Destruction of some City records and School Board minutes leaves exact establishment dates for the system unknown. City records indicate that the city system originated from private academy which was established in the early 1800s on the old Robert E. Lee campus. Records indicate, however, that the system as we know it probably became operational in 1910.
Ralph Askins School
Charlie Bagley School opened its doors in October of 1958 after the 1958-59 school year had begun. Students in first, second, and third grade were transferred from Robert E. Lee School to their new location in October. Miss Ruth Davidson would serve as principal from October of 1958 until her retirement in May of 1976.
Upon the retirement of Ruth Davidson in May of 1976 Tom Young became principal for both Robert E. Lee School and Charlie Bagley School. Robert E. Lee School saw its last day as a city school on December 20, 1978.
On January 2, 1979, Tom Young was principal when the new building opened. The building name was officially changed from Charlie Bagley School to Ralph Askins School on January 15, 1979. This change honored Ralph Askins, Sr. who served as principal and superintendent of Fayetteville City Schools until his retirement in 1972.
In school board action on June 24, 1981, Tom Young was named principal of Fayetteville Junior High School effective July 1, 1981. Barbara Vannatta was named principal of Ralph Askins School and served in that capacity through June of 2003.
Upon the retirement of Barbara Vannatta, Joel Hastings was named principal of Ralph Askins School effective July 1, 2003.
Fayetteville High School
December 6, 2010 - what an exciting day for our school system! The School Board voted unanimously that day to begin adding grades over the next three school years until Fayetteville High School was completely reestablished.
How was FHS "reestablished?" Well, Fayetteville had a city high school years ago! Research continues as we try to learn more about the City High School that existed a century ago, but here's what we've learned so far.
Fayetteville's first high school was located on the land bounded by Bellview, Lee, Forrest, and Main Streets. The wooden, two-story schoolhouse was located in the southwest corner of the campus and contained grades one through 12. By March 1910, work was well underway on a new brick building that would become Robert E. Lee High School.
By September 1911, Fayetteville High School at R.E. Lee was in full gear. Fuller Moore was captain of the football team, and FHS girls’ basketball was organized that year. In May 1912, the local newspaper of the day, The Fayetteville Observer, carried a list of "Honor Grads" and noted that graduation exercises that year included piano recitals, chorus performances, a spelling match, and a debate.
The graduation exercise of 1913 included the largest class in the school's history as well as exhibitions of baseball at the fairgrounds.
By 1914, enrollment had reached 450 students system- wide, an all-time high. Newspaper articles lauded FHS as a "model school"for cities across the state. A November 5, 1914 newspaper article praised the many sports facilities at FHS, including basketball courts, tennis courts, a football field, and an area for baseball.
Enrollment continued to grow as noted in newspaper articles covering the 1915 graduation exercises.
So what happened to the original Fayetteville High School?
In 1895, the Lincoln County School System began construction of a high school located within the city limits, and by 1909 Eighth District School was established. By 1920, this county school included grades 1 through 12, and in that timeframe Fayetteville began phasing out its high school one grade each year over a four-year period. We don't yet know the exact year, but in this general timeframe, the original Fayetteville High School closed.
In 1967, the Fayetteville School Board built the current FHS building and added a 9th grade. Fayetteville Junior High School thrived at this location for over four decades, and finally, with our senior class for the 2013-2014 school year, Fayetteville High School was fully reestablished! Today, our school system has an enrollment of over 1500 students and is bigger and better than ever!
As you can see, what we've done here on Tiger Hill is reestablish a High School that thrived in Fayetteville 100 years ago! Newspaper articles repeatedly called the original city high school a "model school" due to its strong focus on academics, competitive athletic programs, strong discipline, music, and arts. Nearly a century has passed, but these are the same timeless standards we strive to achieve today at Fayetteville High School.