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.