nHS history project needs central High alumni

by Celia Shortt

Newnan High School’s history club needs help from alumni of the former Central High School in Newnan to complete its exhibit on the history of the school.

At the beginning of the year, NHS’ history club announced it was creating an exhibit at the Male Academy Museum in Newnan to tell the school’s history. A significant era of its history is during desegregation when it was combined with Central High School, the former all black high school in Coweta County.

“We’re trying to tell the local story of desegregation in Coweta County,” said NHS history teacher Troy Cornwell. “(We need) more of the perspective from the students at Central High School who were reintegrated into high school … to tell that local story.”

Central was combined with NHS. The first school year with the schools combined was 1970-1971.

To help facilitate hearing from Central alumni, Cornwell and those involved with the project have scheduled an interview day Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at NHS in the 200 hall of the main building.

“People are welcome to come anytime during these times but the interview will only last a few minutes,” said Cornwell.

The history club has created six content areas which the exhibit will cover and with which they need help filling from people with a connection to NHS and, in this case, Central High School.

These include: • People — notable alumni, veterans, staff, present day students and parents who attended NHS.

• Sports.

• Fine Arts/Academic teams/Student Life.

• Geography — where NHS locations have been since it was created.

• The NHS classroom through the years.

• Integration.

They do not need any yearbooks, as the school has some as far back as the mid-1900s.

The items will be on loan, carefully maintained, and returned once the exhibit is over. If any wish for their items to be permanently given, they should contact the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

If any are unable to come during that time and would still like to share their story, they can contact Troy Cornwell at 678-429-5620. They can also call Steve Quisenberry at NHS at 770-254-2880 and leave a message.

The students are taking the lead with the project, but the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society is a resource for them. They plan to provide space, facilities, some funding, and other help.

“The high school is a great opportunity for us to partner with one aspect of the community and tell larger stories,” said Jeff Bishop, coordinator for the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. “There are a lot of natural born storytellers at the high school and we need to take advantage of their talents.”

“I think with the youth there is a lot that they bring to the table, perspectives that maybe we wouldn’t have,” he added.

Bishop expressed the importance of the historical society partnering with the community.

“This is the community’s historical society,” he said. “It’s the community’s museum. We thought it would be a great idea to reach out to people in the community.”



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