Strom Thurmond High School
1131 Columbia Road
Our History :
Strom Thurmond first opened its doors in 1961. The very first graduating class was the class of 1962. Many things existed in '61 that don't exist now. The school was run quite differently then than it is today but overall the same principle of striving for success remains the same.
In '61 the enrollment was 380 students. Today that number has risen to 931 students. There was only one principal, one secretary, and one guidance counselor in '61. Now there are four principals, four secretaries, and four guidance counselors. The faculty was smaller in '61 also. There were only 21 staff members and now there are 90. The vocational school was not even in existence yet.
There were two football coaches and six cheerleaders. Football, basketball, and track were the only sports offered in the school. Now we have softball, baseball, cross country, soccer, tennis, golf, as well as football, basketball, and track. There were not many clubs back in 1961 such as mock trial, Spanish club, and chess team.
From '61 till '86 students were allowed to smoke behind the gymnasium. They were also able to play cards and various games that are not allowed today. In the 60's and part of the 70's, the cheerleader uniforms were cotton sweaters with skirts that reached their ankles. On normal school days girls wore long skirts and pants that did not reveal as much as clothing does today. The guys wore penny loafers and polo shirts. Instead of the big baggy jeans, the guys usually wore close fitting pants.
There were not any computers in the school for the first twenty-five years of its existence. In 1989 when Mr. George Brightharp first came to Strom Thurmond, there was only one computer for four guidance counselors. The head guidance counselor at that time was Ms. Boots Bandy. Bandy had been here since the school opened its doors. At first she was the girls Physical Education teacher and the girls basketball coach. Later, she became head of the guidance department. Ms. Bandy retired in 1997. Her hard work and dedication was greatly appreciated by the entire faculty and staff. She is considered by many people to be one of the most influential people to have graced the halls of Strom Thurmond. Ms. Bandy thinks this is so because she has always tried to respect her students and treat them the way that she wanted to be treated. She always smiled and made everyone feel as if they were someone. She is likely to be the most remembered person from Strom Thurmond High School.
In 1989 styles and trends changed dramatically. Girls wore blue jeans with dress shoes with socks. Acid washed jeans were popular among both guys and girls. Another popular item among young ladies was wearing about three or four pair of socks that were different colors. Guys and girls liked to wear polo shirts with the collar turned up. Bangles (bracelets) were major things for girls to wear and head bandanas. Keds were popular shoes as well Reeboks that came in a variety of colors.
Many students drove to school and many rode the bus. Students were allowed to drive school buses also. They would be taught how to drive and control the bus by an experienced driver. The student drivers liked this because they were able to get paid and drive to school at the same time. Many people disagreed with this method because they felt that the students were too young to be driving people who were about their same age.
In 1995 Strom Thurmond added some additions to the school. A new hall was added, as well as new office space, and a new guidance department. Over the pass two years computers were put in each classroom. A computer lab was added in the library and almost every computer in the school is hooked up to the Internet. The driver's education department got a new car and the vocational school has a new Suburban and activity bus to take trips in.
The styles for today have changed from the '60's, '70's,and '80's. Today guys like to wear long baggy jeans as well as polo shirts. Young ladies like to wear tank tops, tube tops, flared jeans, and platform sandals. In the sixties and seventies a dress code wasn't issued but now the school has a mandatory dress code that has to be followed.
Strom Thurmond High School has always tried to follow its theme of "striving for success." Being the only high school in Edgefield County means that all kinds of people must learn together peacefully. Strom Thurmond High School then and Strom Thurmond now has experienced many changes that have been for the better.