C.A. Gray Junior High School

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History of Charlie A. Gray

C.A. GrayHistory is a record of man’s accomplishments, the things he has done, where he has been, and why he has succeeded or failed. This is the history of Charlie A. Gray School from its beginning up to this date.

Charlie A. Gray School was established in September 1956. It acquired its name in honor of Miss Charlie A. Gray, one of Moultrie’s outstanding citizens. She was born and reared in Colquitt County. Miss Gray received a degree in education from Morris Brown College in Atlanta. She was an ardent second grade teacher in the Colquitt County School System, a devoted church worker, and a community leader until her death in 1947. This inspired the citizens of Moultrie and Colquitt County to name this school in the memory of Miss Gray.

The complex at Gray housed grades one through six the first years. A few years later, two annexes were added on the west end of the campus and included the seventh grade to the Gray family. During that year, Charlie A. Gray School adopted as its school colors--- red and white. The school mascot was the panther.

The person that shouldered the responsibilities of administrating Gray School through its first years of community service was Mrs. F.S. McHenry. Mrs. McHenry had 40 teachers on her staff, and the school was well-equipped. However, there was room for improvement. The P.T.A. recognized the Teacher of the Year for the first time. Televisions were installed in every classroom to view educational programs. Each teacher had access to overhead projectors, filmstrip projectors, 16 MM film projectors, and stands.

In the year, 1961, Charlie A. Gray had its own visiting teacher, Mrs. Alice Isabell. In 1968, teachers working harmoniously together were able to raise enough funds to install an intercom system. At a later date, the P.T.A. took the responsibility of paying the balance. Gray was once again blessed during the 1968-1969 school year—in that it received a fulltime Guidance Counselor:  Mrs. Patricia Merritt, the only elementary school counselor in the county. Gray also had a very good Physical Education program under the leadership of Mr. Samuel Stewart.

The beginning of the school term of 1970-1971, Charlie A. Gray inherited a new principal, Mr. James Willis. A native of Cairo, Georgia, Mr. Willis had 16 years of experience as an educator before coming to Gray. Under the able leadership of Mr. Willis, Gray took on a new outlook and many improvements and additions were made. Faculty members increased from 40 to 46. Changes in curriculum took place with the addition of Title I Reading and Title I Mathematics, Educable Mentally Retarded classes, Gifted Mathematics, individualized reading program, Multi-Handicapped classes, and an emotionally disturbed center.

From September 1956 to August 1971, the entire student body was black with the exception of one kindergarten student. The school was integrated in August 1971. In August 1972, grades one through five were eliminated, which left kindergarten, grades six and seven, and SMR.

In 1973, Charlie A. Gray received a facelift. The campus was landscaped and asphalt was put around the campus by the P.T.A.

Prior to 1975 and 1976 school terms, Gray had a limited number of student activities, such as 4-H Club, Spelling Bee, Student Government, Career Week, and Girl Scouts. In 1972, the P.T.A. added the Magazine Sale. Also, in the same year and under the directorship of Mr. Milton Tyus, Gray’s first band was organized.

As the years passed, evidence of growth could be seen at Gray. In 1976, the student government decided to select new school colors and mascot. A variety of activities were added to meet the needs and interests of the students. The student government election was held March 12, 1976. The students chose as their school colors, black and gold, and the Bulldog as the school mascot. A list of new activities were posted for students to select the one of their interest, such as art, checkers, woodwork, science, honor society, vogue, esquire, debating, outdoors, and social science clubs. In addition to having new school colors, a new school mascot, and new activities, Mr. Albert Taylor, sixth and seventh grade band director, wrote Charlie A. Gray a new school song.

The Physical Education department received a boost with its new program. The P.T.A. allotted approximately $1,100.00 for the purpose of building an obstacle course and buying new equipment. The new program, called the “Challenge Course,” will provide something for every student.

Using a very familiar quote, “No one knows what he can do until he tries” is what Miss Charlie A. Gray had in mind, and today we are really proud of our accomplishments.

(Note: The author and date of the essay above are unknown. This document was retrieved from archived files in the C.A. Gray Jr. High School Media Center.)