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History of Earl Travillion Attendance Center

     The residents of the Kellv

. Settlement and people of the

adjoining communities initiated the

movement which eventually

resulted in our present school at the

Earl Travillion Attendance Center,

with an enrollment of 1183.

     John McComb, among those

people of the community who took

the initiative in organizing and

building a school for the education

of Negro children, gave two acres of

his land, 4 miles from the former

Bay School site. A well-constructed

frame building, named for the

donor, John McComb, was erected

in 1887. Classes commenced in the

fall of 1888 for a six-month term.

with Horace Kelly as teacher.

     In 1890, the Priest Creek

Community School was organized

south of Hattiesburg in what is now

called Palmer's Crossing. Several

other small schools had their

beginning during this same period;

information concerning some of

them is vague. and the exact date of

their operation is difficult to

determine. However. both John

White Consolidated and Bay Spring

Schools are discussed in separate


     After operating a few years in a

log cabin. Priest Creek Community

School was moved to an orphanage

which W!lS later destroyed by fire.

Leaders of a community group who

met to plan a replacement school

included Joe Knox, Joe McCullum,

Joe McKinzie, B. F. Wilson, and

Jim Owens. This new Priest Creek

School was built on land acquired

from Joe McKinzie. on the

southwest side of Priest Creek.

     After a number of years, for

some unknown reason, the school

was closed. For a period following,

school was held in the Priest Creek

and St. John Methodist Churches.

alternately. In 1919, a Parent

Teachers Association was organized

with the main purpose of raising

funds to partition Priest Creek

Church into classrooms.

     Another school building was

erected in 1920. which was named

Depriest for Congressman Oscar

Depriest. Pearl Barnett was the

first principal for this new school

which was located on a site adjacent

to the present Earl Travillion School

campus. This school could very well

be considered the predecessor to

Earl Travillion High School. which

was named for Earl Travillion, who

was the principal of Depriest School

from 1939 - 1951.

     The continuation of public

school transportation made possible

the consolidation of other small

schools in the area with Depriest

School. In 1924, under the Smith-

Hughes Act of 1917, the Depriest

School became the first in the state

to offer Vocational Education to

Negro students. Upon suggestion of

the State Department of Education,

the school's name was changed to

Forrest County Training School,

and was used by the State

Department as a model Smith-

Hughes Vocational School. A Mr.

Heard served as its first principal.

     In 1903. a school was organized

in the Burkett community. 4 miles east of Hattiesburg. Classes were held in the Mount Vernon Baptist

Church for several years until a

group of interested patrons

organized to build a school. Among

these were Henry Grant, Henry

Burkett, Ben Burkett, Jack Carter,

Pat Britton, and Issac Ryan who

served as leaders of the group. Jack

Carter gave the land for the school,

which was named Springfield for the

spring, which served as the school's

water supply, near the building.

     In 1920, the Petal School,

which had been operating in the

Petal Community Church,

consolidated with Springfield

School. which then became

Springfield Consolidated School.

Mary E. Kelly was the first

principal. Twenty-two miles south of

Hattiesburg in the Maxie

Community, a school was organized

in 1903. The first teacher was Sarah

Williams. The school was named for

one of its founders, John White.

The other pioneers responsible for

this movement included Arehle

Bolden, Simon Ellis, George

Husband, and Jim McPhail. Ten

acres of land were purchased from

Simon Ellis as the building site.

     During this time other small

schools began operation in the

southern part of the county. and

they were all eventually

consolidated. When the five separate

schools were discontinued in 1956.

the principals serving were as

follows: J.W. Heath, Depriest;

Clarence E. Bates, Bay Springs;

Emanuel Clayton, Myers; S.E.

Wilson. Springfield: and Jerome F.

Carlyle, John White.

     The reorganization of Negro

schools in Forrest County under the

Minimum Foundation Program

began ill 1955, during the

administrations of Superintendents

D.O. Davis and Otto Phillips. The

present school site was acquired in

1956. In 1957, the five Negro

schools of Forrest County were

consolidated. and the construction

of the new Earl Travillion

Attendance Center was begun

during the administration of

Superintendent W.H. Lane. Board

of Education members were John E.

Rouse, Chester S. Moulder, Oliver

L. Dean, Matthew J. Johnson,

Buford A. Lee, G. Calvin Simmons,

Jack L. Moore, and James L.


