Although the facade and name of the former black high school in Columbia County have changed, that isn't stopping alumni of John P. Blanchard High School from holding on to their alma mater.
Gene Williams (left) takes notes next to Martha Brown and Randall Collins while alumni of John P. Blanchard High School discuss ideas for creating a scholarship in the school's name. The group met Saturday at the Rosemont association headquarters, on Burks Mountain Road in Appling.
Photo by Quandra Collins
"We want to keep Blanchard's name alive," Gwen Williams, an alumna and secretary for the Blanchard High committee, said about the group's plans to establish a scholarship.
On Saturday, the group convened at the Rosemont association headquarters, on Burks Mountain Road in Appling, to suggest ideas, select a name and establish guidelines for a scholarship in honor of the school.
Williams said that the scholarship will pay tribute to John P. Blanchard; the late Charles Lazenby, the institution's only principal; and Ann Daniels, a retired school board official.
"We didn't have an identity," she said. "When we tell people that we graduated from Blanchard High School, they don't know who we are talking about, and that's not right. So we thought we would establish a scholarship so people would know who we are."
From 1957 to 1970, Blanchard High operated as the county's only black high school, Williams said. But it wasn't long before the school and its name were abolished because of desegregation.
"The Board of Education took the name of all black schools because they said schools couldn't be named after people," Williams said. "It was later turned into a junior high school. When the county did away with junior high schools, they turned it into Columbia Middle School. That's where our school was originally (located)."
Besides outlining plans for the scholarship, Dr. Lester Pollard, the group's chairman, said no final decisions will be set in stone until the committee gets full support from representatives of each class to suggest recommendations.
Instead, he said, further issues will be discussed in detail at the next meeting, which will be held at 4 p.m. June 4 at the headquarters.
For more information, write Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-3219.
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