- Greene County Tech School District
The GCT school district encompasses approximately 350 square miles, which includes the southern half of Greene County, the Beech Grove Community the Delaplaine Community, as well as portions of the City of Paragould and Craighead County. The area within the city limits of Paragould includes approximately 18 square miles.
The history of Greene County Technical School District goes back several years, in fact to 1926. At that time there were no rural high schools in Greene County. Mr. W.A. “Will” Branch saw the need for high schools in the rural areas of the county and began making plans to bring this about. He later became known as “The Father of School Consolidation” in Greene County.
Mr. Branch saw that by consolidating a number of these small districts and thereby having a larger number of students, the cost per pupil would be smaller. He was able to bring that about in 1926. Thus, the first rural high school in Greene County became a reality. It was known as Greene County Consolidated District Number One. Mr. W.A. Branch was the first Superintendent. The first high School was located at the present site of the old South Elementary School on highway 49. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1932.
After WWII, members of the community including Mr. W.A. Branch, and Mr. Elwyn Little, County School Supervisor for Greene County, and Mr. Lloyd Howell, Superintendent of Lakeside School joined forces to form a central high school for the county. They faced the problem of locating land to place the Central High School on. Dr. F.A. Poe owned a recreational site located immediately west of Center Hill where the present Greene County Tech High School Campus is located. He offered this property for sale to the school board. On this property were located a large two story log cabin, a large lake and a barn. The cabin was used to house the Home Economics Department and the Business Education Department. The barn was remodeled and used for a school bus repair shop. The present oldest building on the campus, was started in the spring of 1947.
The first day of school the Greene County Technical School District was Fall of 1947 with a total enrollment reported at 1680. The building was not completely ready. A school lunch program was not implemented; therefore students brought their lunches from home. The building did not contain indoor restrooms, so outdoor restrooms were built in the back of the two-story building. A well was bored out back of the building and students got their drinking water from it. There were not any telephones. There was a grocery store located about a quarter of a mile from the school and the owner was kind enough to allow the school to use the phone in cases of emergency. The school district did receive a phone before school was out in the spring. The curriculum included auto mechanics, tractor mechanics, and cosmetology, as GCT was the only school in the state to offer these programs at the time. The GCT District at this time encompassed the schools of Walcott with grades (10-12), Greene County (Grades 11-12), Lakeside (Grades 11-12) and Alexander (11-12). It was reported the district had 49 teachers. The wing schools for the district were comprised of schools from Light, Beech Grove, Alexander, Walcott, Greene County, Lakeside, and Shady Grove. Sixty Seven seniors graduated from the first class on May 14, 1948 and Miss Lena Simmerman was the first High School Principal.
Numerous changes and many progressive innovations have occurred during the last fifty years on the campus of Greene County Tech. During the 1950’s GCT had a live daily radio program which broadcast live each morning from campus. In 1951, the current Reynold’s Gym was named after Arvin and Marvell Reynolds who provide the gracious contribution to construct the facility. During the 1966-1967 school year, the first straight nine month school term took place. In years past, the school year was arranged in a split fashion to accommodate the farming season for families. The first football game was played on September 7, 1973 at Cross County. Kindergarten classes first began during the 1973-1974 school year. The Junior High School Building was constructed in 1986, and the Elementary building was constructed in 1992. The primary building was constructed and completed in 2004.
In 2004, the State Board of Education placed the Delaplaine School District with Greene County Tech. In November of 2006, the school board voted to close the campus during the 2007-2008 school year, and to bring the students to main campus for classes. A new administration facility was constructed and opened in August of 2007. September 18, 2007 was a momentous day as patrons passed a 4.9 bond referendum to help construct a new high school on the old South Property located off Highway 49. The local funding will be matched by a state facilities grant of approximately $14.8 million.
Ground breaking for new high school was in May 2009. Classes began January, 2012. The approximately 250,000 square foot facility serves around 750 students grades 10-12 with capabilities to serve 1000+ students.
Currently all GCT schools are accredited by AdvancEd Accreditation. The High School is located on The main campus of the GCT (Elementary to Junior High School) is located on 60 acres of rolling hills on Crowley’s Ridge. The GCT Primary is built on 39 acres off of South Rockingchair Road. The Greene County Tech School District is currently configured as: Primary (P-1), Elementary (2-3), Intermediate (4-5), Middle School (6-7), Junior High (8-9), High School (10-12). The approximately district wide including preschool is approximately 3500 students and the district runs around 43 bus routes around the county.
The Greene County Tech School District exists for the benefit of the students. The comprehensive curriculum encompasses state standards, enrichment and advanced learning opportunities, and remediation for students who are struggling academically. The dedicated and award-winning faculty, administration, and staff of the GCT School district strive to help all students achieve mastery of essential skills to their maximum potential.
When the Greene County Technical School District was organized; it was done in a manner in which the school met the specific needs of the community that it served. The goal of the GCT School District continues to be to meet the needs of the students who are entering into college or the workplace. The GCT School District is committed to Investing in the Future…One Student at a time. We plan on researching and implementing the best educational practices that will prepare our students to the best of their abilities for their chosen field or endeavor. The GCT School District is committed to excellence. The GCT District is committed to working with parents, staff, and community members we hope to continue on the path of excellence by providing the opportunities and facilities to meet the needs in providing students with the best education possible in an ever changing society.”