Clyde High School Alumni Association


When Bob McCracken was developing the website for the Clyde High School Alumni Association, he told me that he had set aside one page for me.  I asked him “Why? What am I to do with it? You know that I am computer illiterate.”  He replied, “It is for your pictures, for you to share your wisdom with us, and to relate happenings while you were teaching at Clyde High School.”  I reminded him that I am no ‘Solomon”, but every time we have seen each other for the past three years, he tells me my page is blank.  I’ve run out of excuses- so here goes-the feeble attempts of an 88 years old former teacher.

          Some of you might remember the Biblical quote from Proverbs that I kept written on my blackboard – “The fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.”  I believe this quote is still relevant for all of us today.

          At the start of every school year, I would tell each class that I would be as good to them as they would let me be and that I would not fail anyone if they did their very best.  After all, who can do any better than their very best?  There were no” special” education teachers at this time and I ended up teaching “special” students how to make pot holders. How could a student keep up with the class who wrote on a test that the Pigeon River was the main river in Germany, or another who wrote that the source of macaroni was a tree and proceeded to draw a macaroni tree.  Learning to weave pretty pot holders gave both students the experience of some degree of success, and they were so proud to have a gift for their mothers.

          In case you ever wondered, I’ll let you in on why I always seated my classes alphabetically.  During my first year of teaching , one class “padded” the roll by adding two fictitious names.  By assigning each student a seat, there was no need of a seat for Benny Beck and Maggie Longfellow.

          I am so happy and proud that the alumni association is functioning so well.  There has been so much praise for the three very wonderful meetings that have been held.  Just remember to mark June 18, 2011 on your calendars – the date for the next meeting. Hope to see you there.

          I have been overwhelmed and humbled by all the cards and letters (over 125), plus all the calls and visits, that I have received regarding “the book”.  Yes, Clyde High School 1918-1966 is still available at the Clyde Town Hall.  I am very blessed and thankful for being allowed the health, means and privilege of publishing the book, which would have been greatly delayed, had it not been for Sidney’s and Elaine’s very competent computer assistance.  I am also very grateful and thankful for all the love and respect each of you has shown me over the years.  I cherish your friendship.  You are the greatest!!


Sara Queen Brown – September 2010

Clyde School History by Sara Queen Brown wins Peace Award

The complete article written by Kathy Ross and published in the Enterprise-Mountaineer November 8 2010

“Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community,” was awarded the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award and the President’s Award at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Society of Historians at Mooresville on Oct. 23. The Peace History Award is given to encourage the writing of histories of N.C. counties, institutions or individuals. The President’s Award was presented near the conclusion of the day’s events to the most outstanding entry for 2010.

This year there were 729 entries and a total of 95 awards.

The county history book was one of five writings with Haywood County ties to win an award. Sarah Queen Brown of Clyde and Carroll C. Jones of Pace, Fla., also received Peace History Awards. Brown was honored for her “Clyde High School, 1918-1966.” Jones received the honor for “Rooted Deep in the Pigeon Valley – A Harvest of Western Carolina Memories,” a book based on the history of Canton and Bethel communities and drawn from his youth. Evelyn Coltman of Waynesville received a Paul Jehu Barrings, Jr. and Sr. Award of Excellence “for her efforts to collect, document, write and preserve the Bethel Community history and for her 6-volume set of books in her Pigeon Valley Heritage Collection,” according to the awards program guidebook. Bill Lowry of Lake Junaluska received the Ethel W. Twiford Religious History Book Award for “The Antechamber of Heaven: A History of Lake Junaluska Assembly.”

In presenting the President’s Award, which is chosen from among the most high-ranked entries, Society President Elizabeth Sherrill described “Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community” as “the most interesting, well-researched history…. I loved all the visuals in every aspect of the work. Judges described the book as “a credit to the history of Haywood County and its people. This is a textbook example of how we envision all bicentennial history books to be … complete, readable, articulate, clear and authoritative.” The judges praised the book’s “delightful and interesting information about the county,” its “amazing vintage photographs” and its endnotes and bibliographies, which make it, the judges wrote, “a researcher’s dream.”

