The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

July 15, 2013

Oakboro Museum looks at 50 years of West Stanly High School

By Mary Sycuro for the SNAP

Monday, July 15, 2013 — In 1963, four county high schools — Stanfield, Ridgecrest, Oakboro and Endy — combined to form what is known as West Stanly High School.

For those who are of that era, the memorabilia on display at Oakboro Regional Museum can bring back a flood of memories. Individuals who are not as old are invited to explore the history of West Stanly as well.

Every drama club program is there, as well as the costume worn by “Jane Eyre” in the first production under Ramona Bennet and Geraldine Holbrooks.  

There are programs through the Jim Kennedy years down to the present productions under the direction of Wes Tucker.

The football team won the sportsmanship trophy in its inaugural year. In subsequent years the teams became a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by the numerous trophies in the exhibit. The evolution of the school is evident in the uniforms and jackets in the museum display.

There is a special corner with a photo of the first graduating class, surrounded by larger photos of individual students from that class who have passed away.

There are trophies that denote a tradition of excellence in auto mechanics from 1966, ’67, ’71 and ’77 awarded by Plymouth motor company. Baseball, softball, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, cheerleading, the band, and track — all have something representing their part in the history of West Stanly High School.

Many of the photos and scrapbooks are on loan from the collections of former Principal Bud Smith and drama director Wes Tucker, but one of the biggest treasures in the museum could be considered Anabel Speight, a museum volunteer who is filled with stories on the beginnings of West Stanly those 50 years ago.

She shared a story of how the Colts became the Colts. There was a man from north of here who owned horses and the land on which the school sits was pasture. Every day, when the construction crews came to build, those horses stood at the fence and watched the workmen.

A committee of the principals and students from those original four high schools met and decided to name the school after the horses, colts. The original colt mascot looked different from today’s colt, and a sample of that first colt is in the museum.  

“The History of West Stanly High School” will be on display at the museum through the end of August when the museum will be setting up for its next exhibit, “Oakboro and the Coming of the Railroad.”

Museum volunteers encourage any citizen with railroad memorabilia from the 1913 era who would consider lending to the museum to contact them.

Mary Sycuro is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.