Days Gone By - stories from the past

An amazing story and film about the small town of Slapout the hometown of a finalist’s from 2014 American Idol, Jessica Meuse

Holtville High School, Alabama

A school in the National & International spotlight (Continued below)


Slap outHoltville is 27 miles northwest of Montgomery, Alabama and is also called SlapOut by locals. There are many legends where the name Slap-Out came from; one being in reference to a once-popular song and a huge billboard announced that Slap-Out is “where most of the stars fell.” Locals also relate that there was once a “sorry excuse for a store in the area,” and the owner would answer whenever someone asked for something he did not have (which was often), “I’m slap out.” Another, reason was that it was so far away that it was ‘Slap-out in the middle of nowhere.”

No Paved roads during the Great Depression

Seemingly out of place in the rural community stands a white stucco Spanish-styled school. During the Depression years, the school was the center of one of the most economically destitute counties in the state of Alabama.1 At the beginning of the Depression, there were no paved roads in the Holtville community, no telephones, no water system and no indoor toilets. There were only small farms on poor red clay.

“In that setting and in the World War II years, the Holtville school of approximately 500 students and faculty became one of the nation’s most innovative and well-known progressive schools. Initially curricular and pedagogical changes at the Holtville school began hesitantly and without benefit of any different philosophy of education. Doing new things and new ways of doing old things were begun in response to specific and immediate needs, both in the school and in the community.”2

Reader’s Digest3 printed, “the surplus energy of young people has been harnessed into a powerful engine vital to the whole community.” The Rotarian stated “there’s a new spirit in Holtville ….the boys and girls…know it’s a prosperous, upstanding community because they’ve made it that way themselves.” Life4magazine published a four page spread on Holtville High School, labeling the school as a place that “has completely taken a lead in all community life by making the community a better, richer place in which to live.” The federal government was so impressed with the program that the State Department’s Office of Education filmed, “The Story of Holtville,” translated it into twelve languages and marked it for distribution in twenty-two countries of Europe and South America as part of the United States Cultural and Information Program.5

It all started in the mid-1920s when a new school was needed at Holtville and the county superintendent of education along with the local board of education requested the counsel of the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Arthur F. Harmon. An agreement was reached that indeed a new structure should be built. “Dr. Harmon then took his walking cane and in the sand traced out a design of a school he had seen and admired on a trip he had taken to California. Two architects were present and transferred the design to paper.”6 The building was completed in 1929.

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In the midst of run-down houses stood a pure white stucco school

Around the community of Holtville at the time were unpainted frame houses spotted with black where weather-beaten boards had rotted. Dirt yards were dusty and muddy when it rained.

In the midst of these run-down houses stood a pure white stucco school of Spanish design with a large central auditorium, arched windows and large front columns that extended with the breezeway leading to wings on either side; one wing for elementary students and the other wing for the high school. Both wings had small auditorium, similar to the main auditorium. The front of the building was decorated with brown and green tile. Such a beautiful building encouraged support of the community-school concept.holtville high school

A year before completion, two men, James Chrietzberg, the principal and John Formby as vocation agricultural teacher played a pivotal role in developing the school as a progressive school.

The Holtville experiment focused on key factors of Life Adjustment Education such as community involvement in school affairs, a supervised program of work experience for most high school students and the importance of “functional experiences in the areas of practical arts, home and family life, health and physical fitness”7

John Formby was a recent graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). He conducted a community survey for needs and the need for a threshing machine stood out so the school applied and received a loan from the Farm Security Administration. A thresher was purchased for the vocational agriculture students who used the machine both as a learning machine and as a service to the farmers. A small fee was charged to the farmers to repay the loan and students learned, farmers profited and the schools made money to buy other equipment. The school not only became a center of activity for the community, it also became a major industry for the community.

Other Ways of learning for students

Local farmers were also loosing 25 per cent of the meat they slaughtered because of inadequate processing. The school built the first refrigeration plant, quick freeze room, and locker storage in the area.

