Dora High School


The mission of Dora High School is to provide a safe, supportive environment that enhances the development of our students toward their individual academic potentials.”

The first school was a “dog house” school near old Red Star Hill in the older section of Dora, Alabama. It was known as “Hard Bargain School” and D.M. Davis was the first teacher. There were no active organized trustees. Sam Sellers, who had homesteaded in the area, served as trustee.

In 1870 a school was built on the hill now known as Number 10 Hill, which is a community on the Dora-Cordova Road just past the Second Baptist Church. In 1888, a log house at the top of Davis Cemetery hill was used for a school. Later, a larger school was build at the foot of the hill near the cemetery. 

In the year 1901, a school district was created and numbered 45. Three schools were supported at this time: Sloss, Davis, and Morgan. The three were consolidated and for a time the school was taught in the Methodist church and the Masonic Hall in Old Dora.

The first principal was Thomas Harrison Sherer, a Peabody graduate and Sarah Kerr of Columbia, Tennessee. In the summer of 1904, a new building was erected, two rooms and an auditorium. Several months later, eight new rooms were built. This as a two-story frame building. E.C. Palmer, a graduate of Midland City was principal for two years. J.W. Letson was principal for the years 1906 – 07, and 1907 -08 when the school was graded.

On May 22nd, diplomas were given to the following as the first Dora High School graduates:

• Austelle Harwell
• Ray Andrews
•Siddie Sellers
• Maude Smithrow
•Alma Grimes
• Dora Gresham.

S.T. Sellers, R.H. Palmer and Dr. C. B. Jackson were the first trustees of the school.

As the enrollment grew, a new building of brick was erected in 1921. Grades eleven and twelve were added alternately. As busses brought in students from surrounding communities, the enrollment continued to grow.

With the cooperation of public-spirited citizens, land was made available for a new school to house the Junior and Senior High School grades. Ground was broken for the building in1934 and in 1938 the first class graduated from the new buildings.

Watkins Field, the football field, was built and named for the town’s mayor, Sam J. Watkins. Later a gymnasium was erected directly across from the rear of the school. The rock gymnasium is currently the home of the Alabama Mining Museum.

The first Dora High School for Blacks went as far as Junior High School classes. All students wishing to pursue higher learning had to relocate in other places in Walker County that offered high school courses.
The building where classes were held was an old wooden structure with very limited facilities for teachers and students.
Very small salaries were given to teachers. Dedicated principals and teachers with positive attitudes and optimistic views toward the future endured many hardships. They worked hard to train the minds of many Black boys and girls in order for them to find their places in society.
The student body was made up of students from Blackwater, Argo, Sumiton, Empire, Hull, Sipsey, Burnwell, Yerkwood, Flat Creek, and Dora.
Terrell S. Boyd, a white citizen of Dora, often visited the black schools. Seeing the need for the black children to have a better place to learn, he started working toward his goal. His dream was to get a new school for the black children.
In 1963 a new all Black T.S. Boyd School was built honoring Boyd, former Walker County Board of Education member. C.F. Prewitt, principal at the old building, was principal at Boyd until 1975. The Dora schools were integrated in 1969. 

In the late 1960’s the citizens of Dora saw the need to generate interest in buying property for a school site. A drive for property funds was headed by graduates of the school who feared that their alma mater would be lost if it were constructed outside Dora.

A door-to-door campaign was successful. Within five days more than $7500 was raised to buy the 35-acre campus on Glenn C. Gant Drive and thus deed it to the Walker County Board of Education.

Sparks Construction Company of Jasper was the contractor, and the new school was built and dedicated in 1969, making the class of ’69 was the last to graduate from the old school on the hill. The two-story split-level modern brick structure included modern teaching aids and an auditorium-gymnasium combination.

Approximately 550 students had enrolled in grades 10-12 when the school opened its doors for the first time. Glenn C. Gant was principal, and Asa Bobo, Clell York, and J.B. McCrary were trustees.

The new football stadium was named Roberts Field—honoring the memory of Horace Roberts. Horace was an outstanding Dora area citizen and a member of the Walker County Board of Education.

Glenn C. Gant was followed by Bill Moore in 1973, who was followed by Jim Crump in 1975. In 1979, under Jim Crump’s leadership, Dora High School received Accreditation. Trustees were Ralph Parker, Jerry Tuggle, and Rabon Watson.

The class of 1969 was the last class to graduate from the Old school on the hill. The new Dora High School built nearer to the 78 Highway was put into service and the class of 1970 was the first class to graduate from the New Dora High School.

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