Cainhoy Elementary School: Then and now
In 1956, just two years after justices on the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court Case ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional, Cainhoy Elementary and High School, one of the area’s first schools to have desegregated students, was erected on Cainhoy Road in Huger.
Before the new school was built, African-American students who lived in the area attended school houses, like the Keith School on Clements Ferry Road, that had no electricity, among other vital amenities needed for a quality education, explained kindergarten assistant Nakia Denmark-Asby during her presentation at Cainhoy Elementary School’s “Community and Unity” event last Tuesday.
“Unlike at the community school houses, students were now exposed to electricity, restrooms, telephones, a quality meal and, most importantly, a better education from qualified teachers,” said Denmark-Asby.
With a new school serving students that were spread across the area, the community was brought closer together through their support of the athletic teams and marching band during big events, continued Denmark-Asby.
“The school’s football team brought the community together on Friday nights, as we supported the mighty Tigers,” she said. “Many also looked forward to basketball games, where they would be standing room-only in our gymnasium. What can I say about the Cainhoy Marching Band, who was led by the late Mr. Smith and Mr. Duckett? Students looked forward to celebrating homecoming in October, where an annual parade would be held starting just before Charity AME Church and ending at the school.”
For the first years, W. B. Rembert served as principal of the high school and Nathaniel Anderson led the elementary school, added Denmark-Asby. Under Rembert, the first graduating senior class, consisting of eight area high school graduates, would walk the gymnasium floor. They included Thelma Bess from the Highway 41/Huger area; Florence Green and Jerry Lincoln from Jack Primus Road; Louise Mitchell, Joseph Kinloch, James Rivers and Leroy Glenn from the Yellowhouse/Clements Ferry Road area; and Lilla-Bell Bucham of Daniel Island
In 1996, the final graduating class of Cainhoy High School would walk across that same gymnasium floor, explained Denmark-Asby. Students in grades 9 through 12 would now be bussed to Hanahan or Timberland High School, depending on where they lived, and Cainhoy Elementary and High School became Cainhoy Elementary and Middle School. A few years later, in 2002, the school would receive a massive renovation.
“The old elementary library became the early childhood wing,” said Denmark-Asby. “The old cafeteria became our current library and our welding and construction classes became our new music and art classrooms. The high school library and office area became our new administrative wing. The renovation ended in 2004 and the building was rededicated.”
Cainhoy Elementary and Middle School would remain as such until 2016, when Philip Simmons Middle School (PSMS) was opened, continued Denmark-Asby. Middle school students at Cainhoy Middle School were now afforded to opportunity to attend PSMS. At that time, Cainhoy Elementary and Middle School was also renamed to its current Cainhoy Elementary School. (CHES)
Currently the school serves 199 students from grades “head start” through fifth grade, with Aidra Shaw serving as the principal. For Shaw, the community that exists within CHES and the surrounding community generates an environment for success for the students.
“We are so fortunate to have such a supportive community and local agencies,” said Shaw. “The collective efforts by all create a foundation for success for our students.”