Our Lee County schools, from kindergarten all the way to Central Carolina Community College, are enjoying an era of “high marks” and recognition. As another school year comes to an end, it seems appropriate to take in one more history lesson … about our schools.
The first Sanford High School was built in 1925 on North Steele Street and continues to serve our community to this day. This building went from high school, to Sanford Junior High School in 1952, eventually to its current role as the Lee County Arts & Community Center and was renamed The Mann Center of North Carolina in December 2016.
Another legendary home of higher learning in our community was the Lee County Training School, which provided educational opportunities for Sanford’s African-American children. This school building was constructed in 1927 as a new home for the South Sanford Graded School, and was ultimately renamed as the W.B. Wicker School in 1954, in honor of the school’s long-standing, dynamic and dedicated school principal, William Bartelle Wicker.
The very first building on what is now the bustling, three-county wide Central Carolina Community College was completed on a 25 acre plot of land off of Kelly Drive in 1962.
Of course educating the region’s young people began long before the first high school was constructed a century ago. A typical source of schooling prior to the 20th century was the Jonesboro Academy, which was founded in the 1870s and affiliated with the Jonesboro Methodist Church.
Editorial content, pictures and research background, compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase.