2010 Russell County Vo-Tech 1964-1971 Reunion

Pictures taken during our 2010 Reunion, and also, pictures taken from the Russell County Vo-Tech Yearbooks.

2010 Russell County Vo-Tech 1964-1971 Reunion

To Our Classmates

To those who are no longer with us... ...We remember you

To those who gave their lives for our country... ...We honor you

To those veterans who served our country... ...We salute you

To those who instructed and led us... ...We thank you

To all who celebrate our experiences... ...We embrace you

And above all, to GOD who made it all possible... ...We praise YOU

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

History of Russell County Vocational School

The following article was presented to the Russell County Vo-Tech Reunion Committee by Marian Bundy, wife of the late Stephen Bundy who was the Electricity instructor for many years. She states that Mr. Bundy wrote it sometime after his retirement in 1986.

History of Russell County Vocational School

Russell County Vocational School was established in the summer of 1964. Preparations were made for this school to begin operating when the students returned in the fall. The location chosen for this school was at Cleveland, Virginia previously occupied for almost a half century by Cleveland High School. That first year there were five trade programs taught, with an enrollment of approximately one hundred students. The trades offered were Auto Mechanics, Cosmetology, Building Trades, Electricity and Masonry. The student body was composed of mostly eleventh and twelfth grade students from all four of the high schools in the county. These vocational programs were to be offered in conjunction with the high schools in an attempt to broaden the curriculum for students. The primary goal of these programs was to produce competent, well-trained people who would have the basic knowledge, skills and techniques of a vocation.

In the beginning, classrooms in the old high school building were converted into shops for Cosmetology and Electricity. The cafeteria was partitioned off by the masonry class and a part of it became the masonry shop. The gymnasium was remodeled to provide a classroom, tool room, and shop for the Auto Mechanics program. The Building Trades class set up its shop in an old elementary school building adjacent to the old high school.

When the day finally arrived for school to open, few of the programs had received any textbooks, tools, equipment and supplies. By mid-term of that first year, things were beginning to shape up and take on the appearance of a vocational school.

The required eleventh and twelfth grade History and English classes were taught at this school, and if a student needed other subjects, it was arranged that he might attend Cleveland High School for one-half of the school day.

During this first year a Manpower Welding Program was put in operation in a building that had previously been the agriculture shop. At the beginning of the second school year, the Manpower class was taught in the evening. A high school welding program occupied the shop and used the equipment during the regular school day. A drafting program was also started the second year in a large room which once was a school library. About mid-term, an instructor was hired to teach a group of special education students from Castlewood High School. This was perhaps the beginning of trade preparatory courses in Russell County.

At the beginning of the third year the enrollment in the Cosmetology program had grown to the point where a second instructor was needed. New equipment was purchased and another classroom was remodeled for a second Cosmetology shop. The need had arose to expand the vocational programs for girls. This same year, 1967, the old high school Home Economics cottage was repaired, painted and rewired by trade students to provide space for a Nurse’s Aid program. This 1967 faculty consisted of the Principal, a full-time guidance counselor, and nine instructors.

Enrollment continued to grow and shops became more and more inadequate to meet the needs of the students. By this time it had become quite evident that something must be done to provide more shop space and larger physical facilities for this school. Plans were then made to build a new vocational school. This became a long, drawn-out process in that plans had to be drawn and approved, monies appropriated, a suitable site selected, and land purchased. Construction of a new vocational school was started in 1969 at this present site in Lebanon. This school was completed in the spring of 1971.

The Russell County Vocational School proudly opened the doors of a new building to the students of Russell County in the fall of 1971. Four new trades were added to the existing programs that were moved from Cleveland. These new trades were Machine Shop, Electronics, Occupational Foods, and Occupational Clothing. This made a total of twelve trades with thirteen instructors. Students were required to take academic subjects at their own high school. Buses were provided from all the high schools, allowing the students to spend one-half day at this school.

In the summer of 1976, a second building was completed at this school. The pre-vocational school was moved from Cleveland to this new building during the summer. These facilities continued to operate a Trade Preparatory Cluster program for ninth and tenth grade students. There are six trades in the program, which are Auto Mechanics, Electricity, Welding, Carpentry, Masonry, and Small Appliance Repair. A pre-vocational Medical Assistant program for girls was begun at this time. The vocational programs were also expanded and an Auto Body shop was set up in the new building.

At the beginning of 1977 school year a Mine Maintenance program was put in operation for eleventh and twelfth grade students. At the present time, this school offers fourteen vocational courses and seven pre-vocational courses. The present staff consists of the Principal, Assistant Principal, and twenty-two instructors. The enrollment at the beginning of this school year was approximately 590 students. 

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