Other ways of learning for students as well as working with the community included :

  1. In one month, the boys would spray 5000 orchard trees with a school-owned power sprayer
  2. Contour plowed 100 acres of farm land with 3 school-owned tractors
  3. Hatch and sell over 3000 chicks from the school-owned hatchery
  4. The girls ran a fully functioning cannery plant that had been scavenged from a defunct federal relief project and processed over 10,000 cans of meat, fruits and vegetables in a summer.
  5. The school trained students and ran a school barber shop, beauty parlor, farm repair shop, print shop and electrical wire was done on contract
  6. Science students developed, packaged, and marketed hand cream, tooth powder, corn and varnish remover.
  7. A student-constructed bowling alley was run as well as an movie theater, and a student-run bank.

Funding was always needed for equipment and Holtville pressed beyond typical school and federal agencies to fund what they needed. The school initiated several projects jointly with the National Youth Administration. Aid was sought by the school from federal agricultural programs and loans obtained from the Federal Security Administration at 3 percent interest. US Senator Lister Hill had successfully introduced a bill in Congress that allowed Army surplus material to be donated to schools. Mr. Formby tried to get some vocational equipment but was repeatedly turned away. Finally, Senator Lister Hill intervened and he received four large tractor-trailer loads of equipment.

Some of which included:

  1. a new crank shaft grinding machine
  2. 12 gas-driven electric welders,
  3. 14 electric-driven welders
  4. an angledozer
  5. bulldozer
  6. ditching machine
  7. 2 draglines,
  8. road patrol
  9. a large tractor-trailer

“The spectacular result of such enterprising ways was a school that was able to make available to a poverty-stricken community the services of its youth, using equipment that was valued in the 1940s at one-half million dollars.” In the 1930s, the Holtville school still had classroom tests, subject-centered teaching and a highly structured school schedule, but in 1938, the faculty initiated a broad-based curriculum reform. People in Holtville discovered that education could affect directly physical conditions and life-style of the community itself. By 1943, there were 119 different groups and activities, ranging from the traditional algebra and chemistry to the more non-traditional gardening, sewing and salesmanship groups.

School Day was organized to allow flexible scheduling

The school day was organized around four, ninety-minute blocks which lasted long enough to allow flexible scheduling of individual programs. Each day the student planned specific activities for those blocks to meet both intermediate as well as long-term goals. Home room teachers examined each student’s plans to ensure he had a balanced day, some indoor work, some outdoor work; study time, group time, individual work; and time for service an personal goals.

Students completed a written self-evaluation approximately every six weeks. “This report included a statement of aims in terms of personality growth, social learning and academics along with an itemized account of accomplishments. The report was included in a folder containing samples of the student’s work, and a detailed written evaluation of the student by the teachers. The folder was shared with the parents who were themselves encouraged to enter comments. Further provisions were made for program and faculty evaluations by the students…. Discussing that era, Blake Clark notes that “a comparative record of Alabama high school graduates in various colleges shows that Holtville High boys and girls were first one year, and always rank in the top quarter.” Further, Mr. Chrietzberg reported that standard achievement and ability test scores were unaffected by the switch to progressive techniques.8

Fire destroyed vocational equipment and buildings

Sadly, a devastating fire in 1945 destroyed much of the vocational equipment and buildings and another fire and the school had no insurance. In 1949, another fire caused $250,000 worth of damage. In addition, key personnel that supported progressive programs left the State Department of Education in the 1950’s and a new State Course of Study was written reflecting an extremely conservative philosophy education. “By the time Mr. Chrietzberg retired in 1959, the school he had led to national acclaim and notoriety for its radical innovations had settled into a rather conventional mode with a fairly conservative curriculum.

The Holtville school still stands and part of the Elmore County School System. It is a functioning high school today and the building has been added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

The mission statement below of the school still denotes its continued partnership with the local community during its time in the national and international spotlight.

The mission of Holtville High School, in partnership with parents and the community, is to provide an education that encourages each student to increase abilities, enhance self-esteem, and develop responsibility and mutual respect in a safe, structured environment which promotes academic and social development.

