While the old high school is long gone, 66-year-old Clifford Jones’ memories are as indelible as the ink on his diploma. For the class of 1960 graduate, there was the feeling of accomplishment at getting his diploma, but the friendships developed during those times in a tight-knitt school are important too. “We didn’t have a football team, but we competed in track and basketball. Our team was in the regional playoffs and we went to Hyattsville to play there. On the track we were good and we got to compete in Chestertown and other places.” Despite being out of school for almost a half-century, Cliff remembers the teachers who influenced his life and the lessons they instilled in him. “Mrs. Bessicks, my first grade teacher, I can never forget for she was a pillar in the community and her husband taught music. Mrs. Fitzgerald taught English. Our teachers were dedicated and set high standards. All of them lived right here in Elkton and we saw them in church on Sunday and wherever else we want. Mr. Caldwell, the principal, was fantastic but he was strict. If I got in trouble in school, he would spank me and then call my mommy”. Cliff went on to say that when he got home his mother, Margaret Coursey, would be waiting and he’d get another spanking. He also recalled that Mr. Caldwell helped him get his first job at Merrey’s Candy Store at the corner of High Street and North Street.
Fletcher White graduated in 1953 and he brought his yearbook to show us. He too echoes Cliff's observations as we recently walked around the property, while the two men recalled many good times. Fletcher's father built houses too and we had a chance to see some of his work and Fletcher recalled working on the school building.
Though it’s been over 40 years since students filled the classrooms and wandered the halls of the Board of Education’s Booth Street Center (the former high school), many pleasant memories are still alive after the passage of decades for that quick fleeting journey through the halls of George Washington Carver brought many valuable experiences, lessons, and knowledge to young scholars, as well as life-long recollections and friendships. We enjoyed spend a pleasant couple of hours with Cliff and Fletcher as they shared memories from decades ago.
Fletcher & Cliff stand outside the Board of Education maintenance building, recalling that this facility served as the high school until a newer building opened.