A timeline of surviving Alapaha Elementary School teachers

Former Alapaha Elementary School Principal Dona Fields and boys / girls basketball coach Ronnie Floyd reunite in 2019.
Former Alapaha Elementary School Principal Dona Fields and boys / girls basketball coach Ronnie Floyd reunite in 2019.
Alapaha Elementary School Principal Dona Fields [1977–1993] and boys / girls basketball coach Ronnie Floyd [1980–1994] reunite on December 9, 2019, inside the renovated Alapaha Gym. Both served as parade grand marshals for the Alapaha Station Celebration. According to the Tifton Gazette, Fields averaged 29 points per basketball game for a career and was offered no college scholarship offers. Berrien High School’s all-time leading scorer, Fields scored her 1,000th point as a sophomore and during her last three seasons was the Rebelettes’ leading scorer in every game. Photography by Jeremy Roberts

Go Tigers! On Friday, Nov. 8, a once in a lifetime reunion saluted all Alapaha Elementary School faculty, staff, and students in Alapaha, Georgia. The 25th anniversary of the school’s consolidation to Nashville and the 80th anniversary of the gym opening were observed during the Alapaha Station Celebration’s kick-off event inside the historic building. Chosen as the annual South Georgia festival’s theme, royal blue and gold T-shirts dotted the approximately 150-strong crowd. The next morning seven teachers hopped aboard a John Deere green trailer and were featured prominently in the Main Street parade. Principal Dona Fields and Coach Ronnie Floyd were the co-grand marshals.

Researched over a three-month period of texts, snail mail, phone, house visits, and feedback from the Berrien County Board of Education at the 11th hour is a timeline of surviving AES faculty prompted by the reunion. Never previously compiled, expect revisions as further details emerge. These teachers and their predecessors going as far back as the 1880s have forged the backbone of the little town with a big heart.

List of Surviving Alapaha Elementary School Faculty

  1. Dona Fields: 1977–1993 [Principal]
  2. Billy Mortonson: 1993–1994 [Principal]
  3. Louise Jacobs: 1947 [Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Arithmetic — 3rd grade]
  4. Norma Gaskins: 1968–1994 [2nd, 6th, and mostly 3rd grade]
  5. Linda Hughes Griffin: 1970–1972; 1973–1974 [3rd and 6th grades]
  6. Homer Lang: 1973–1974 and likely longer [teacher]
  7. Linda Trout: 1973–1974 and likely longer [teacher]
  8. Joyce Stovall Tully: 1973–1985 [2nd grade during first year then kindergarten]
  9. Laura Herlihy: 1974–1990 [Math — 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  10. Joan Hand Drawdy: 1976–1994 [1st, 2nd, and 5th grades]
  11. Diane Baldree Williams: 1977–1978 [Interrelated Special Education]
  12. Larry Wayne Maffit: circa 1978–1979 [6th grade and Physical Education]
  13. Nelda Cribb Flanders: 1978–1981 [5th grade]
  14. Sylvia Hoffman: 1978–1994 [Special Education; Language Arts and Gifted — 4th, 5th, and some middle school]
  15. Florence Miles Moffett: 1978–1994 [Librarian; Language Arts — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  16. Karen Young: Unknown–1980 [2nd grade]
  17. Janet Barron: circa 1979–1981 [6th grade]
  18. Dorothy Matthews Grant: 1979–1986 [Interrelated Special Education]
  19. Ronnie Floyd: 1980–1994 [Physical Education]
  20. Sharon Tucker: 1981–1988 [1st, 3rd, and 4th grades]
  21. Cindy Proctor: 1982–1993 [5th, 4th, 3rd, and Kindergarten]
  22. Marcia Harsey Hughes: 1983–1987 [Math, Science, Social Studies, Girls’ Physical Education, Basic Computer Skills — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  23. Lucy Akins Hand: 1984–1985 [Reading — Chapter One]
  24. Rita Dieas: 1987–1991 [5th grade — all subjects; 6th, 7th, and 8th — Science and Math]
  25. Barbara Miles Pettiford: 1988–1989 [Language Arts — 5th grade]
  26. Sharon Whitley: 1988–1994 [Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  27. Cissy Eldridge: 1987–1994 [Student teacher for Sharon Tucker, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades]
  28. Donna Herrin: circa 1988–1994 [Interrelated Special Education]
  29. Linda Miles Houseal: 1989–1990 [Social Studies — 7th grade]
  30. Rhonda King: 1990–1993 [Math, Computers, and Health — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  31. Heather Crumley Purvis: 1992–1993 [5th grade]
  32. Chantell Stonecypher: 1992–1993 [Social Studies and Health — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  33. Belinda West: 1993–1994 [Math — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  34. Carol Brown [Teacher]
  35. Sherry McGill: [1st grade for one year]
  36. Mary Thomas [Teacher]
  37. Mildred Cribb: 1977–1985 [Paraprofessional — Substitute and Migrant Program]
  38. Mary Lou Cribb: 1980–1986 [Paraprofessional — Special Education]
  39. Lena Fuller: circa 1983–1984 [Paraprofessional — Migrant Education]
  40. Dianne Fuller-Scott: circa 1987–1989 [Paraprofessional]
  41. Arlene Brogdon Studstill: 1988–1994 [Paraprofessional — Kindergarten]
  42. Betty Metts: 1989–1991 [Paraprofessional — 1st grade]
  43. Winnie Moore: circa 1985–1986 [Paraprofessional — Kindergarten]
  44. Sandy Purvis — Paraprofessional
  45. Cindy Taylor — Paraprofessional with Ruth Roberts
  46. Diana McMillan — Paraprofessional and 3rd Grade Student Teacher with Norma Gaskins]
  47. Bessie Dent: 1983–1985 and maybe beyond [Librarian]
  48. Calva Gill McDaniel: circa 1985–1989 [Librarian]
  49. Janet Cannon: 1989–1994 [Librarian]
  50. Frances Carter [Custodial Staff]
  51. Rita Greene [Custodial Staff]
  52. Wanda Jean Jackson [Custodial Staff]
  53. Lenita Alexander [Cafeteria Manager]
  54. Vickie Brogdon [Cafeteria Staff]
  55. Geraldine Purvis [Cafeteria Staff]
  56. Brenda Smith [Cafeteria Staff]
  • Norma Gaskins and Joan Drawdy are sisters as are Florence Moffett, Barbara Pettiford, and Linda Houseal.