In 2013 the school was recognized as one of only six schools in Alabama as a National Blue Ribbon School. The National Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities

1The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

2The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

3Stuart Chase, “Bring Out Youngsters Into the Community,” The Reader’s Digest, XL (January 1942), (

4“Democracy in U. S. Schools: Holtville, Ala.,” Life, X (January 13, 1941), 68

5The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

6The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

7The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

8The Holtville School, A Progressive Experiment by William B. Lauderdale, The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 40, Nos. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer 1978.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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64 comments

  1. Some things have changed and some have not…but what a progressive project for the time

  2. Thank you for the post. It brings back good memories of living in Slapout. My boys went to school there and I was the morning newspaper deliverer for John Formby for 6 years.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought the story was pretty remarkable.

      1. Would you mind if I reprinted this article?

        1. Yes, you can reprint it as long as you credit Alabama Pioneers. Thanks for asking, Donna

  3. My high school! Class of ’71. Great to see this!

  4. I went to Holtville School for quite a few years. I enjoyed all the lifelong friends I made while I was a student there. Still today me and some of my fellow classmates talk about the old days of the 70’s and 80’s. I left in 1980-1981 year and finished my last two years somewhere else, but I still think of the friends and classmates I left behind.

    I spent a lot of my time with my grandmother, Evelyn Tankersley who lived on the lake on Tankersley Road until she was up in her mid-eighties herself and was unable to take care of her home. She moved into a much smaller triple wide trailer until she passed away in 2002 from cancer, in which fluid built up in her lungs. I’ve been back to visit the old road I loved to walk with my grandmother, where memories flooded my thoughts like fog on a very hot day.Much of my best childhood memories were made right there at “Slap-Out”.

    1. I originally came upon this article while searching for a copy of the Life magazine that featured Holtville High School. My father, Grady Lee Luster, was one of the students pictured on the cover and in the article. He learned electrical wiring and plumbing at that school. As many of these other posts indicated, my father was a very hard worker. He ran his own appliance repair business earning a fair wage. We were not rich by any means, but, we had a nice home and always food on the table. And, his hard work ethic allowed my parents to send my three siblings and myself to private schools. Sadly, he has been gone for 16 years now. Millissa, your name caught my eye. Are we related?

  5. I went there for all 12 years and had 3 incredibly horrible teachers. Some others were marginal but these 3 were especially inept. One science teacher in 8th grade (he was a coach), one history teacher in 10th grade (he was also a coach), and one English teacher in 11th or 12th grade or maybe both. The bad English teacher was especially damaging because I was ill-prepared for college English.

  6. It seems to me that this new “Progressive” community ended up with approximately 500 slave laborers ranging in age from 6-18 years old. All in the guise of a new kind of “Education”, I didn’t see where it
    listed how much money the children were being paid for their long hours of labor?

    1. Not any different than doing a vocational class. These kids learned how to survive during a horrible time. Many of these ‘slave laborers’ probably stuck around and helped grow other Alabama towns. At least these kids had skills once they were out in the real world. It was different times back then. They learned how to survive and thrive.

    2. Scott, trolling isn’t cute. I’m a 20-something who married into a family from the area, and one thing I know is that this legacy built families that have a work ethic that has deep roots. Watching my peers skate by and have everything handed to them, I’ve come to value this type of education… where kids understand that work isn’t PUNISHMENT or just a PAYCHECK. This model emphasizing hard work helped build social skills, problem-solving skills, writing skills (written evaluations are prevalent in the workforce, and these kids were adept), and puts value on helping others and the community rather than personal gain. Your way of thinking is what got us to this day and age where kids expect everything to be handed to them, and that there is always excessive monetary return for minimal labor. I’m thankful for the the families that are still emphasizing the value of hard work to their kids… they’re a dying breed.

    3. I attended Holtville from 1946 to 1953. At the time the emphasis was on everyone should prepare for college and less on vocational trading. We still had the shops, quick freeze plant, home-making department, agricultural classes and typing/shorthand classes.
      The standout thing about the teachers were that were interested in the students. I didn’t take the college prep courses. But skipped the eighth grade, and made out pretty well. I received a four year scholarship and made my way through Auburn.
      The “Story of Holtville” movie that was attached to this article were very accurate. I remember one Group from South America visiting the School in the late 40’s.
      One of the school programs that made improvements in the living conditions of the families were the installations of wells with electric pumps, running water in the homes, indoor pluming, and proper locations of septic tanks and fill lines. In the late 50’s one of the TVA programs that improved the life in Tennessee was this same program.
      My daughter (in her 50’s) commented to my son that if I didn’t leave them anything else, I left them a strong work ethic. That work ethic came from family, school, and community standards.
      It’s not what you have, but what you do with what you have. That’s the story of Holtville.
      My wife of 55 years also attended Holtville.

