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There is a lot of history for students to learn right here in Coosa County, and as field trip participant Rebekah Burton remarked, “It is amazing how much history Coosa County has on one road.” As a culminating activity for Black History Month, eleventh and twelfth grade students had the opportunity to visit the historic J.D. Thompson Training School in the Cottage Grove Community. The school was started in 1899 by John Savage and became the Coosa County Training School in 1915, the first African-American training school in the state of Alabama. In 1960, the school was renamed J.D. Thompson High School in honor of their long-serving principal. In 2003 the Alabama Historical Commission added J.D. Thompson to the Register of Land and Heritage.
J.D. Thompson alumni sponsored the field trip and took students on a journey down County Road 30, but also on a journey through history as they shared their personal experiences and stories with the students. This was an invaluable opportunity for our students to learn from their elders about a time period very different from the one we live in now. As Rebekah noted, “It felt like we were back in time and actually experiencing what they felt.”
The field trip was such a great experience for the students that we plan to form a partnership with the J.D. Thompson alumni in order to offer this opportunity every year to eleventh grade students. This field trip was made possible through the hard work of Black History SGA student coordinator, Rebekah Burton. We would like to give a very special thank you to the J.D. Thompson alumni, many of whom are retired teachers from the Coosa County school system, for continuing to educate our students, as well as providing lunch for the field trip participants.
Pictured are J.D. Thompson alumni, Joetta Maxwell and Sheryl Bordon, who now resides in the former teacher boarding house, providing students with lessons on the history of the school and community. Also pictured are students participating in a game of May Pole, which was enjoyed by students during May Day celebrations so much so that they even had competitions between different schools. Thank you to PTO president Maressa Ware for providing pictures.