The project was begun in 2006 by the Historical Society of Haywood County for the celebration of the county’s bicentennial. Curtis Wood, Emeritus Professor of History, Western Carolina University, was the book’s editor. An advisory committee chaired by Bruce A. Briggs oversaw the project and included Bette Hannah Sprecher, Joan Routh, Kenneth F. Wilson and Robert Busko. Six writers researched and wrote the 15 chapter of the work and helped select the hundreds of photographs included with the text. Writers were: Kathy Nanney Ross, Michael Beadle, Patrick Willis, Leon M. “Chip” Killian III, Christina Fulcher Osborne and Richard D. Starnes. The book was published in December 2009 and is currently available at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. Cost is $40.

The three-year project included a comprehensive collection of photographs and documents that were digitally scanned by the Haywood County Library. The images are housed there as a permanent collection. The Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University created a permanent exhibit titled “Haywood County” A Family of Communities” in support of the project, based on the writers’ research. The exhibit is currently traveling in the Haywood County school system.

Other local award recipients also received high marks from the Society of Historians for their work.

“Author Carroll Jones takes the reader on a trip through the Pigeon Valley via stories that capture the heat and educate us about the people and the places that make up that place,” the judges wrote regarding his book, “Rooted Deep in the Pigeon Valley.” “He helps to enhance our appreciation of mountain folk, family lore and history by providing us with a nice variety of subject matter rather than a concentration in one area.” Judges also praised Jones’ listing of illustrations and maps and his search index. For information on Jones’ book, contact him at . Cloth-bound is $34.95; paperback is $19.95. Shipping is $5.

Regarding “Clyde High School,” judges wrote that Sarah Queen Brown has put together “as complete a school history as any we have seen. It was a delight to judge this entry.” Brown received praise for the book’s photographs and their arrangements as well as her written history of the school and history of Clyde. This book can be ordered from Brown at P.O. Box 97, Clyde, NC 28721. Cost is $10 plus $5 shipping.

Lowry’s “Antechamber of Heaven” received the Twiford Religious History Book Award, given for “the indepth historical account of the founding, growth and development of religious movements, houses of worship or religious institutions within North Carolina.” The book was “the result of an author who has paid meticulous attention to every detail,” the judges wrote. “He has done an exemplary job of taking a colossal amount of data and condensing it into 188 pages; but the icing on the proverbial cake is the timeline he has provided that begins in 1899 and ends with 2005.”
The book is available from Lake Junaluska Assembly, P.O. Box 726, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745. tel. 452-2881. Cost is $27. Shipping is $5.50.

Coltman’s books on the Pigeon Valley can be purchased from the Bethel Rural Community Organization, P.O. Box 1333, Waynesville NC 28786. Cost is $5 for book 1, $10 each for books 2 and 3; $15 for book 4 and $20 each for books 5 and 6. Add $5 for shipping.


                Writing on behalf of the alumni of Clyde High School, we were very proud to read in the November 8th edition of The Mountaineer News that Sara Queen Brown’s “History of Clyde High School 1918-1966” had won one of North Carolina Society of Historians’ prestigious Willie Parker Peace History Book awards.

                As ’58 alumni of Clyde High School, who have recently returned home to Haywood County after a fifty-year hiatus, we want to reciprocate praise, appreciation, and admiration for one of our favorite teachers.  Over the years we’ve come to realize how fortunate we were to have been under Sara Q. Brown’s tutelage!  Our teacher, example-setter, challenger, supporter, leadership developer, friend, etc., Mrs. Brown (or just Sara to some of us) is so deserving of this award.  She has been persistent, courageous, and skillful in creatively transforming her collection of photographs, stories, and noteworthy facts into a unique reflection of student days at the high school of which our parents were also alumni.

                The judges’ comments were certainly affirming when they wrote: ‘This is as complete a school history as any we have seen.  It was a delight to judge this entry.”  The book is a delight to read thoroughly and to reflect upon thoughtfully, and all alumni are honored by Sara’s conscientious and loving efforts to perpetuate our school’s history in such a manner!  Congratulations to Sara for this outstanding achievement and award!

We are getting our extra copies, for our posterity, from the Clyde Town Hall while the first edition is still available.


Mike and Theresa Leatherwood


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