Alva Memorial Gardens


Bloody Harlan

That School On Top of the Hill

By:  Sylvia F. Warfield

Submitted by: Bud & Selma Hodges


September, 1982


It was built to serve the community that school on top of the hill.

It was born of humble beginnings but we’re proud when we see her still.

At first there was no gymnasium but young athletes trained on the dirt.

They displayed much enthusiasm as they tried their skills to assert.

We yelled for our favorites from the sidelines – we were a happy crowd.

And from this small beginning was born the teams that have made us proud.

Nothing activated the adrenalin like our Eagles did back then.

And no school was more blessed with talent than Black Star School has been.

At first there was no high school but our leaders had a vision.

And in 1928 they made a great and momentous decision.

Four high school classes were added – Yes, its start was on a small scope.

But to those few eager students if meant a brighter future and life of hope.

Prof Wilson was our leader and to us he stood very tall.

He served as principal, and teacher, and coach, and friend to all.

The old wooden gym was built and it was the answer to our dreams.

It had a stage.  Our games improved.  It had everything or so it seems.

And then came 1932 and Friday the twentieth of May.

Six sat for commencement exercises – it was that first graduation day.

They had, “Not Finishing, Just Beginning” for the motto of their class.

Can you think of a better slogan when embarking on life’s task?

Yes, it was a very small beginning for that high school on the hill.

But it’s left its mark on history and we reap the harvest still.

For others followed in their footsteps and claimed

That High School certificate.

It spelled a new beginning and the result has been significant.

When Mr. Wilson left it’s O.G. Roaden then we see.

He had definite ideas as to what our school should be.

Stern and good at business – a “go–getter” if there ever was one.

He sought the best teachers and built a school second then to none.

We got that new gymnasium and some other needed things.

Rooms, new courses, extra teachers that work and money brings.

We had opportunities and courses that many schools don’t have now.

We give much credit to the employees and company who helped our school somehow.

That money so hard to earn, they gave, and gave some more.

And back that school so cooperatively that it would rate a very high score.

Then came Charles R. Steele, who knew curriculum like the back of his hand.

He ran a tight ship and steered a steady course for several years span.

And then came Mr. Miracle a likeable kind of guy.

And Bill Mills brought new knowledge and new ideas to try.

Last, not least, was Nick Brewer who tried to work some magic.

Enrollment was low; the mines closed down.  That our high

school was lost seemed tragic.

She’s prepared doctors, lawyers, merchants, and mechanics.

And has seen electricians, clerks and engineers enter our

World of modern dynamics.

Paved the way for secretaries, postal workers and those for

Technical jobs striving.

And made it easier for scientists, administrators, and even auto driving.

She trained teachers, nurses, musicians, and decorators to name only a few.

And taught the basics to CPA’s, bankers, ministers, and writers too.

She surely taught us to be better homemakers and how in mining to achieve.

Helped us go into factories and other work and our own sweet dreams to weave.

That High School left its impression on teachers and students alike.

It left its mark on this world and played a part in many a life.

Its efforts aren’t forgotten.  We remember the good old days.

We cherish the lessons we learned.  Our minds to a former time often strays.

That school on the hill still stands there.  The voices yell and sing.

Her halls still sound of laughter.  Her bell hasn’t ceased to ring.

The students now are younger.  They to Cawood High will go.

We were a chosen people.  That’s a fact we’re sure to know.

Where among high school alumni would you find a group so faithful?

As to gather year after year to reminisce and be thankful.

Yes, tonight we remember that first commencement and silent thanks we give.

We remember friends and loved ones who no longer with us live.

We share our memories tonight of that school on top of the hill.

And if there are schools in heaven, Black Star will surely fill the bill.