The History of North District Middle School
The foundation of present day North District Middle School was laid in 1945 when Dr. (then Reverend) H.J. Brooks arrived in Varnville, SC. as head teacher/principal of the Varnville Colored School. Under Dr. Brooks, the Varnville Colored School grew from an uncompleted building without electricity, four classrooms, four teachers, and eighty-four students in 1945-1946 school year to the modern brick structure with 403 students that serves as the North District Middle School today.
The process was a slow arduous one with the school year lasting only eight months in Dr. Brooks' first year, but being expanded to nine months in 1947 with the eighth grade added. Progress continued with the addition of the ninth grade in 1948 and the school's name being changed to Varnville Junior High School. Grades continued to be added until 1951 when the first graduates of Varnville High School were issued their diplomas.
In an attempt to circumvent the Brown vs. The Board of Education Supreme Court decision, the present building was erected and opened during the 1953-54 school year. Named the North District Training School, the school offered an academic curriculum as well as courses in agriculture, masonry, and home economics. The school became a fully accredited high school in a then unheard of four years in 1958.
When total integration finally came in 1970, all tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students at North District were transferred to Wade Hampton High School, which became Hampton District 1's Senior High School for all students. North District served as home for all Varnville-area students through the eighth grade plus all Hampton District 1 ninth graders until 1976 when the ninth grade was moved to Wade Hampton.
In 1978, Dr. Brooks retired and one of his former students at North District Training School Mr. Willie F. Coker took over the reins at the school. Under his guidance and leadership, North District thrived as the home of Varnville area fifth through eighth graders until 1993-1994 when it became the middle school for all of Hampton District 1's seventh and eighth graders. Today it still serves the community in this capacity.
Mr. Coker retired in 1994 and former North District alumnus, Mr. Daniel Harley was named Principal where he served until 1996. In July, 1996, Mrs. Hannah Priester-the third North District alumnus, and the first female to serve in this capacity-became North District's fourth principal-a position she served until 2005. Dr. Mark Dean, Sr. was named as our fifth principal who served until 2011. Ms. Patricia Brantley became our sixth principal beginning the 2011-2012 school year.
Every Principal of North District-other than Dr. H.J. Brooks, Dr. Mark D. Dean, Sr. and Ms. Patricia Brantley has been a graduate of the school.
Author: Allen Bowers