best days of my life,” Thomas said.
Contact Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.