History of WKE

photo3The original two room White Knoll School opened in the Fall of 1920 on what is now White Knoll Road. The school served children who lived near the Old Augusta Highway, Old Orangeburg Road and Old Barnwell Road. The new school replace the old, one room Union School built in the early 1900’s  on Kitti Wake and Emanual Church Road.

The Trustees of Union School District Three received two acres of land, essentially as a gift from G. Calvin and Lizzie T.N. Shull for $1 on July 3, 1919. In September of that year, the trustees purchased a neighboring two acrea from William H. and Anna A. Roland for $25.

The trustees were John W. Gregory, Levi A. Lown and Willie Dooley. The notary handling the paperwork was Luther L. Brown.

Records and Resolutions of South Carolina show that D.L. Shealy was White Knoll’s first superintendent or principal. He had eight years teaching experience and made $450 a year salary. School lasted 120 days for the 75 students who attended school there. In Lexington County, at that time, the school year lasted from 90 to 180 days, depending on the school. The average attendance was 57 students. D.L. Shealy and another teacher, who made $330 a year, worked with a budget of four mills for current expenses.

Lillie E. Buff became superintendent or principal the next year. She had only one year teaching experience and earned $390 per year ($60 less than her predecessor. Enrollment had grown to 80 with an average of 59 attending daily. A second teacher earned $450 a year. Records also show that the school received $200 of state appropriations for rural graded schools.

Class of 1922
Class of 1922

During Miss Buff’s first year, White Knoll School also won three our of four prizes from the General Assembly for making improvements to the school. A $10 prize was awarded for collecting the most money in the county for the school. The school also received a $5 prize for holding 12 monthly meetings and sending reports to the county organizer or state organizer. A $10 prize was given for having the best health and sanitary conditions. The $25 had to be spent to further improve the school.

Some of the funds were used across the state for extending the school term, repairing the school building, and buying library books, individual drinking cups for the children, a teacher’s desk and window shades.

The White Knoll School was closed in 1952 when schools across the state were consolidated.

Lexington County School District One began planning for the new White Knoll Elementary in 1987. Dr. Sylvia Guthrie, then assistant superintendent for instruction, and a committee of teachers and school officials prepared the educational specifications for the school.

White Knoll Elementary School was the first elementary school in South Carolina built under the lease/purchase financing method.