     While the plant was, under

construction during the school term

of 1957-58, with A.B.S. Todd as

principal. students were housed in 3

of the old school buildings. In

August 1958, school operations

began in the new plant, with Principal Todd directing the program so as to provide maximum

opportunities for students to

become familiar with the available

resources and to develop occupational and vocational interests necessary to the cultural status.

     Earl Travillion has an

enrollment of 1183 and a staff,

including a part-time counselor, a

librarian, a supervising elementary

principal, and a secretary, with

facilities providing fOT grades one

through 12. - Rhoda Pickett

School Songs

Travillion Alma Mater

Dear Ole Travillion,

Dear Ole Travillion,

Dear Ole Travillion High

We’ll always love you truly, 

 love you,

We’ll love you till we die.

Days spent here will always

Remain in our hearts,

We’ll never forget you

Although we may part.

Dear Ole Travillion,

Dear Ole Travillion,

Dear Ole Travillion High.

Composed by Ms. Janet Dozier

Music by Jimmy James

Click to add text, images, and other content

DePriest Alma Mater

Orchids to our Alma Mater,

Noble friends so true

We will keep our banner waving,

As we are taught to do.

DePriest to thee we will be loyal,

Loyal day and night

We will ever fight for thee,

Dear Old green and white.


Birth of FORDETRA 

Several former students of Forrest County Training School, DePriest Consolidated High School, and Earl Travillion Attendance Center met at the home of our C.E.O., Mrs. Deloris Davis Goins in June 1990, to consider the idea of bringing together students of all classes over the years.

The agenda of the meeting consisted of debates, discussions, fears, doubts, hope, dreams, unforeseen challenges, and anticipation.

In July 1990, a follow-up meeting was held in the home of the late Mr. Andrew Wilson. During this meeting, a conclusion was made to go forth with plans to hold a grand reunion of former students. Officers were elected and a schedule of meetings was planned.

These officers and a small group of dedicated persons continued, by slowly moving toward their goals. Each meeting showed accomplishments being achieved. After a decision on the time of the reunion had been finalized, we wanted events that would be informative, entertaining and generate involvement by those who would be attending the various affairs. A newsletter was composed informing those persons whose addresses were available about the reunion plans. Every effort was made to obtain names and addresses of former students by seeking information from local parents, relatives, and friends. The local press, TV and radio stations greatly assisted in these efforts by making announcements. In spite of all efforts to reach as many of the former students

as possible, the committees still have concerns that there may be many who still do not know about our grand reunions.

Beginning in August 1990, FORD ETRA meetings were stepped up to two meetings, twice a month. Committee reports began to be more substantive than verbal. Hopes began to become realities and it appeared that there really was going to be a Grand Reunion.

The idea of having a grand reunion was first presented by Rev. Carl Chisolm. We met several times in the gym at Earl Travillion. When few showed very little interest, Rev. Chisolm had no choice but to give up the dream. This really disturbed Deloris Goins, and at that point she was determined to have a Grand Reunion. Mrs. Goins stated, "We are having a reunion if no one attends but my family and me." At this point, we are proud of her perseverance.

Thanks to the original group that was invited and subsequently met at the first meeting in June, 1990 in the Goins' home and presented the idea. These dedicated persons were: Mr. Andrew Wilson, Mr. Ollie Jackson, Mrs. Deloris Goins, Mr. Lonnie Davis, Mrs. Marjorie Chambers, Mrs. Della Ruth Jones, Mr. William J. Heath, and Mrs. Birdie Jenkins.

This Grand Reunion is significant in many respects: Fun, entertainment, renewing of acquaintances, recalling of great events; but nothing is more significant than the coming together of a great group of people. People who have left the schools of FORDETRA have succeeded in many fields of endeavor: Theology, medicine, law, engineering, teaching, business, science, trades, sports, entertainment, construction, military, and other areas. We feel that America is better as the result of the work done by former students of FORDETRA.

Such history could have been lost had this event been omitted. Please say a special, "Thank You" to Ms. Rhoda Pickett, the late Mrs. Priscilla Walker (sister of Mr. James Ratcliff), and Mr. Olan Charles Perry for their contributions to the history of Forrest County Schools.

Upcoming Events


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