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W.O. Parmer Elementary turns 75

W.O. Parmer Elementary School will celebrate its 75th anniversary, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium. W.O. Parmer Principal Carole Teague invites the public to attend the celebration, which will include a program presented by Tom Braxtion on the history of education in Butler County since 1820.

Guest speakers include Mayor Dexter McClendon, City Councilman Jeddo Bell and Butler County School Superintendent Mike Reed.

A reception in the school library will follow the programs. The Greenville Middle School's Builders Club members will conduct tours of the buildings for attendees. An Alumni table will display W.O. Parmer memorabilia and recognize those who have attended W.O Parmer.

"We are excited about the celebration, and hope the community will join us," Teague said. "We especially would like for any alumni of W.O. Parmer to join us and take the tour to see how much the school has grown the past 75 years."

Teague is also excited about the repainting of the school's murals in Buildings 3 and 4.

"The Greenville High School Art Department has volunteered to freshen up the murals for our celebration," Teague said. "It will be a treat for those who haven't visited recently."

W.O Parmer opened its doors October 28, 1926, for students in grades 1-6. W.O. Parmer's first faculty consisted of Principal Mittie Wright and six teachers. Today the school boasts grades K-12, with a student population of 566.

Over the years, additional structures have expanded the original school significantly to house the growing number of students and staff.

Nina MacGuire first walked the halls of W.O. Parmer in 1931. She remembers her elementary school days fondly.

"It was a good school," MacGuire said. "Of course, it wasn't nearly as big as it is now. The first building of the original school didn't have the last two classrooms in it. And we didn't have a cafeteria back then. We had a small lunchroom where students could eat sandwiches, but most of the kids lived in town, so they went home for lunch."

For Nonnie Harden, who first attended W.O. Parmer in 1934, the May Day celebrations were the highlight of her school years.

"Ms. Francis Cater was our first grade teacher," Hardin said. "She started the May Day celebrations. For one of our May Day musical and dance programs, we were flowers – the girls in our class wore flower hats and crepe paper dresses. Another year, the girls wore calico dresses, the boys dressed as Confederate soldiers and we did the Virginia reel. Jeanne Kern was one of our program stars. Ms. Francis would select a May Day Queen.

The parents attended, and it was a big deal every spring."