Sharpe Elementary History
The Sharpe area was first settled in 1820, as Oakland. Absolum Johnston and his son, Isaac, were said to be the first settlers. They erected the first horse mill in the county.
When a post office was established in the area it was necessary to change the name of the community because another post office in the state already was named Oakland, according to H. Lovett's History of Marshall County.
Reports indicate that a school existed in this area during the Civil War days. It became a two-room, two-teacher institution in 1915.
Education advanced in the area in 1917 when the first high school in Marshall County was built there. It was a two-year high school.
Loyd L. Rudolph was the principal of the school in 1917-1918. Other principals of the two-year facility were: Marjorie Ellis, 1918; and Ada Darnall, 1920-21.
In 1921, a second floor was added to the frame building of the school to allow for grades one through twelve. The addition was provided through local contributions of labor and money.
In 1937, the frame building was replaced with a brick structure.
In 1954 another chapter was written in the educational history of Sharpe. Grades nine through 12 were sent to the new North Marshall County High School.
Today's structure was inaugurated in 1966 by the board of education.
Years before parent-teacher organizations were active in the area, the patrons of Sharpe School had an active program underway.
Beginning in the early 1920's, the highlight of the social activities of the month in the community was the meeting at the school.
Officers were elected each year and entertaining programs were given. The programs consisted of poetry recitals, short dramas, music and impromptu speeches. Nearly all performances were by local talent.
Teachers attended regularly without difficulty for in those days teachers always lived near the school and became part of the community activity.
This organization gradually gave way to the nation-wide movement of parent-teachers organizations.
When the early county fairs were discontinued in the 1920's, Sharpe launched a plan for a community-school fair. This fair soon equaled the county fair in exhibits and crowds.
The two day fair began on Friday with competitions between nearby elementary schools.
Farm families would set up displays of their products of their farm and compete with neighboring farmers for the best display.
Many farms had herds of several milk cows, most which was jersey. Hereford or any other beef-type cattle were rarely seen in those days.
On Saturday morning of the fair, after the morning milking, the dairymen of the community would turn their whole herd of 10 to 12 cows out on the road. The farmers would drive them to the school grounds.
Roads were unimproved and vehicular traffic was no deterrent to the mooing cattle. Barns and lots of neighbors near the school were used to house the animals when temporary school ground pews were overloaded.
Basketball was played on the outdoor court and needless to say, the annual Friday afternoon game at the fair was seen by more people than any other game of the season.
The fair weekend ended on Saturday with the annual Fiddler's contest. "String musicians from all over the state attended and usually as many as six to eight bands competed.
The coming of automobiles and better roads played a big part in bringing an end to the community fair.
Basketball became a prominent activity at Sharpe in 1924-25 when the team won the county tournament.
Until 1932, basketball at Sharpe was financed mainly by the participants. The school furnished the ball but uniforms were bought by the players.
Because most of the players took their uniforms with them when they graduated, new uniforms were purchased almost every year. The players decided their style and color.
In the fall of 1931, mothers in the community with the Principal decided it was time for someone other than players to outfit the team.
On a particular day, each patron of Sharpe was asked to send a hen to the school to be sold with the proceeds being used for the purchase of basketball uniforms.
In those days basketball was played on a dirt court. When winter weather came, all games of necessity were played away from home where inside facilities were available.
Basketball success at Sharpe was on the upgrade and reached a climax in 1938, when as in celebration of the completion of the new gymnasium, Sharpe won the county, district, regional and state tournaments.
Girls basketball was played at Sharpe, also, but the games were dropped after 1930.
The basketball spirit, like the school spirit, lives on at Sharpe.