In 1908, the county court deemed it advisable to establish a County High School in White County. After a little controversy as to where it should be situated, the High School Board decided that the school be placed in Sparta, being the best locality and offering better inducements than other communities of the county.
The City School building was turned over to the High School to be used until a permanent building could be created for the High School. The White County High School started building in January, 1909, with Mr. G.C. Sipple as principal.
Fourteen acres of the highest ground in Sparta were bought and a $20,000 brick building, equipped with the most modern and up-to-date furnishings, was erected.
In April, 1910, the town of Sparta turned over to the High School this building and campus, offering such a beautiful view of the surrounding country and affording ample room for any and all outdoor sports.
In its three and one-half years of existence, the school has accomplished wonders. It has turned out sixteen graduates, with a senior class this year of nine; has furnished something like forty teachers for rural schools of this and other counties; has three wide-awake literary societies; has always put out winning athletic teams; the students publish a monthly magazine and also an annual, and there is a loyal school spirit existing, which proves the fact that the student body appreciates what the White County High School is.
But WCHS is still in its infancy and with the same spirit manifested; with future faculties as competent as past ones, and the support of the citizens of White County, this school should become one of the leading educational institutions of the State. (The following is from the WCHS Winner, 1912. It was the first high school yearbook to be published for WCHS.)
It was in 1838 that public school began in the state of Tennessee. By 1850, there were 59 schools, 59 teachers and 2500 students enrolled in White County Schools. In 1867, there were 33 white schools and 2 black schools and the school term ranged from three to five months a year.
Later, the county court had approved the school for classes to run from January through June. Students could take whatever classes were available: American History, Algebra, Chemistry, English. The first graduating class for WCHS was in 1909. By 1914, there were 62 students enrolled at WCHS and it had the highest ranking in the state.
The first building that was built to house the school burned down not even ten years later. Another building had been erected and it also burned in 1932. And then yet another building was erected, but it was torn down in July, 2002.
In 1968, White County Junior High School came into existence, after a new high school was built on Allen Drive. The junior high students would go to classes in the building that was once the high school. It served grades seven through nine and Roy Sewell was its first principal. There were forty-five teachers that made up its faculty. Because of overcrowded conditions, the Board of Education voted to move ninth grade to the new high school building. That was in 1978. Thus, White County Middle School was established and it served all seventh and eighth graders in the county. Roy Heady was named principal and there were thirty teachers that made up the faculty.
In the spring of 1984, WCMS was awarded the Secondary Schools Recognition Program Award as one of the top six middle schools in the State of Tennessee. That same year, the Board of Education approved a request for the WCMS to pursue accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. By the 1990s there was a brand new school facility built to house sixth graders, seventh graders, and eighth graders of White County. That left the old WCHS building that was built in 1933, it was torn down.
Today, on the grounds of the old high school, the building is gone, but the gym is still there and used. What once was the football field is now the local soccer field. There is an adult education center and an alternative school on site.
As of 2008, the newly completed Freshmen Academy Wing is now completed. It houses the freshmen students to ensure an easier adjustment into the high school. The Freshman Focus class has been successful for student orientation to the school. Our program is now fully functional here at White County High School.
Courtesy of The Expositor