  7. I attended Holtville High School in 10th, 11th and 12th grades and graduated in 1959. One of my grand-daughters graduated there in 2008. I have two great-grandchildren who presently attend school at Holtville. Personally, I am looking forward to our 55th class reunion later this year. Most of my classmates were raised in the Slapout area and attended all 12 grades there. A large number of Holtville graduates still live in the Slapout area and their children and grandchildren attend school at Holtville. We had outstanding teachers; some coaches as well. Mrs. Pauline Sanders was top of the line of English teachers, strict and knew her subject well. No one misbehaved in her class and most everyone loved her and made good grades in her classes.

    As for you, Scott, given your misconception of Hotville students back in the beginning being “slave labor”, I can only imagine how your children, if you have any, turned out or will turn out once they are grown up. Probably no ambition, no respect for parents or authority, still living at home and lazy, non-productive citizens. Graduates of Holtville High School have respect for their parents and others. They also appreciate their teachers and the education received there. The Holtville/Slapout community is one big family. Everyone looks out for each other and when help is needed they come together to get the job done. No one expects money for helping a neighbor. They believe It is just the right thing to do. I am PROUD TO BE A GRADATE OF HOLTVILLE HIGH SCHOOL.

  8. Class of 2007. Me and the family will never leave Slapout, Go Bulldogs

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring story of how a school and community worked together for the benefit of children and the whole community. Today’s schools and communities can learn many lessons from Holtville.

    When I tried to watch the film, the sound stopped about 25 minutes in. Could someone check? I’d really love to see the whole film.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, it is fun to see the way things were.

      You are correct the sound is missing from 25:00 to 35:00 minutes where it picks back up. This is due to damage to the original film. Just skip ahead to 35:00 and you can see the rest of the film with sound.

  10. My son went to Holtville, for a few years. I lived in the Slap-Out community, for several years. Miss the friends, I made while living there. They were closer than family. I love you, Slap Out. And Im proud of being a part of the community. I seen some great “kids’, i still call them my kids. As they were usually at my house before I had my first cup of coffee. Since leaving, some of my greatest friends, have passed on. Steve Grace, who until the awful death of his son, always called, Little Steve, or Stevie. Steve{Big} had a twinkle in his eye. And we had a great time, working in the woods, during all the local fire departments, Halloween, Trail of Terror. I will always love and miss Steve. Carmen Channel, a beautiful, full of life girl, that ended way to early. Keith & Stephanie Barnes, and Austin, was just a little boy. He is now taller than Keith, and is still gorgeous. And, if you go to Slap Out, and do not take the chance of fishing, Lake Jordan. Well you have missed one of the most awesome, Bass fishing, in your life. This makes me, “homesick”, I regret the day, we moved from there. No place, has been home since. And no true friends, have been found. Im so glad, i had the opportunity to live there. Slap Out..Home Sweet Home. I enjoyed reading the article about the school. And will save it in my phone. The outside of the school has changed. But it still has the heart….Thanks for the memories….

  11. Class of 1960 and proud to have been a Holtville student and graduate. Dr. Chritzberg was a truly inspiring man and educator. I had one math class Dr. Chritzberg taught due to a teacher shortage and was eager to get to his class. Math was my least favorite class and that is the only one I remember.

  12. I went to Holtville during the 1955-56 years. My dad was the Pastor at Deatsville Baptist
    Church during this time. I played football there and loved the school, coach chapman, Mr.
    Chritzberg, Mr. Allen and all those teachers Met my future wife there…..Goodness….
    Love to all those people I met…ljw

    1. The years are close, you may remember this.
      In 1953 I played football at Cloverdale Jr High in Montgomery and we had what was arguably the best team in the history of Cloverdale. Somehow Coach Sellers arranged a unscheduled game with Holtville High early that season and y’all whipped us good.
      Well ,we could not get over that whipping and another game was set up at the end of the season in Holtville. We had our revenge and won 35-6!
      I do remember one of the Holtville players name…Jerry Brooks.

