I’m St. Andrew’s Born and St. Andrew’s Bred, and when I die I’ll be St. Andrew’s Dead” – a cheer so familiar to all of us. What does it really mean?

     The roots of St. Andrew’s Parish High School are deep in the history of Charleston, especially the West Ashley area. The name of the school was taken from the St. Andrew’s Parish Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1706.

     The first public school West of the Ashley came into being in 1889, using an old church building for grades 1-8. It was located on the plantation of Edward T. Legare. A second school was established in 1898. The two schools merged in 1909 and moved to a location on Savannah Highway, an area occupied by the VFW Hut. In 1918, the West Ashley grammar school was moved to the geographic center of the district, where the school now stands.

     Originally, high school students from the West Ashley area had to travel to the peninsula to attend school. The overcrowded conditions and difficulties with transportation to Charleston High were factors that helped to establish a new high school. In 1940, a wing for older students was added to the elementary school; and so, with 8 classrooms, 8 teachers, and 153 students, St. Andrew’s Parish High School was born. In 1943, the elementary grades were moved, and the current location became the High School campus.

     Mr. Lawrence Harper was the first principal of St. Andrew’s Parish High School; however, he died three months after the school was established. Miss Olga J. Johannas was elected acting principal. Mr. C.E. Williams became principal in 1941. In 1943, the administrative structure of the school was changed, and Mr. Williams became superintendent of the school district. Mr. E. Bernard Hester, affectionately known as “Fess,” a History and English teacher, was named principal of St. Andrew’s Parish High School.

     The decades of the fifties and sixties brought phenomenal growth to St. Andrew’s Parish. For more than ten years St. Andrew’s Parish was the fastest growing school district in South Carolina. To keep pace with the ever-growing student body, the facilities of St. Andrew’s Parish High School grew. In all, there have been forty additions or renovations to the structure.

     On March 8, 1973, the untimely death of E. Bernard Hester, who was principal of St. Andrew’s Parish High School for thirty-one years, saddened the entire community. Neal Golden, Jr., who was serving as assistant principal at the time, was appointed principal.

     On December 21, 1978, a tragic fire destroyed the auditorium and damaged the adjoining wings so much, the County Board of Education authorized the building of the offices, classrooms, and library.


     St. Andrews’ Parish High School, in over fifty years, has experienced great changes as its student population had reflected the movement from rural to small community to suburban, and to the large commercial areas now encompassed in its district.

     St. Andrew’s Parish High School is a school of racial, cultural, and economic diversity. Five percent of its students come from rural settings, 39 percent are from single parent families and some students live on their own. Fourteen percent are from families whose incomes are below the poverty level with 25 percent of the students eligible for free lunches. About 50 percent of the graduates attend colleges and universities with another 24 percent going to various post secondary schools.

     June of 2000 will be the last graduating class from St. Andrew’s Parish High School. St. Andrew’s will combine with Middleton High school to form the new West Ashley High School. The projected date of the opening will be December 2000. The new high school is located on 85 acres on Glen McConnell Blvd. The school will be entered using a four-lane way named Wild Cat Way. Coincidentally, the West Ashley teams will be called the “Wild Cats”. The colors of the West Ashley High School will be purple, silver and black. The design of the school will be a wonderful combination of the historic St. Andrew’s Parish High School blended with the newer Middleton High School. There will be a melding of the faculty from both schools. The principal of the new West Ashley High School is Mr. Olson, who has been the principal at St. Andrew’s Parish High School for seven years. There are tours on Wednesday afternoon that can be arranged in advance.

     The facilities of the new school will be very much in keeping with the new millennium. They will include tennis courts, weight rooms, two practice fields, eight lanes of track, two gymnasiums, two auditoriums, one of which will be used by Spoleto for cultural events. It certainly sounds as if we are planning for the future. In order to understand our future we must know from which we came and we all know that we are:

               St. Andrews Parish High School
                               Class of 1964