Sherman High School

The Big Coal River section of Boone County was somewhat slower to develop than the Little Coal River section of the county and had its need for a high school developed at a later date.

It was not until approximately the same time that the need for a high school to serve Crook District became apparent, that a high school was built to serve Sherman and Peytona Districts of Boone County. Since Peytona District adjoined Sherman and also needed high school facilities, it was decided to locate the school at Seth in Sherman District, thus being able to serve both districts.

The school began operation under the direction of Olin C. Nutter as principal. Mr. Nutter served until 1927 when Emmett Stine became the principal and remained for the next nine years.

The first and only major addition to the original building came during the administration of Mr. Stine. On July 1, 1930, a bond issue of $125,000 was authorized to construct a gymnasium-auditorium and additional classrooms.

Sherman High School enjoyed its most successful athletic era during the early thirties, playing football on a par with the big high schools in the state, despite its enrollment of less than four hundred. The Zontini brothers, later to win additional fame in colleges, played during this time. Another of the stars, John Jarrell, served as principal from 1939 to 1944, as, did C.D. Tamplin in 1944 and 1945.

A new high school was built in the late 1970's and Seth Grade School was changed to a Junior High School. This beautiful complex, Sherman Junior and Senior High Schools, serves students from the Big Coal River area of Boone County.


Sherman High School was established by special election in June 1915, by authority given to the old Sherman District Board of Education. The election was held in Sherman District, Boone County, for the purpose of establishing a district high school and for the purpose of authorizing a special two year extension levy to secure the necessary funds to construct a basic building to house the new school. The proposal provided for a ten thousand dollar levy with a two year extension, which would make available about thirty thousand dollars to build the new high school. The levy election for the high school carried by a vote of about five to one.

This new chapter in the education of Sherman District was begun under the direction of the District Board of Education consisting of T.L. Foster, president, J.C. Warren, and W.T. Cooper, commissioners,  and Bruce White, secretary. The Board of Education planned to begin the new school with a basic frame building to which more r0oms could be added as in need arose. This new building was to have been located in the Thompson bottom at Seth.

Before this new venture in the educational program could be made effective, there came a great flood on August 9, 1916, which washed away many homes, some school building and business establishments. Many people had to live together in crowded conditions for months in the existing school buildings while their homes were being renovated and while new homes were built for those whose homes were washed away. The United States entered the First World War on April 6, 1917. In the excitement of flood and War the educational plans for the new high school at Seth were shelved for the time being.

Four years passed. By 1921, the citizens began to sense a need for a high school. The Sherman District board of Education was required to pay a tuition fee of ten dollars per month for each student who attended high school outside the county from Sherman District. The people in the upper end of the district wanted a high school at Whitesville; the people in the lower part of the district wanted the school to be located at Seth. After much discussion, consolation, and investigation, and upon the recommendation of Clifford N. Coon, County Superintendent of Schools for Boone County, an opinion was secured in July 1923 from the Attorney General of West Virginia who held that the high school has been established at Seth by a vote of the people in June 1915. The only thing necessary was that the Board of Education provide the necessary buildings, teachers, and equipment.

As usual the question of finance arose, but after several loyal supporters of good schools made a fight for it, an extra levy was secured by consent of the tax commissioner and the State Superintendent of Schools. Then by legislative acts another extension levy was secured. A new Board of Education was elected in 1920. This new board under the direction of its president, Dr. C. A. Fleger, saw this growing need for more adequate buildings for the rapidly expanding population. Accordingly they began to make long range plans and to work diligently for the increased efficiency of its schools. A new eight room grade school building was completed at Seth in the spring of 1924.

In the fall of 1924 Sherman High School began its first year of instruction under the excellent direction of Olin C. Nutter as principal, and Miss Dora Atkinson as teacher. This was the same Mr. Nutter who is now in 1950, and who has been for several years, superintendent of Cabell County schools at Huntington, West Virginia. The enrollment of the high school in 1924 was between forty and fifty students in all grades. The school was organized on the 6-6 plan; six years in grade school, and six years in the high school, the high school being a combined junior and senior high school consisting of grade seven, right, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. Classes were held in the buildings vacated by the grade school when it moved into its new building. In the 1925 Miss Zelda Moore joined the faculty; A.D. Bradford and J.R. Shaw came in 1926. This stands in great contrast to the twenty-three faculty members assigned to the school for the year 1950-51.

The 1926 elections changed the personnel of the Board of Education. P.C. Bowne was elected president; C.C Brinkley and Kenna Hendricks, members, and R. Harry Ball was chosen as secretary. This new board, like its predecessor, took the view that the citizens of the district were entitle to the best schools that it was possible for them to get.

The contract was let and construction began on the long awaited new building for the high school at Seth. Before this building was completed fire broke out and destroyed the twelve room grade school building at Whitesville. The Board was new faced with an emergency. Sufficient funds were not available to complete the high school at Seth and to replace the grade school at Whitesville at the same time. Then, too, the funds for the high school were authorized by special levy and, by law, could be used for no other purpose.