Incomplete List of Deceased Faculty and Staff

  1. William Christopher “W.C.” Sams [Principal; born 1893–1965]
  2. Kenny Giddens: 1970s [Principal]
  3. Hazel Moore: 1950–circa 1975 [1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades; was not employed in Alapaha for that entire span; taught in Nashville, too]
  4. Dolores Lyon: circa 1953–1983 [1st grade]
  5. Myrtle Harper: 1958–1988 [Language and Social Studies — 6th, 7th, and 8th grades]
  6. Ruth Bobo: before 1978–1987 and possibly beyond [2nd grade]
  7. Ira Mae Ivery: before 1978–1985 and possibly beyond [Health, Science, and Social Studies — 7th grade]
  8. Camilla Paulk: before 1975 — ? [1st grade]
  9. Ralph Richerson: before 1978 — ? [Physical Education, 7th grade]
  10. Delores Vickers: before 1978–1987 and possibly longer [4th grade]
  11. Mercedes Youmans: 1981–1982, possibly longer [Reading, Librarian]
  12. Irma Abbott [Teacher]
  13. Marian Atkinson [Teacher]
  14. Estella Brooks [Teacher]
  15. Mozelle Chambless [Teacher]
  16. Alma Lee Fussell [Teacher]
  17. JoAnn Gordy [Teacher]
  18. Edna Kelley: [5th grade]
  19. Edna King [Teacher]
  20. Alma Lewis [Teacher]
  21. Annie Walker Miller [Teacher]
  22. Jewell Parrish [Teacher]
  23. Linda Philpot [Teacher]
  24. Mary Frances Rowe [Teacher]
  25. Edna Sams [Teacher; wife of Principal Sams]
  26. Sally Shearer [Teacher]
  27. Jeanette Harper Sutton [Teacher]
  28. Grace Taylor [Teacher]
  29. Madge Tucker [Teacher]
  30. Nancy Webster: circa 1979–1980 [Physical Education]
  31. Willie G. Williams [Teacher]
  32. Oveda Lee: circa 1973–1981 [Paraprofessional — Kindergarten]
  33. Willene McMillan: 1973–1974 and possibly longer [Paraprofessional]
  34. Vivian Stone: circa 1973–1987 [Paraprofessional — Kindergarten]
  35. Barbara Purvis Benson [Paraprofessional]
  36. Dot Griner [Paraprofessional]
  37. George Ann Simmons [Paraprofessional]
  38. Ruth Aycock: circa 1978–1994 [Secretary]
  39. Louise Brooklyn [Custodial Staff]
  40. Rosalie Brogdon [Cafeteria Staff]
  41. Daisy Holland [Cafeteria Staff]
  42. Leola McMillan [Cafeteria Staff]
  43. Emma Tucker [Cafeteria Staff]
  44. William Daniel “Buck” Griffin [Bus Driver]
  45. Mary Wood [Bus Driver]
  • If not for former AES Principal Dona Fields’ keen name recall, this timeline would be severely lacking. Joan Drawdy and Norma Gaskins were also instrumental in providing the initial list of surviving faculty as the school reunion was being planned. Thank you so much for throwing the ball my way — shocked that I caught it!

© Jeremy Roberts, 2019. All rights reserved. To touch base, email jeremylr@windstream.net and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.

Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store