POMARIA — The Old Pomaria School, located at 138 Folk Street, was once the place children went to receive their educations. Now, no longer a school, the former place of learning is used to host festivals, reunions, baby showers and other events.
According to the “Pomaria, South Carolina American Revolution Bicentennial,“ the Pomaria Elementary and High School was built in 1913 when Elbert H. Aull was the county’s superintendent of education. To graduate from high school, students were to complete 11 grades. However, after 1947, twelfth grade was added, requiring students to complete a total of 12 grades in order to graduate.
It was around 1927 when the schools in the Pomaria area consolidated with the Pomaria School. This resulted in students in outlying areas being transported to Pomaria School.
A building, which housed five classrooms, a gymnasium and auditorium was added to the school in 1935, with a modern cafeteria being added during the 1958-59 school year.
Then in 1959, Pomaria, Prosperity and Little Mountain consolidated creating Mid-Carolina High School, for grades nine through 12, leaving Pomaria as an elementary school with grades one through eight.
The Town of Pomaria took over the property in Spring 2000 and has invested around $120,000 in the school and has spent about $30-40,000 in budgeted funds. The Town has also utilized funds received through the Capital Project Sales Tax to further improve the school.
Someone who has fond memories of the school is Pomaria’s mayor, Darryl Hentz.
“I remember when the lightning struck the auditorium and it caught on fire. That’s when they decided to take out the auditorium and put in classrooms. You remember the kids you went to school with and they are still friends to this day,” Hentz said.
Hentz attended the school from first to third grade and remembers that teaching then was very different compared to teaching today.
“The teachers were older ladies that taught you manners, respect and discipline. If you went out to recess and you got the knees of your pants dirty, you weren’t allowed to go outside for recess the next day,” Hentz said.
Hentz added that the playground equipment that was at the school didn’t meet today’s standards, so the equipment had to be removed.
“A lot of people ask us why we didn’t leave it there and we told them it didn’t meet standards and we didn’t want to take that chance,” he said.
Hentz also served as a bus driver from 1977-78 and at the time had to drop off kindergarten and second graders.
“We also had something at that time called Southeast Assembly Programs. One of them that I remember was a western show, the guy actually brought a horse into the auditorium and rode it through the auditorium. I think you could attend those for 25 cents. Even before I started, there was a janitor who would allow me and my brother to run around in the school while he was cleaning up at the end of the day,” Hentz said.
In the future, Hentz said that would like to see the community continue to utilize the school for events, whether it be church functions, birthday parties or community outreach events. About 20-25 events are held at the school each year.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.