The Shawtown School had its beginning in a two room school built around 1915. The school was located about three tenths of a mile west of the present structure.
Since the state was doing very little at that time for the education of black people, the citizens of the community purchased an acre of land and erected the first school building. Teachers salaries were paid or supplemented by the citizens of the Shawtown Community. The first Principal of the school was Mr. H. Suggs. Along with being Principal, he also taught classes.
During the tenure of the Rev. C. W. McNeill, Principal, additional classrooms were constructed around 1924 and grades were extended to eight. Upon completion of this grade and having attended a summer school session, students were awarded certificates to teach. In approximately 1927 or 1928 the school burned. Classes were held in the Lillington Star Church and the Lillington First Presbyterian Church. Even before the destruction of the old school, citizens had begun planning for a new school. A deed dated November 21, 1923 showed that the land on which the present school stands was purchased by: A. G. McLean, J. Patterson, A. B. McLean, Joe Cannady, C. H. Bailey, Ralph Douglas and William Shaw. These became the first trustees of the new school.
The new structure built through the Rosenwald School Building Fund featured some rooms which could be opened into an auditorium. Electric lights were added in the 1930's. It wasn't until the early 1940's that running water and indoor plumbing facilities were installed. It was during this period that the local community began to raise funds to purchase equipment for the "hot lunch program". Lunch, which consisted mainly of soup and sandwiches, was served to the students in a small structure located behind the classroom building. Mrs. Belle Minter, retired cafeteria manager, is to be credited for organizing and operating the first lunch program at the school.
As years passed, additional grades were added the curriculum and the first class to graduate from Shawtown with a high school diploma was the class of 1934. The main building was constructed and opened for classes in 1949. At that time it was a modern facility which could serve as a feeder school for black students in the surrounding area. In 1956 the primary building was completed. It featured classrooms and a spacious cafeteria. It has been estimated that an excess of one thousand students were enrolled in grades 1-12 until integration.
In 1968 Shawtown changed from a Union High School to an Elementary School with grades K-6. It remained that way until 1978 when it became a Primary School for grades K-3. It currently serves those grades along with the Special Classes for Handicapped students.
History Written by: Mrs. Ethel P. Williams
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