  13. […] This isn’t the only time the Holtville High, the school Jess Meuse attended in Slapout, has reached international fame as the following story reveals, An amazing story about how a small Alabama school became known worldwide.   […]

  14. There is an identical school built at the same time and using the same educational model in Notasulga, AL. Sadly it does not get the same attention that Holtville does. Half of the Notasulga school was burned as retaliation for allowing African American students to attend after desegregation in 1964. Great things are starting to happen at Notasulga as well thanks to their new principal Mrs. Sullen.

  15. My grandfather was a graduate of 1933, and he was proud of his Holtville heritage. I have his class pin!! My mother has always told me stories of this school and the incredible impact it had on her community. Thank you for this article. And Devan thank you for your answer to “Scott.”

  16. […] take in to account that three of the last nine finalists on American Idol this year, Robert Dexter, Jessica Meuse, and C. J. Harris, all live within 150 miles of each other in Alabama. That is unbelievable! I […]

  17. My aunt Mae Yarbrough Stone went to Holtville High School. I think she graduated in 1942 or43. Because of the shortage of teachers during WII she was taught typing and shorthand during her junior and senior years.

  18. i know I got a wonderful man that was raised in slap out ..He was taught to work hard and take care of his family.. I love Slapout!!

  19. I am a proud graduate of Holtville High School class of 02 and I am very thankful for the teachers, staff and students who helped me with my studies when need. I am very thankful for expeclly three people when it came time for the graduation exam that you had to pass in order to graduate high school I want to say thank you to Mrs. Hood, Mrs. Phillips, and one special student Nathan. For this I am for ever greatful and I am proud to say I am a Holtville Bulldog for life.

  20. I’m very impressed by Donna Causey’s research, and the way she brings the story together. (I’ve done my own research, much of it anecdotal; I did not know about the William Yarbrough article.) I graduated from Holtville in 1968. By that time, the whole “progressive education” movement was log dead and gone, and Mr. Chrietzberg had stepped down, years before, as principal. My father, Auston Bridges, graduated from Holtville, sometime around 1935, after the onset of the “consolidated school” system, but shortly before the onset of the progressive education program. My mother, Margaret Hogan Bridges, was a teacher there, around the same time. (Yes. My mother taught my father while he was in high school.) Margaret loathed the progressive-education program, since she thought it stressed vocational education over “real” education. By the time I got there, the fires had happened, years earlier, and the school was nothing like it had been before, in any number of ways. At least while I was there, it never got back on its feet. Like my cousin Lynn Shields, who commented earlier, I got a pretty miserable academic education at Holtville — except for one math teacher (Fordyce Tatum) and three English teachers (Pauline Sanders, Larry Gauntt, and Butch Earnest.) Nevertheless, the true story of Holtville and Slapout, historically, is a remarkable one. The Holtville School Historical Preservation Organization has produced a “narrative transcript” of “The Holtville Story” (a.k.a. “The Story of Holtville”), a 1947 film produced by U.S. Dept. of Education. (It may actually have been the Dept. of Agriculture, at that time.) The Elmore County Community Foundation helped make that project possible, with funds provided by the Margaret and Auston Bridges Fund for Historical Preservation, which was created in their memory. Margaret, I’m sure, is rolling over in her grave.

  21. If you want to watch the “Holtville” movie, in full, go to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd3dlzmQVTA

  22. Carolyn Dismukes Carter

    Sounds like Montessori or home schooling for jr and high schoolers. How backward public schools are today!

  23. Boy, times have changed. Slapout used to be a town where everybody was recognized by everybody else . It seems likall of that has changed.A lot of people have migrated from the city to the country and are now trying to urbanize our sleepy little town. I miss the the old Slapout.

  24. John H. Allen

    When I lived in Birmingham in about 1975, I dated a beautiful girl from Slapout. Also, about once per month, I’ll bump into a retired engineer in Huntsville who is a fellow lap-swimmer at the Natatorium, who is from Slapout.

  25. Jana Watson Younger

    The man my mom dated throughout part of my childhood, a very kind man I might add, was from Slapout. He told me the name came from the store mentioned in the article.

