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W.S. Neal had big impact on secondary education

By Staff
We will continue with the history of the county as written in 1934 by Ethel Holmes. It relates some of the impact that W.S. Neal made on this county in the field of education.
Perhaps no other person deserves more credit for the establishment of high schools in Alabama than W.S. Neal of Brewton. He went before the legislature with a plea for secondary education at public expense for Escambia County with the result that Gov. W.D. Jelks signed an act on March 5, 1903, to establish a high school for the county. This school was located at Atmore. With the exception of the Congressional District Agricultural Schools, this was the first free public high school outside of the larger cities of the state. It was established four years before the statewide county high school law was enacted.
The first building had four classrooms, the second six classrooms and an auditorium, a principal’s office, a hospital room and sanitary plumbing throughout. The auditorium of the second had a seating capacity of 355, the present will hold 725. The original school opened with 30 pupils, the enrollment now is around 400. The school now provides for vocational training, the practical sciences with well-equipped laboratories, health and physical education, commercial courses and fine arts.
I hope you are enjoying the historical recollections of our county. There are some interesting people wh did many interesting things that have benefited everyone here for a number of years.
I hope to continue with more county history next week.
Until then, happy hunting!