After much careful planning the Board called a special School bong election. By vote the people authorized the Board of Education to issue bonds in the amount of $125,000 to build a modern fire-proof building to house the grade school and a junior high school at Whitesville. Contracts were let and construction began on a new building to be completed at Whitesville in 1930.

This new junior high school was destined eventually to relieve conditions at Sherman High School when relief was sorely needed. Whitesville citizens has been sending their entire ninth grade at home and send only the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students to Seth. This practice still being followed at the present time, (1950).

On March 16, 1928 Sherman High School moved into a new building which has been erected at a cost of $130,000. This was an up to date fire proof school building of brick and tile construction. It consisted of sixteen class rooms, office rooms, library, modern wash rooms, auditorium-gym-nasium seating two hundred fifty people, and shower rooms for both boys and girls. The enrollment has by 1928 reached about one-hundred students. Many of the citizens shook their heads in dismay and complained loudly that the new building was too large, and was a waste of the tax-payers’ money, and would never be completely needed.

This folly of all this worry was soon apparent. The school’s enrollment doubled in the fall of 1928. The school grew by leaps and bounds. By 1933 the enrollment has increased to such an extent that the old grade school rooms has to be preoccupied by the high school as annex rooms. In 1941 six annex rooms were in use, some of them more than a mile away from the main building. This necessitated bus transportation each hour to change classes. By 1941 the enrollment was 750. When the enrollment began to raise above 800 the Board of Education called a halt. The school was reorganized. All seventh and eighth grade pupils were sent back to grade schools. The new plan was called the 8-4 plan, right years in grade school and four years in high school. This relieved the crowded condition somewhat by reducing the enrollment to about 475 pupils. The enrollment has again reached 560 with the prospect of 650 or 700 in the fall of 1950.

The board of Education has been making plans to again relieve these crowded conditions. In April 1947 the Board submitted a special school levy to the vote of the people. The levy proposals were approved by the voters by a ninety percent margin. (90%). This levy raised $65,000. For an addition to Sherman High School. This amount was insufficient to meet the school’s needs as set forth in the state survey of school buildings in Boon County. This amount was kept in the bank. On May 12, 1950 the voters approved an additional three year levy which will produce $55,000 more for Sherman High School additions.  These amounts together with $25,000, states aid, will make possible an addition of about right new rooms costing about $145,000. This addition has already been advertised for bids to be let August 29, 1950 for this construction. It has been said that barring labor strikes, material tie-ups, and war with Russia the building will be ready for occupancy by September 1951.

Since the first year in 1924 many new courses such as chemistry, typing, shorthand, and office practice, physics, journalism, music, higher mathematics, and driver education has been added to the curriculum. During the first year of its existence the high school consisted of the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. Each year thereafter another grade was added until it became a six year first class high school in 1929. In 1937 it became a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary schools but has since been dropped out of this Association because of the over-crowded conditions at the school. It is hoped that the school can let back in the North Central Association after the completion of the new rooms.

The students who attended Sherman High School from Racine and Whitesville in 1925 and 1926 had to furnish their own transportation. The roads were bad and almost impassible during the winter months. Many of the students had to board in Seth. The school’s transportation system began in the fall of 1926 when two fifty passenger busses were purchased by the Board of Education. The roads have since been paved and twelve busses now bring students to Sherman High School.

Sherman High School has had eight principals. They are:

                Onlin C. Nutter                                  1924-28

                Enett Stine                                         1928-37

                Melvin L. Mackey                              1937-40

                John P. Jarrell                                  1940-43

                Clarence D. Templin                        1943-44

                Ralph H. McIntoah                            1944-46

    Grant Nine                                          1946-48

    Clifford E. Coon                                1948-50

The growth of Sherman High School has been phenomenal. The first graduation call in 1927 consisted of seven members. The class of 1950 membered ninety-five.

The graduates of Sherman are acquitting themselves creditably in life as doctors, lawyers, nurses, legislators, army officers, merchants, educators, secretaries, engineers, laboratory technicians, and many other professions.

A few of the graduates and their work are listed as follows:

                C.D. TEmplia, superintendant of Boone County Schools.

                Major Perry Aliff, Army Air Force.

                Captian Glen Koontz, Army Air Force.

                Captian Jeese Washburn, Army Air Force.

                Captian George Heckert, Army Air Force.

Captian Chester ball, Field Artillery Reserve and Professor of journalism at Marshall                  College.

Dr. Lester Mason, Skin Specialist in Hospital, Cincinnaati, Ohio.

Donald Oakley, Chemical Engineer Bethlehem Steel Corp.

Woodford Sutherland, Chemical Engineer, Garbide & Carbon Corp.

Carrie Warren, Nurse Liibby Owens Glass Plant.

Clarence Aleshire, Laboratory Analyst, Dupont Plant.

P.W. Hendricks, Lawyer

Dr. Robert Shead, Dentist

Dr. Bruce Vent, Dentist

Ralph Hottle, editor of Whitesville Ners.

                        Mrs. Eunice Skiles, teacher, Kanawha County Schools



History of Boone County Schools