  26. Thanks so much for researching and posting this! I can’t wait to share it! I live in Slap Out now, I have 5 grandchildren who attend the Holtville Schools. I have heard many times and places that our schools are still considered the best in Elmore County! We are also now located by name on a state map! Lol! We still have “the Boys Store” and the Girls Store” is across the street, lol, this is a Slap Out “insiders” way of checking out how much someone really knows about us.

  27. Debra Jean Sanford

    My kids went to school here

  28. I graduated from Holtville in 1957. Mr. Chrietzberg was still principal, but the year I graduated was Mr. Chrietzberg’s last year as principal. Mr. Chrietzberg was the reason I got my first job at the law firm of Reneau & Reneau. When the law firm needed a secretary, they called the school and asked Mr. Chrietzberg for the name of a senior who had taken typing and shorthand and someone he thought was capable of beginning of starting to work in an office. Mr. Chrietzberg recommended me and hence began my very, very LONG career of a legal secretary. Even though I have retired from full-time work, I still work part-time in a law office. This past November 5th, I completed my 58th year as a legal secretary. It has been a good living for me and I will always be grateful for Holtville and Mr. Chrietzberg for giving me that beginning. Anna Fay Shaw

  29. What a great story! My dad graduated from there in 1949 and his brother a few years later. Both my dad and my uncle are gone now, so our opportunity to hear these stories from them are gone. How could I look at their old year books; or did they even have them back then? My dad’s first cousin also went to school there. To date, she continues to organize a class reunion (1949) every year. Isn’t that neat?

  30. Sandra Waldrep

    They should run schools like that now we would be better off

  31. Thank you for sharing. My Daddy graduated from Holtville High school.

  32. Janice Roberts Allison

    Andy Allison Monty Bain Tara Thornton Allison

  33. When I was a child, we owned a home in Deatsville.. I went to a grammar school my first and part of my second year in the area. That was about 1943 or 1944. I was interested to know if this school was in Slapout, maybe? They have a yearly Gibbons family reunion in Slapout so when I saw this excellent article I was just curious to know where the grammar school was located for students living in Deatsville. I remember it well, especially since that was the first and last time I got a spanking in the principle’s office for telling my teacher a lie. When I got home I got another one. That is how it was in those days Teacher and parent against an unruly child. My Parents are now deceased so can’t ask them where the grammar school was located. Would love to hear from you.

  34. Judy Morrow

    What a beautiful story..loved it

  35. Bill Dimon

    Dated a girl from Slapout while I was at Montevallo

  36. Mary Hall

    Love it! My Dad was principal there….he grew up in Holtville! Love the Bulldogs!

  37. Very interesting story…one I had not heard….did not know about…..great work ethic is a by gone trait
    What a shame for the children of today…are clueless …about these matters. I live in nearby part of
    Alabama…I do remember the lady who was on American Idol…I always cheered her on since she was from Alabama…Several good voices have made it to the top from American Idol show.

  38. Glinda Mullins Parmer

    David Lamar Tindal here;s a story for you.

  39. Cyndi Nash

    Chris Pickett your great granddaddy helped build that school.

    1. G.h. Burgin Mathews

      Wow. See above, Chad Fisher.

  40. […] An amazing story and film about the … – Alabama Pioneers – An amazing story and film about the small town of Slapout the hometown of a finalist’s from 2014 American Idol, Jessica Meuse […]

  41. Enjoyed the article and comments. Pauline Sanders was my grandmother, Ann Sanders Gray my mother, and Miss Izell Brown, Girls PE Teacher, was like an adopted grandmother, as she lived with my grandparents from Mother’s youth. Mr. Chrietzberg’s name was never mentioned, but in solemn reverence. The only time I remember seeing Miss Brown cry was at news of his death.

  42. I was so happy to find this article and this video, thank you. My mother, Whilden Wallace (Johnson), was a faculty member at Holtville High School in the 1940s and was the lead author of a study of the school’s renowned educational program. Teaching there and contributing to that study was one of the highlights of her career. I probably heard the name “Holtville” more than that of my own Virginia high school as I grew up.

    https://www.amazon.com/story-Holtville-Southern-Association-school/dp/B0007DRORC

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