History of Clayton High School
In 1853, H.L. Winton of New Jersey established the first school in Stallings, or Stallings Station as it was sometimes called, which later became the Town of Clayton. Mr. Winton soon moved to Wilson and hired Mr. McIntyre, a graduate of the University of North Carolina and a native of Cumberland County, to conduct the school. Mr. McIntyre proved to be a most unpopular teacher and stayed only one session, having been run away by "rough boys."
In 1855,William B. Jones, a young man of the Clayton area who had taken a course of study at Wake Forest and afterwards at Brown University, took charge of the school. He was assisted by his wife, who was considered to be a very fine and accomplished woman and teacher. He ran the school for three years quite successfully. During that time a nice brick dormitory was built for students who lived in the country too far away for a daily commute. This dormitory was on what is now Fayetteville Street near Second Street.
Mr. Jones' successor was another Wake Forest graduate, T.J. Woodson, who taught one year and moved to Mississippi. Then J.M. White assumed control of the school. By this time, the Civil War was coming and Mr. White volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces of the Confederacy. After the war, Mr. White returned and taught for four years before moving to Raleigh. Dr. W.B. Harrall and his son, Eugene, took over the school, and with Paschal Page and the Reverend W.e. Howell, conducted the school very successfully until 1884.At this time, Dr. Harrall moved to Holly Springs and established a school there. By this time, the local school had become known as Clayton Academy.
E.G. Beckwith and his sister, Rena, conducted the Clayton Academy, followed by J.R. "Mr Bob" Williams, who served the school during most of the 189Os.
Clayton High School was established in 1901, with the first graduating class holding commencement in 1904. The Class of 1904 consisted of Mr. J. Dwight Barbour, Mrs. lone Gulley Creech, and Miss Ruby Ellis, all of whom are now deceased.
In 1915, the old high school building, which is located on the comer of Fayetteville and Second Streets, was constructed and occupied. The year of 1926 brought the second building on the Second Street Campus which housed an elementary school, as well as the addition of an auditorium. Both of these buildings are now known as ''The Clayton Center" and house the town government as well as the community theatre. Until a lunchroom was constructed in 1953, students and teachers either carried their lunches or went home for lunch. This lunchroom was demolished at the turn of the twenty-first century during the renovation and construction of ''The Clayton Center," because the cafeteria had deteriorated beyond repair.
In December of 1955,the first of the buildings now occupied by Clayton High School was completed, and some students and faculty moved to the "new campus." From this time until 1963, the school was on two campuses. The new facilities included the gymnasium, the Industrial Arts Building, and Building "A," which contained five classrooms and an office. At that time, those attending class on this campus had to walk to the lunchroom on the old campus each day. In the fall of 1963, an addition was made to the existing building, and the high school moved to its new home. Added at this time were Building "B" and the lunchroom. This lunchroom was not completed when the move was made, so the students and faculty continued to walk to the elementary school for lunch each day for about a month.
In 1966 Building "C" was ready for occupancy, and housed the business and English departments. Also, included in the 1966 addition were the teaching auditorium, art and band rooms, and the classrooms at the back of the gymnasium.
The electronics shop was also completed in 1966. Mr. Jesse Grissom, a bricklaying teacher, and his students built and moved into the present masonry shop during the 1972-73 school year.
In 1977, Building "D" was completed and included the math and science departments, as well as the student lounge. In the fall of 1982,the student lounge was converted into the "Focus" room and the lunchroom was enlarged and air-conditioned.
The late 1990's brought forth the expansion of student and faculty parking, new playing fields, and three additions to the main building. In 1998, Clayton High School underwent major renovations and construction. A two story, u-shaped wing was added to the end of the building adjourning "C" and "D" halls. This new hall housed the English and Foreign Language departments, as well as the journalism rooms. A new media center was also constructed at this time, as well as a new lunchroom. The entire building was air-conditioned with the exception of the "old gym," which was air conditioned during the spring of 2004.
The current gymnasium opened in December of 2003, making it the first room on campus in over a decade that is capable of holding the entire student body. This state of the art gymnasium sits on former athletic fields and required that new fields be constructed. In addition to the gym, this building supports many classrooms.
The school also acquired the former Champion Textile building and property that is adjacent to the main campus on Robertson Street in the late 1990's.This site houses the softball field, and the building serves as a storage facility for Johnston County Schools. Many people looked toward this site for future Clayton High School expansion, and they didn't have to look long.
In August of 2006, Clayton High School celebrated the opening of its newest addition, a 30 classroom wing, which houses approximately 700 Freshmen in what we have named our Freshman Academy.